Do You Know How to Spot a Promising Candidate?

By chantelharris, 28 January, 2014

Interviewers see hundreds of candidates every year. As the number of interviews stack up, it becomes easier to spot the most promising candidates. But if you’re new to recruitment, deciding on the best person for the job could be more difficult than finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. So if there is nothing that makes one candidate stand out head and shoulders above the rest, what do you base your decision on?

The more promising candidate…

Can back up their claims

It’s easy for someone to say that they are a hard worker or that they are efficient. But those are hollow words if they can’t be backed up with examples. The better candidate will be able to give you an example of a time when they went above and beyond the call of duty. They’ll be able to provide details of how a decision they made streamlined a process and saved the company money. Be wary of any candidate who can’t be specific – this shows they are simply giving you answers they think you want to hear.

Is well prepared for the interview

A good candidate not only prepares for questions they’ll be asked, they also prepare questions for the interviewer. Bonus points go the candidate who asks questions that show an understanding of the business and industry, as opposed to generic questions about working conditions.

The other basics naturally apply too – a candidate should be on time, know who they are interviewing with and look the part. If they pay attention to these little details, they’re likely to take pride in the work they do.

Shows a commitment to self-development

The candidate that spends time developing themselves or their career is a very good bet. This is the sales person who has completed business or marketing courses, and the person who is a member of Toastmasters or regularly attends industry events. This not only shows that the candidate has drive, but also that they won’t expect their employer to be responsible for their career – they take responsibility for their growth as an employee and a person.


Is specific

One of the standard questions in any interview is “Why do you want to work for X company?”. The promising candidate will be able to provide specific reasons, or elaborate on reasons given. Say the reason is “My current company does not provide me with enough room to grow”. This person could simply mean they want more money, which is a valid reason, but they won’t benefit your company as much as someone who’s looking to learn new skills and plough them back into the business to help you grow it. The latter is the candidate you’re looking for.

Is compatible with your business

The ability to fit in with your company’s culture is as an important trait as having the right qualifications. Find out at what pace a candidate is used to working, whether they’re open to criticism, if they prefer to work on their own or in a team, how much direction they need and so forth. If their style fits yours, they’ll settle into the job – and become productive – far quicker.

Follow up with purpose

It’s great when a candidate follows up with a thank-you email after an interview, but it’s fantastic if they follow up on something that was discussed in the interview. This could be sending you an article you discussed or sending a link to an industry event they told you about. It’s a simple act that shows they paid attention in the interview.

Hopefully you now feel a lot more confident conducting the next interview in your calendar. Don’t forget to still also trust your gut when making a final decision. That little voice holds a lot of power too.




Copyright: Portal Publishing (Pty)Ltd | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
Skills Portal | Careers Portal | Jobs Portal | Bursaries Portal | Skills Universe
About us | Contact us
Portal PublishingPress Council