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4 Ways to Spot a Quality Job Candidate

Don’t you wish that job applicants arrived at their first interview with a score posted over their heads? Or maybe an honest list of their characteristics: “Intelligent, Driven, Grumpy In The Morning, Can’t Actually Use Excel”. Wouldn’t that make hiring so much easier?

Well, I can’t provide flashing neon signs or forehead tattoos, but there are some key indicators that can help you identify quality employees who are worth hiring, while screening out those who may appear genuine on the surface but won’t actually perform well at your company.

A good candidate should be willing to fight tooth and nail to get the job

4 Ways To Spot Quality Candidates:

1. Good Candidates Don’t Jump Around

Employees are much more mobile today than they were 10 years ago. But if a candidate’s resume indicates that they jump from job to job every 6 months-2 years, then that’s a huge red flag. The candidate may have excellent reasons for leaving each company (or getting fired), but as Dr. Phil would say, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Hire a job-jumper, and they’ll leave your company as soon as the going gets tough or a better offer comes along, costing you time and money. Instead, look for employees who stay at least 2-5 years with each employer. Also, look for growth over the course of their tenure. Did they receive promotions and increases in responsibility? That’s a good indication that the employee performed at a high level.

2. Good Candidates Show Measurable Results

A quality candidate should be able to demonstrate measurable results at their former positions. A good candidate can cite accounts landed, sales goals met, awards won, and challenges overcome. They should be able to identify quantifiable ways in which they improved the function and productivity of their former place of business.

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3. Good Candidates Want The Job

You should never have to sell a candidate on the benefits of working for your company. If they’re only taking the job because they can’t find anything better, then they won’t perform at their highest level, and they’ll hit the bricks as soon as something else comes along. The best candidates are passionate about your company and excited for the opportunity. They should be willing to fight tooth and nail to get the job. A great way to gauge a candidate’s interest is to see how well they prepared for the interview – did they arrive with an extra copy of their resume, a business plan, and plenty of questions about the position? Did they research your company and even the interviewers they are meeting with? They should be as curious about your company as you are about their qualifications.

4. Good Candidates Are Genuine

Quality employees aren’t afraid to be themselves. They don’t have to give stock answers to questions, and they won’t shy away from making a joke or letting a little vulnerability show. I’d a hundred times rather hire someone who is honest about their shortcomings and how they plan to improve vs. some automaton who tries to tell me they’re “too much of a perfectionist” or “care too much”.

When hiring, it’s always best to focus on the characteristics you know are successful in your particular workplace. Before you hold interviews, analyze your staff to identify your most productive employees. Determine which specific qualities allow them to fit so well in your company culture and accomplish their job with such aplomb. Make a list of those traits, then apply that list to your job pool. Don’t be afraid to screen candidates for seemingly capricious reasons – an applicant may be a dedicated, hardworking individual, but if you know that introverts tend to fare poorly in your workplace while extroverts excel, then you should probably hire more extroverts. You can take a chance now and then, but your most successful employees should be your template.

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