In case you somehow forgot, Peter Economy spells out the traits that make for a great new hire in an article for Inc. For instance, an excelsior candidate will display a great work ethic, taking pride in the work and eager to get it right. Such people will also come prepared to interviews, having researched the organization beforehand and aligned their resumes to fit the position at hand.
You are looking for the people who have natural integrity, commit to their job, and generally exude positivity into their environment. These are no-brainer traits, yet sadly not every candidate who walks through the door can be described in these terms. For more, you can view the full article here: http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/how-to-hire-awesome-employees.html