Jet execs say the trait they look for in job candidates is far more important than intelligence

What makes an ideal job candidate?

Skills and experience, sure. Smarts, of course. And enthusiasm doesn’t hurt, either.

But what about kindness?

According to Liza Landsman, president of ecommerce site Jet, kindness is one of the most important traits to watch out for in the hiring process.

“There are a lot of smart people out in the world,” Landsman tells Business Insider. “You should be able to find smart, kind people. We really look for that. It’s part of how we maintain the culture.”

So how does Jet, which Walmart bought for $US3 billion in 2016, screen for kindness, especially considering how easy it is for most people to smile and say nice things during job interviews?

Interviewers at Jet ask very telling questions during the interview, including:

  • What are some of the most impactful experiences you’ve had in your career?
  • What do you find most challenging?

These questions don’t necessarily sound like they have a ton to do with kindness. But Landsman says that truly stellar answers indicate that the candidate cares about the people they work with.

The president adds that emphasising kindness isn’t just a good philosophy — it’s good for business too.

“One of the things that has allowed us to move so swiftly is that we were able to collaborate really, really well, because there’s a high level of trust and assumption of good intention,” she says. “That’s what allows you to move in such an accelerated fashion even as the organisation is growing more quickly.”

What’s more, vice president Kristin Reilly says the focus on kindness has helped Jet crystallize its early company values.

“Very early on, it’s super important to define what your values are and the types of people you want in the organisation,” Reilly tells Business Insider.

She says that putting kindness first enhances the team experience and ensures that team members are more likely to collaborate, maintain an upbeat morale, and not engage in generally terrible workplace behaviour.

“People feel that sense of energy and collaboration when you walk into the office,” Reilly says.

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