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One Trait Great Candidates Share — and How to Spot It

By | Samantha McLaren

There’s a word for candidates who embody many of the soft skills — passion, perseverance, humility, grace under pressure, and goal-setting — you’re looking for. That word is gritty — and gritty candidates make for dedicated, high-performing employees.

The concept of grit as a positive personality trait was pioneered by psychologist Angela Duckworth, whose 2016 book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance was a New York Times bestseller and whose six-minute TED Talk on the subject has been viewed 25 million times.

Now, Angela will bring her own passion and perspective to Forward, a global LinkedIn Live event for talent professionals on March 29 (and March 30 for attendees in Asia Pacific). Angela will be the moderator for the event, which will bring together talent leaders to discuss the challenges of the Great Reshuffle, with particular focus on company culture and skill building. 

For her research into grit, Angela won a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called “genius grant” — which was rich in irony because when she was growing up her scientist father frequently pointed out that she was no “genius.” Her research included visits with cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, teachers in some of her country’s toughest school districts, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. 

“In all those very different contexts,” Angela tells her TED audience, “one characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ. 

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