Find the right fit: How to spot the strongest job candidate…

6 Minutes

It’s always tough to choose the best candidate from a list of strong applicants. However, doing so is crucial to developing a strong, dedicated workforce.

Here we outline five characteristics that make a good future employee, allowing you to make positive, well-informed hiring decisions.

How do I know if a candidate is right for the job?

While the ‘proof is always in the performance‘ with employees, there are certain traits and characteristics to look for that indicate a strong future employee.

Here are five characteristics that denote a strong recruitment candidate…

1 Honesty about their weaknesses as well as their strengths

In any recruitment situation, applicants are always encouraged to draw on our strengths and experience to prove their suitability for the role. However, a candidate who recognises their weaknesses as well as their talents shows transparency, as well as helping you to formulate a suitable training plan.

A good way to encourage a candidate to talk about their perceived weaknesses is to explore a situation that they have previously found challenging. Expand on this through your interview questions; willingness to overcome and discuss challenges shows a candidate’s resilience in their work.

2 Knowing the ‘why’, ‘what’, and ‘how’ of the role

Any professional will know the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of their role, but a truly strong employment candidate will also understand the ‘why’: the purpose and effect of their work within your company. This not only helps them to understand the most important aspects of their job role, but can drive productivity and ambition – knowing their true impact on the business as a whole.

A good way to evaluate a candidate’s understanding of their work is to ask them about their biggest achievements. Applicants who recognise the impact and importance of their work will most likely approach tasks and challenges with a positive, resilient attitude.

3 Drive and willingness to learn new skills

The best way to create a successful workforce is to build on your employees’ existing talents. When a candidate shows a thirst for knowledge, and a willingness to learn new skills, this indicates that they are confident in taking on new development challenges.

Ambition is important for any professional; a candidate’s will to expand their skill set is always a sign of a strong future employee. Make sure to touch on development opportunities in your interviews, asking applicants if there are any new skills/experiences they would like to achieve in working for your company.

4 Problem-solving abilities: ‘Think outside the box’

Problem-solving is important in any career, whether working alone, or as a team with colleagues. A candidate with strong problem-solving skills shows resilience, and the ability to face challenges and hurdles with confidence.

Explore your candidates’ initiative at the interview stage by touching on any challenges they have faced in the past, and how they worked to overcome these. Having a strong problem-solver on your team ensures effective team collaboration, fuelling innovation within your company.

5 Emotional/social intelligence

Employees’ emotional and social intelligence is just as important as professional skills. A candidate’s ability to recognise the feelings and needs of their colleagues/clients enables them to collaborate, connect, and engage with those around them.

Strong interpersonal skills are useful for all roles – not just client/customer-facing positions. A great way to explore these at the interview stage is to ask candidates about previous success in teamwork, as well as discussing scenarios in which they would be required to work in a group, or provide support to a colleague/client.

In summary

It’s never easy to identify the best candidate from a group of strong applicants. However, there are certain traits to look out for that indicate a good employment candidate, and successful future employee. These include:

Honesty about strengths/weaknesses
Knowing why their job role is important to the business
Willingness to learn new skills
Strong problem-solving abilities
Emotional/social intelligence

By looking out for these traits during hiring/screening, you can ensure a confident approach to your recruitment decisions. Planning your interview questions around these key indicators is crucial for gaining insight as to the suitability of your candidates.

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