Most people are always talking about which candidates you need to AVOID. They’re always talking about the red flags. Someone showing up late, giving you vague answers, trash talking about previous employers. But what if you’re new to interviewing people? What are signs that show that the candidate is THE candidate? Here are some things you should look for in a candidate if that can help you move a candidate to the next round or remove them from the process entirely.
1. They know what they’re talking about
Candidates who have done research (and you can tell because they are well versed when it comes to information about the company and position) tend to be better hires. Since they’ve done their research, they might know about company culture, but more importantly they know what expectations come with the job and can therefore perform better.
If a candidate has taken the time out to research about the company, you know that they’re genuinely interested. But candidates shouldn’t just know hard facts, they should know more details such as the core values, history and mission statement of the organization. That means they’re more interested in being part of the company instead of just out there looking for a job. It means that they’re in it for the long run and not until someone makes them a better offer.
2. Their enthusiasm is there right from the start
It’s not always about what a candidate says. Some can rehearse to near perfection and research all the key points they need to win the contract. What’s more important is how they say it. The best candidates are the ones that show just as much interest in the organization as the organization shows in hiring them. You can usually judge a candidate’s enthusiasm based on their body language and the excitement in their voice. When they talk about their previous work and take pride in what they’ve done and relate it to what they plan on doing in this new role, you can tell that they’re there for the job and not to just pay their bills. You’re looking for candidates who care about the work they’re going to be tasked with doing.
3. They’re truthful
Job interviewers are always talking about the “perfect” candidate. But the reality is that every candidate will have flaws. The best ones however, are the ones that own up to those flaws. A candidate should be willing to identify and talk about their weaknesses. They can be great at technology but struggle to deal with in person encounters. This doesn’t make them a weaker candidate but shows that they’re self-aware. They should be willing to talk about their worst mistake and how they learnt or grew from it. The best candidate is one that is willing to hold themselves accountable and demonstrates their ability to learn and self-analyse.
4. They have good communication skills
One of the best ways to test this aspect is to see how a candidate responds when scheduling the initial interview with them. At times it's hard for an interviewer to juggle between in person interview, video conferences and interview calls. But the best candidates make your life easier by responding quickly and effectively throughout the process. This helps indicate that the candidate is very interested in the company. A candidate who is quick to respond and communicate for an interview is also likelier to respond quicker on the job than in comparison to those who are slow to respond.
5. The flow of the interview is near perfect
Yes, an interview is just that, an interview. But great interviews are ones in which you’re not always the one leading the conversation. They have a natural back and forth. If an interview feels less like an interrogation and more like a conversation then that indicates a good candidate. If they have questions that are thoughtful planned out from before and are interested in your experience at the company and company culture itself then you know that they will probably be a good fit. If you click with the candidate before hiring them and look forward to working with them from the first interview then that probably signals a great candidate.
6. They bring great ideas to the table
A great candidate isn’t just one who is effective at the task they were assigned to do, but one who looks beyond the task at hand and is proactive in their work. They show what more they can bring to their position and to the company. Coming to an interview with a list of ideas that they can apply while working in the position they applied for shows that a candidate is understanding and wants to make meaningful contributions right from the start. If you ask them what they would do in a certain situation and they respond with a practical solution that you or the company may not have thought of before then they’ve already added value to your company and to themselves before even starting work. A great candidate is one who is already in the mindset of aiding the company.