What Makes a Great Candidate?

Let’s face it, job hunting is no quick and easy task. It takes a lot of time and effort to create an application which might get you to the next stage in the recruitment process – but how do you stand out in the crowd? What differentiates you from the rest? What makes you ‘great’ and not merely ‘okay’?

Recruiters look for numerous qualities and characteristics – and they’re not all obvious.

Cultural Fit

Hiring candidates who fit in with the company culture makes a big difference in retention, productivity, and morale. When looking for a great candidate, TruPath recruiters think about whether the candidate will be a cultural fit. Here are a few things to consider:

  • The company’s mission resonates with the candidate.
  • The candidate’s energy level matches that of the team.
  • The candidate likes to collaborate at a level aligned with the job.
  • The candidate has sense of humor that would be appreciated.
  • Does the candidate prefer to figure things out as they go or do they prefer to follow consistent procedures?
  • How does the candidate handle conflicts?


It doesn’t matter what the company culture is like, nobody wants to work with someone who has a bad attitude. Most candidates will demonstrate a positive attitude in interviews, but a great candidate will give clues demonstrating authenticity such as the following:

  • They are uplifting and helpful to others around them.
  • They show resilience in the face of a challenge.
  • They understand when to work with a smile and when it is appropriate and helpful to bring up issues.
  • They keep their cool under pressure.
  • They are always learning.

Communication Skills

Every job requires some level of communication. The accountant may need to make budgeting recommendations, the mechanic may need to gain information about a mechanical failure, and the designer will need to learn about the parameters and expectations for a project. A great candidate will communicate clearly and respectfully at all times.  Here are some things to watch for when communicating with a great candidate:

  • The candidate answers all of the questions in your email.
  • They respond reasonably promptly or let you know if they will be unavailable.
  • They speak positively about previous experiences.
  • They ask good questions about the opportunity or process.
  • They send confirmations.

If you are a hiring manager, what do you look for in a great candidate? If you are a job seeker, how do you put your best foot forward?

Posted in Career Guidance, Talent Management.