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Good Candidates and How to Recognize These Characteristics

By April 23, 2019 No Comments

Good candidates have the potential to become good employees. Therefore, an interviewer must be able to recognize the characteristics of a good candidate during the interview. What qualities do good candidates demonstrate?

Good Candidates

Good candidates have the potential to become good employees.

There are a host of qualities we can look for in a single individual, and if they possess them all, they are pretty amazing.  But we can narrow the list down to a few qualities that tell much about good candidates and their fit for the role. Chances are if these are in place, there are many more good qualities behind them.

Initially, it is important to recognize that every business has its own unique needs. When looking at values, address them through the traits that are critical for success in the role. Certainly, you appreciate different traits in your sales team than you do in your accounting team.

As a result, understanding employee traits and recognizing the ones you desire most in good candidates will improve the results of recruitment. For example, if senior leaders value employees who are confident and motivated, assign a task to applicants to determine who takes the most initiative to meet and exceed requirements.

What Surveys Reveal About the Traits Valued by Employers

A Harris Poll, conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder, showed that 77% of employers sampled showed that soft skills are as important as hard skills. In addition, 16% percent of employers valued soft skills more than hard skills.

Here are the most important soft skills selected by employers:

  1. Strong work ethic – 73 percent
  2. Dependable – 73 percent
  3. Positive attitude – 72 percent
  4. Self-motivated – 66 percent
  5. Team-oriented – 60 percent
  6. Organized, can manage multiple priorities – 57 percent
  7. Works well under pressure – 57 percent
  8. Effective communicator – 56 percent
  9. Flexible – 51 percent
  10. Confident – 46 percent
Good Candidates

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Recognizing a Strong Work Ethic

A strong work ethic is an important part of being successful. As a result, work ethic is demonstrated by a set of values based on the ideals of discipline and hard work. Candidates will demonstrate important habits such as focus, motivation, prompt task completion, praise for past employers, and a desire to impress a potential employer.

Defining Dependability in Good Candidates

Dependability is an important quality for a worker to possess because it enhances a wide variety of job performance categories. A dependable employee not only shows up for work on time every day but also produces consistent work and can apply company policies and business strategies evenly to each task and assignment.

Good Candidates

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Positive Attitude is the Core of Morale and Organizational Culture

An attitude is a form of personal expression.  So it stands to reason that an individual can choose to be happy, positive and optimistic, or they can choose to be pessimistic and critical, with a negative outlook on their workday.  A positive attitude helps people cope better under stressful situations at work. Workplace attitudes have an effect on every person in the organization, from employees to clients and even the company owner.  In short, attitudes help to develop the prevailing workplace environment that determines employee morale, culture, productivity, and team building abilities.

Self-motivated People Need Little Direction to Work Effectively

A self-motivated candidate, or employee, is a person with a history of having internal drive and motivation. This individual begins and continues tasks without external prodding or extra rewards. There is really no reason to identify why they are so driven. Above all, just be happy that it is something in their character, upbringing, training, or attitude that drives them to work without any external stimulus or threat.

good candidates

Teamwork and collaboration are hallmarks of good candidates.

Good Candidates are Team-Oriented and Make the Most Out of Collaboration

A great team player doesn’t need to be extroverted or self-promoting. A good team member should be an individual who wants to be an active participant and do more than their job title states. Because of this, they will put the team’s objectives above their own and take the initiative to get things done without waiting to be asked. In return, a team player builds positive perception, gains more visibility, and develops influential connections to advance their career.

Organized to Handle Multiple Priorities

Knowing how to prioritize work affects the success of a project, the engagement of the team, and the role of the leader. One of the biggest challenges is to accurately prioritize work on an ongoing basis. Good candidates will understand that the goals they’re achieving must further the objectives most valued by upper management. If the candidate is not clear about overall company goals, or their boss’s objectives, they cannot blame the failure of upper management. Sitting back and waiting for clarity to float down from above will hurt everyone on the project. A good candidate speaks up. They are bold. They proactively manage their boss to ensure they have the tools and information they need to succeed.

How Do You Know if a Candidate will Perform Well Under Pressure

Ask them. Find out if they have ever experienced a high-pressure situation on the job. Ask what was at stake and how they managed it. Interviewing for a new job is, in itself, a stressful situation. The way you respond under stress during the interview is indicative of the way you’ll handle similar situations on the job. Some interviewers will add a bit of stress to the interview by using brain teasers, acting somewhat aggressively, asking difficult questions, or giving unexpected responses. In all of these questions, the interviewer must use good judgment.

Clarity is a Hallmark of an Effective Communicator

Whether you’re an employee or a manager, communicating well is vitally important. However, like most skills in life, good communication doesn’t come naturally for most people. Many must develop this skill through conscientious practice. Those who have earned a reputation as excellent communicators share several common traits. They are active listeners and have empathy for others. Also, a good communicator understands nonverbal language through the nuances of body language. Finally, effective communicators keep an open mind and are positive thinkers. These qualities, in turn, focus on one major goal: to make sure that all participants in a conversation feel equally heard, respected and understood.


Photo by Lynnea Tan, Unsplash

Being Flexible Means Adapting in a Meaningful Way

Flexible and adaptive leadership involves changing behavior in appropriate ways as the situation changes. A variety of terms have been used to describe leaders who are able to accurately diagnose the situation and vary their behavior accordingly. As the pace of change affecting organizations increases, flexibility and adaptability is becoming more important for managers, administrators and team leaders. Faced with a need to adapt to a changing business environment, many companies and people opt for quick fixes that ultimately fail. A good candidate will explore options to find the best solution, and also have alternative solutions in mind.

Confidence is a Key Factor in Acceptance and success

Engagement is a highly-talked-about topic. Everyone has their own ideas about what works. But whatever you think about engagement, know that confidence is important in the equation. Employees with a healthy level of confidence achieve new goals and develop bigger and better ideas. A staff that feels confident is more engaged and can be more productive. When interviewing candidates ask about their strengths. Get them to tell you about the last time they helped someone else win big at work. Find out if they have been recognized for innovation and why? Or if they feel they are innovative and what have they done to demonstrate this. Also, ask them what other talents they might have outside of the job descriptions and how they might apply them at work. It takes a confident person to vocalize these answers.

About Manhattan Resources

Manhattan Resources is a retained executive search and advisory services firm with deep experience supporting clients in varied industries. We have roots in oil & gas, retail energy, power & utilities, and petrochemicals, to manufacturing & distribution, legal, and engineering & construction, to name a few. Manhattan Resources invites you to experience an executive search and business solutions partner like no other. We are there to help you fill mission-critical leadership roles, build short-term teams, and tackle your most significant challenges. Manhattan Resources has the agility, innovation and business acumen to assume a bold approach. As a result, we will help you take your business to the next level. Find out how the experts can help. Contact Us >>