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The A-Word: Four Traits of Candidates with Ambition

You know all about ambition. That’s why you’re starting a business! This startup exists because your ambition could now longer be contained. That’s all well and good, but what about all the other positions you need filled?
Co-founders? Key roles? Employees? It would help if they showed as much ambition as you, right? Here are four things to look for when trying to find a candidate with ambition:

1.They’re Passionate.
Maybe they’re sensitive people. Maybe you often find them debating coworkers. Maybe they have causes, ideas, or interests they not only talk about constantly, but put effort into. These are a few signs of a passionate individual and, most likely, a candidate thriving with ambition.
Passion is not a sedentary creature. It’s a force of nature, one that propels people to dream bigger, do more, and accomplish goals they set for themselves. They might need guidance and advice on how to harness their passion to more easily reach their potential, but it’s a fire you would do well to stoke.

2. They’re Competitive.
Look for the employees making the most sales, setting the highest call volumes, and hitting the most milestones. The ambition of these candidates directly correlates to the numbers they are putting up on the scoreboard. That’s what motivates them; achieving the top spot and dominating their role. They’re pushing themselves to do the best because they want to be the best. If that’s not ambition, what is?

3. They’re Driven.
This person is always one of the last people to leave the office, earliest to arrive, or both. They ask to take on more responsibilities, help coworkers without being told, and come to work with ideas on how to improve the company. Maybe they’re only achieving goals outside the business, but that shouldn’t be discounted. This shows they know how to put in the work to make their dreams a reality. By finding out how to best channel some of that ambition towards the business, you could have a truly ambitious candidate on your hands for a key role.

4. They’re Outspoken.
This isn’t to say they go out of their way to be disrespectful, but they do have no problem taking hard stances and defending themselves, their work, and their colleagues. Perhaps they’re vocal about what they want, where they see themselves in the company, and are telling you outright what they’re willing to do to get there. Individuals who speak their mind and have no problem disagreeing with others tend towards being ambitious. Who better to get something done than themselves? Sometimes the easiest way to tell if someone is ambitious is to listen. Sooner or later, they’ll let you know.

One thing to be aware of when looking for such a candidate it not to ostracize other employees or show favoritism. Ambitious people may lean towards seeming arrogant and egotistical to their peers as they are focused on doing something more than a good job. Do your best to encourage team building and projects that show others this candidate is actually a human being, not just a ladder climbing ball of intensity. A happy startup is a successful startup.