Hiring Today’s Talent – How to Identify Potential for Success

7 Traits of Highly Successful People


What is the growth potential of your business? It all starts with the potential of the people you hire.

Your business will grow when you lean into challenges, strategize in the face of obstacles, and collaborate fiercely. This takes guts. It is hard. But knowing where to look for these traits in people is the first step to finding value in new places.

It’s how people respond to new challenges that defines their potential for success.

Business people look at startups as the shining example of success. It takes holding onto a brave idea in the face of diversity to create a profitable new venture. But you can find “successful people” from all backgrounds.

Recognizing what makes people, and therefore businesses, successful requires careful attention to a person’s character, work ethic, and track record. You know that.

The following traits are what we at iFocus look for in hiring new team members – whether they are account managers, directors, interns, sales representatives, executives or business developers. In the end, we hire people who will make us, and our clients, happy.

Traits of People with High Potential for Success

Hire people who…

Are MVPs not VIPs

MVPs (Most Valuable Players) are team players. VIPs (Very Important Persons) believe their ideas, experiences, and/or intelligence will carry a team to victory. Brianna Wiest, contributor at Forbes, would say that MVPs are people who value being good over being right. MVPs care about collaborating to find the best solution to a problem, while VIPs care about being the best person on the team.

Hire people who bring value to your organization, not people who believe they are important.

Embrace failure & see obstacles as opportunities

Failure means you took a risk. Failure means you learned something. Hire people who care about trying new things and who have a fierce sense of self-awareness about it. Our favorite kinds of employees are those who take on challenges they know are on the edge of their skillset and have the wherewithal to ask for help or resources to expand upon their abilities.

In our profession, digital strategies require thinking outside-the-box for our wide variety of clients. Employees who take healthy risks do not internalize failure, but seek the resources to turn failure into learning moments to capture new value.

See things out until the end

We all have those projects that fizzled out or got stuck in the mud without much accountability from anyone. Successful people learn quick that resiliency is a difficult and rewarding skill set to acquire.

Workers with resilience have other traits beyond a strong ability to grind away at a problem. They start with and maintain an objective. Having a strong objective makes it easier to identify when a project goes off track.

People with a proven track record of resilience often have a positive attitude. Positivity brings light to dark places, and resilient people recognize this. A plus side to this trait is they often have a great sense of humor.

Resilient workers never give up, no matter what the odds, and see a project out until the end.

Have a heavy dose of humility

Humility means seeing oneself as human. It means knowing actions affect others and that we are all connected.

Hire humble people – people who know their importance is not better than the company’s. Many of iFocus’ employees have had great successes in other realms of their lives – some have started and sold their own companies, another is a professional photographer, others worked at Fortune 500 companies, the list goes on. This diversity in experiences is huge for us, but no one is better than his or her peers.

How can you tell when someone is humble? They admit to their faults to rectify mistakes, they collaborate, and they have the capacity to put client’s priorities before their own.

Can empathize with others

Empathetic people, those who can walk around in someone else’s shoes, are beneficial to growing businesses. They can get inside the minds of customers to find and capture value.

Empathetic managers are especially important to a growing business. They do not disassociate struggle and success. When managers can understand their employees’ struggles, they know when to support or when to push.

We talked earlier about how successful people react to situations differently than less successful people.

This applies especially to handling criticism.

To be truly empathetic means meeting judgement with understanding. Hire people who can evaluate whether or not criticism should be accepted or disregarded when someone makes a snap judgement.

Communicate precisely

Does someone come to mind when you think: GREAT COMMUNICATOR? For me it’s my college best friend. She could take the emotion out of whatever problem someone was having and get right to the heart of the trouble. She communicates with precision.

A precise communicator gets to the point – be it email, meeting, or client call. He or she can speak the objective without eliciting emotional responses, like anger or awe. This happens with appropriate diction and tone.

Communication goes hand in hand with the next trait because analyzing data is a different skill than communicating its meaning.

Think quantitatively

Our employees at iFocus must be able to interpret and communicate data. Data is useless if you cannot communicate what it means.

We run the numbers on our clients’ websites, SEO, social media, paid search, and more. Digital tools can only get us so far. At the end of the day, we want someone to tell our clients what is happening, what it means for their business, and the next steps.

Find people who have the ability to derive information from data and can communicate it effectively to people beyond their peers.


As Dr. Carol Dweck, who studies the psychology of success, says, “Important achievements require a clear focus, all-out effort, and a bottomless truck full of strategies. Plus allies in learning.” People with high potential understand that success isn’t the end goal, it is the path to get there.

Hire people who:

  • Are MVPs not VIPs
  • Embrace failure & see obstacles as opportunities
  • See things out until the end
  • Have a heavy dose of humility
  • Can empathize with others
  • Communicate precisely
  • Think quantitatively

iFocus hires ambitious, solutions-driven thinkers looking to propel their careers.

What are some traits you look for when you hire people?

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