Whether you are looking to fill a role internally or for a client, the ability to know the makings of a great candidate goes beyond a strong work history. Finding success in recruiting requires thorough investigation and great instincts. In addition to aligning company and candidate values, personality and culture fit play a significant role in finding a perfect match and ensuring employee retention. Often portrayed through the attributes of the former athlete, here are five clear-cut signs you’ve come across the right candidate for the job:
Well-Prepared & Naturally Inquisitive
A strong introduction is critical as it shows the candidate’s enthusiasm for the role, passion for the industry, and high interest in the organization. A great candidate will have thoroughly researched the organization and position before conversation. When they’ve taken the time to truly understand a company, it shows their motivation is pure.
Is the candidate posing unique, in-depth questions or generalized questions concerning their own selfish ambitions? The more qualified professionals will have the ability to demonstrate their skills and experience through the thought-provoking questions surrounding long-term goals, business strategy, and issue resolution.
While a high energy level should be conveyed in their cover letter, the candidate must remain consistent in phone conversations and interviews. There is a reasonable cause to be excited when a candidate appears confident and has checked off the early boxes. However, a senior-level background and leadership potential is not the end-all-be-all to the makings of a prime candidate. To become a leader backed by followers, employees must first master the art of listening and understand what it means to be a good follower.
“Nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Lawrence Bossidy, Former COO of GE.
Visible Knowledge & Proven Results
Insightful and well-informed candidates are hard to come by, but finding such professionals is an excellent prerequisite to the makings of an all-star employee. With a track record of success, you will find the candidate’s forward-thinking will shine through, and they will be able to bring ideas to the table quickly. If they find ways to contribute to the company during an interview, they set a strong precedent for what a future relationship holds.
Beyond any bullet points from a resume, a great candidate will be able to provide specific examples or statistics showing they are a goal-setter and goal-achiever. Tying into the job description and organization’s values, the candidate will have data or documented progress to showcase their potential and relevance to the position at hand.
While you want your phone conversations and interviews to run smoothly, you can expect to receive some ‘pushback’ and hard questions when speaking with a quality candidate. If you are the only one driving conversation, it’s easy to assume the candidate has not given the position a lot of thought or is naturally reluctant in discussion.
Clear Communication & A Winning Personality
In coordinating various interviews, screenings, and monitoring job postings, hiring managers and recruiters are not keen to wasting time on incompetent job-seekers. When candidates respond quickly and professionally regarding a job opening, they provide a strong first impression to employers aiming to promptly work through the interview process. From job application to a final interview, receiving active and polite communication from a candidate reveals a strong level of interest and forecasts a responsive and alert employee.
When you can see energy in their body language and hear the passion in their voice, you know you’ve found a candidate worth pursuing. If you do not see positivity radiate off a candidate in conversation, it could be a red flag for what the future would hold. Aside from appearing disinterested in the role, employers should be wary of a lackluster personality, especially when rapidly approaching deadlines and internal/external business relationships are on the table. An optimistic employee is more likely to reenergize your team and take on new challenges.
You Weren’t Scared Away By Any ‘Red Flags’
In trusting your instincts, there is tremendous weight in evaluating a results-packed resume and a ‘culture fit,’ but don’t fall victim to placing all your eggs in one of these baskets. Every applicant will have their share of flaws, but only the best will acknowledge them in testimony. Finding the ‘right’ candidate does not always mean they will be the ‘perfect’ candidate. A suitable candidate will impress their interviewer with the openness and willingness to call out their weaknesses and share how they’ve corrected their mistakes. Being self-aware reveals the making of an honest and emotionally intelligent employee.
“I [trust] people who are so confident in their skills that they are openly and instantly humble about things they are not good at.” -Paul English, CEO at Lola.com
Their References Came Through
Aside from providing tangible evidence to their job performance, the best candidates will be able to have their skills and character endorsed through written and verbal testimonies. There is a strong level of comfortability that ensues with an applicant that is confident in the words their previous employers and colleagues have to say. In addition, evaluating an applicant’s social media platforms and what they choose to put out into the world will speak volumes to their character, morals, and professionalism.