If the Perfect Candidate Was In Front of You, Would You Even Know?

How confident are you that you could identify a perfect candidate in an interview? 

Finding – and most importantly, holding onto – good talent has become one of the most important aspects of modern HR. The working world has changed. Employers are increasingly moving towards short contracts and gig work. While this does encourage employees to stick out a good position when they find it, it does leave many looking for greener pastures. Whereas workers used to be expected to remain loyal to a company, now days job seekers are more likely to follow their gut and their heart.

For employers, this means that not only do they need to find good talent, they need to find ways to keep them. People who can get up to speed, communicate and interact effectively with the pre-existing team and be able to adapt to technological changes in the industry. But how can you find a worker like that? If the perfect candidate was sitting in front you, would you even recognise them?

Finding the Perfect Candidate

1. Are they life long learners?

You want someone to work for you who will always be on the look out for new ways to increase their knowledge. This doesn’t mean that you have to look only for those with a PhD. Lifelong learners may undergo extended formal learning but they are just as likely to do courses and training camps to up their skills – off their own back. YouTube videos and apps can help them to improve their skills and keep them at the top of their game in the industry. When the next big thing happens, these are the workers you want by your side.

2. Are they curious?

Similar to the point above, you want someone who will always be looking at things in a different way. Is there another way to do something we’ve always done? Why did that result happen and can we replicate it? Curious workers are much more likely to stay engaged at work which is a huge boost to your productivity as well as their happiness. Bored workers are much more likely to start considering their what ifs

3. Can they adapt?

Workers who are comfortable in a rut can be good. They are generally quiet and happy to keep doing the same things continuously. The challenge arises however when their job, company, or even industry has to change to match new developments in technology and ways of thinking. An adaptive person is someone who can rise to the challenge of change. They can take what they’ve learned previously and successfully apply it to the new model. Adaptive workers will keep your team running smoothly while other businesses are taking their first baby steps.

4. Are they a team player or are they flying solo?

The old saying goes that two heads are better than one and many companies have utilised the benefits of team work. While there are the glaring exceptions to the rule – the “brilliant jerks” of business like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs – for the most part you want a team player by your side. Team players know that the best results will come from everyone pulling their weight. They don’t let ego get in their way. Like anybody they will want to use their strengths but they also know understand that they need to pick up the slack in an area they might not enjoy. Look for someone with highly developed soft skills who can bring a collaborative feel to the team.

5. Do they ask great questions?

Some people will blow their chances by asking silly questions like “Did I get the job?” at the end of their interview. If a potential employee however asks you a question that cuts straight to the crux of the position, they just might be the one. Asking insightful questions and being able to listen and synthesise the information means that they are complex thinkers and effective communicators. 

6. Are they a people person?

Nobody really likes interviews. They’re generally formal, long and, for job seekers especially, nerve racking. Does your candidate still smile at the receptionist when they walk in? Are they able to shake your hand and look you in the eye? While an over abundance of confidence may be arrogance or bravado; a collected and friendly demeanour means that they are comfortable among others. They are more likely to bring this energy into their everyday job. Energy which studies have shown will positively affect the mood of those around them.

Remember, if they can be natural and warm in a position as stressful as an interview – they’re bound to be cool as a cucumber when meeting customers and clients.

7. Do they make mistakes… and see the lesson?

Anybody can make a mistake. What separates the best from the rest is that they can learn from their mistakes and change their approach.

While most employers know this – hence the amount of interviewers asking for a candidate’s biggest weakness – they can sometimes forget that the weakness isn’t the most important aspect. What is important is seeing how the candidate can self-evaluate their behaviour or performance.

8. Do they look like the type of learner you want on your team?

At the end of the day, whoever you hire for the position will have to be trained up for that particular role. While people’s past experiences and skills contribute to how fast and effectively they can perform, it does not mean that they will be able to grasp the new position. It certainly doesn’t mean that they will be able to adapt to changes one month or one year down the road. Hire someone who shares your values and your approach to learning. You will thank yourself for it in the long run.

While your instincts can help you out to a point, asking people the right questions is essential to finding the perfect candidate.

Leave a Comment