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What does the ideal candidate look like?

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

Often faced with a sea of applicants, Employers can have a hard time separating the great from the mediocre.

Finding the perfect candidate goes far beyond making sure that they have the basic skillset to get the day-to-day job done. Hiring managers face the added pressure of trying to identify those key individuals who will seamlessly blend into their organisation and add value.

The cost of a bad hire can be steep. Not only can it lead to employee disengagement and lower productivity rates, but studies have shown that it could also cost up to five times a bad hire’s annual salary. However, by building a picture of what the perfect candidate might look like, Employers can avoid making poor hiring decisions.

Compatibility is key

While technical, job-specific skills are important, the best candidates will also be able to demonstrate that they fit well with an organisation’s culture, values and beliefs. Research has shown that employees who fit well with their organisation and colleagues reported greater job satisfaction, showed higher rates of retention, and were more likely to be high performers.

This doesn’t mean, however, that Employers want to hire people who are all the same. An ideal hire will be able to respond to scenario-based interview questions with answers that show a preference for similar working practices, that they’re excited by the organisation’s mission and that they will be compatible with their peers.

Passion: not just a cliché

Employers can provide information and training on their products and services to plug any knowledge gaps, but passion can’t be taught. The best candidates will have used their spare time to get better at what they do, undertaken personal and professional development in their field or kept abreast of industry trends.

Passionate hires who love their job will do more than just clock in and out every day. Employers know that candidates who actually want to be there will be more likely to exceed expectations and go above and beyond.

Dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s

If candidates take the time and effort to get the small things right then it will bode well for the big things. Employers recognise that detail-oriented candidates take pride in their work and produce work that’s of a high quality.

The most effective individuals won’t get hung-up on the small things at the expense of the overall objectives, but they will get the minutiae spot-on.

Employers love solutions

Often dismissed as overused job description filler, problem solving skills have lost their sparkle in the world of recruitment. Yet the ability to solve problems is a mark of a talented employee. Managers don’t want new hires that will come running every time they come up against a problem.

No business is immune to the onslaught of problems. Regardless of whether the problems are large or small, the success of an organisation is largely hinged on the ability of its employees to navigate them.

In it for the long-haul

Employers generally want their hires to grow with the organisation. The ideal candidate will demonstrate that they’ve thought about long-term employment and progression. Individuals who see themselves rising up through the ranks are likely to be more committed, driven and ambitious.

Potential hires that show leadership qualities such as self-confidence, decisiveness and an understanding of strategy are particularly attractive. Hiring teams want employees who they can see being a significant part of their organisation in the future. The best candidates will strengthen an organisation’s leadership pipeline.

Finding the right people for the right roles has always and will continue to be a major challenge for Employers. Since 1998, we have helped many of Oxfordshire’s leading Employers to find and attract the talent they need, when they need it. If you’re planning your next hire, speak to us today.