What Good Candidates Look Like

How do I spot a good candidate?

As a Talent Relationship Manager at CareerJunctionLtd, my was role is focused around working with the best talent in the IT sector. I need to know where the best candidates are, what they are doing, what they are looking for, and how I can match them up with their perfect employer. As you can imagine, I come across hundreds of prospective candidates each day, but how do I go about spotting a great candidate? Well, the truth is, it’s really quite simple:

  • Social Media Savvy:
    Good candidates have cohesive social media profiles that are comprehensive, informative, clear and engaging. When it comes to headhunting in the 21st century, people like myself (Recruiters and Hiring Managers) rely on platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. In my experience, candidates that engage in their industry groups on LinkedIn – sharing their views or expertise – are candidates that are passionate about what they do. I look for candidates that have complete LinkedIn profiles with detailed write-ups and a suitable profile picture. I also want to see what groups they belong too, and what their interests are. I find Twitter a great tool to use when I want to get to know more about candidates on a personal level. Things like what they like doing in their spare time, their sense of humour and how engaged they are in the social media world. When it comes to Facebook, I don’t use it as a search tool for finding candidates, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t check the profiles of prospective candidates I’ve identified. Needless to say, it’s important to make sure there isn’t anything on your Facebook profile, you wouldn’t want your future employer to see. One final point regarding social media – it’s important to make sure the information you share is uniform. There is nothing more concerning than seeing information that doesn’t match up across social platforms.

  • Achievements:
    What’s the easiest way to impress someone? Tell them what you have achieved! Good candidates make their professional achievements easy to find and are adept at explaining the benefit these achievements brought to their employer. In your CV and on your LinkedIn profile, you should have a list of achievements beneath each employer. They can be simple bullet points, but you must be able to explain them in detail as interviewers will be sure to ask!

  • Communication Skills:
    This is perhaps the biggest indicator I use when it comes to identifying a good candidate. When it comes to communication skills, I want to see strengths in all key areas – written (your CV, social media profiles, emails), verbal (phone manner, face-to-face communication) and non-verbal (handshake, interviewing ability, social awareness, and emotional intelligence). Being strong in this area is crucial when it comes to landing the job you really want. You need to be able to tell employers why they should hire you, what you can bring to the team and how you will fit in with the others on board. James Caan’s article on interview communication is fantastic and a great place to start. Strong communication skills leave an excellent first impression, and this starts from the very second I come across your Twitter or LinkedIn profile. Remember – it’s not just what you are saying, it’s how you are saying it. Are you confident? Do you reflect a positive aura? Can people trust what you are saying? If you can answer yes, you’re doing OK!

  • Passion:
    At Jobzdojo, we believe the best candidates are those that are truly passionate about what they do. These are the people that are always trying to advance their skillset, understand the latest trends and are actually happy to go to work. Employers want to see passion as this represents a significant asset to their business. Someone who is passionate about their job is always going to go the extra mile, which means they can be relied upon and trusted. Your passion for your work needs to shine through your social media profiles, your CV and most importantly, in person.

So there it is – these are the key things I (and many others in my field) look for when identifying top talent. By understanding what it is that we believe separates the cream from the crop, you too can make sure you stand out from the crowd.

Eamonn Dunn

920 Recruitment, Auckland