Characteristics to Look for in A Candidate as An Employer

If there is one thing more daunting than sitting for an interview, it’s conducting the interview yourself, or having a say on who to hire. Making the right choice among hundreds of applicants is crucial for your company to excel in the long run. If you make a bad hire, or any of these common hiring mistakes, not only do you look bad to your superiors, but you could be affecting the company’s image altogether. This is why it is very important to pay close attention when assessing candidates for recruitment. 

There are some challenges when it comes to targeting the right talent. As an employer, you need to distinguish promising candidates from not-so-suitable ones by watching out for key characteristics. An applicant may seem like a good fit at first based on their resumé, but the first few minutes of meeting them might quickly reveal things that makes you feel otherwise. While some qualifications such as education and work experience may be predetermined by your company, here are the additional qualities to observe in candidates to help you shortlist the best possible recruits.

1. Ambition

Not every candidate walks into the interview session for the job title alone. Some are motivated by the pay, while others are driven more by learning opportunities on the job. If you want a long-term hire, it is ideal to look for individuals who are ambitious about self-development. These employees are likely to stay with you longer and accept the job’s challenges as they come, setting them apart from those who would give up and jump ship early.

Ambitious individuals also contribute the most towards your company, so training them is a great investment. Their motivation to learn and move up in their career will inadvertently benefit your organization.

2. Positive Attitude

Enthusiasm is important, especially during the interview. Candidates should have a positive approach and be energetic while responding to questions. It is preferable that they smile politely, be courteous and answer difficult questions with optimism. An enthusiastic candidate will be a great addition to your company as they can bring fresh new energy into the workplace. An optimistic person will take a constructive approach to solving even the most difficult problems. Having such an employee will create a positive work environment for everyone.

You can test a candidate’s attitude by asking them situational questions during the interview. Giving them a hypothetical problem to solve can be a great exercise to determine whether the candidate has what it takes to handle real-life problems effectively after they are hired.

3. Communication Skills

Proper communication is a must-have. Answering interview questions smoothly, telling an interesting or compelling story during the interview – any of these would indicate solid communication skills. Aside from good verbal communication, such as etiquette during a phone call, the candidate’s skills in written communication (i.e. reports and emails) will also matter a great deal. The ability to communicate well with others is a great intrinsic attribute or soft skill that is especially important when the employee is dealing with customers.  

An excellent test for both verbal and written communication is to have the employee write and deliver a formal presentation. Conversely, you may ask them open-ended questions during the interview or written test to see how they would respond for each type of communication.

4. Flexibility

Flexibility is perhaps the most sought-after skill that employers look for. A candidate’s ability to quickly adapt to changing situations is vital for any organization. As goals and strategies of businesses continute to evolve, it is essential to have employees on board who are adaptable. Rigid employees will ultimately hinder your organization’s productivity as they will not be open to changes in the workplace. On the other hand, flexible employees will benefit you during times of crisis such as manpower shortage. They will be more likely to help out under these circumstances and contribute wherever needed to get your company back on track.

5. Personality

When interviewing candidates you will most likely come across a diverse range of personalities. Some will be overly confident, some very energetic while others may be nervous or shy. While most interviewers are drawn positively towards candidates who appear to be charismatic, it is important to pay attention to finer details about their personality. Subtle things like humility while mentioning past achievements or saying nice things about a previous employer or colleagues will show that the candidate is down-to-earth. These kind of individuals are a great fit in most companies as they are easy to get along with.

However, every company is different and so is their organizational culture. Therefore, it is best to hire candidates that you feel will get along with the rest of the company. This way, it is easier for both new and existing employees to get along and work in harmony.

6. Reliability

This is key to finding the perfect recruit. If a candidate seems like they may not be dependable, hiring them probably won’t be a good idea. Meeting deadlines, completing tasks properly and staying committed to the job are the most basic requirements for every employee, and an unreliable recruit may be unwilling to do even the bare minimum at times. Additionally, these employees may act unethically in the workplace. They may cut corners at work or overlook certain wrongdoings, which can jeopardize your company’s image in the long run, or worse, affect customers in the worst ways. It is imperative that companies try to hire and retain candidates that prove to be dependable to the best of their knowledge.


Being an employer is no easy task. It can be extremely challenging to find people to be part of your organization. However, taking steps to ensure you have hired the best possible candidates will all be worthwhile in the long-run. It is said that the most important asset for any company is their human resource, because they can make or break a business depending on who gets hired. So make sure you settle for only the best recruits the market has to offer. Happy hiring!

Looking for the next best talent for your organization? Use our advanced tools “Talent Searchto choose from over 434,000+ profiles to find the best fit for your organization and to streamline your hiring process.

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Shahneela Nawal

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