Identifying the Characteristics of a Good Job Candidate

Recruiters and hiring managers are inundated with prospective job seekers. While having a wide pool of candidates is advantageous, the challenge lies in identifying the ideal candidate for your company.

To start, it's crucial to recognize the distinguishing characteristics of exceptional candidates. By focusing on the cream of the crop during the screening process, you enhance your chances of making the right hire, as selecting the wrong candidate can lead to a host of adverse outcomes. Let's discover what is a good candidate for a job with Recruitery!

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How to define a “good candidate"?

Defining a "good candidate" can be a subjective matter, influenced by the preferences and priorities of your hiring team and your company's specific requirements. It's akin to discerning a "good" TV show or a "good" wine – highly reliant on individual perspectives.

However, according to a Glassdoor survey, nearly 90% of recruiting professionals regard an informed candidate as someone who possesses experience, readiness, knowledge, and engagement throughout the application process, as a top-tier job seeker. So, even though there's no universally applicable definition for what constitutes a good candidate, there are several shared characteristics that many of them exhibit.

Eight Qualities that Distinguish Good Candidates

While there isn't a one-size-fits-all definition for what makes an outstanding candidate, numerous common characteristics tend to be exhibited by many of them as following

  1. Relevant Experience 

A strong candidate possesses substantial, demonstrated experience that aligns with the role's requirements, enabling them to contribute effectively with minimal training.

  1. Knowledge of Company and Role

Exceptional candidates demonstrate a thorough understanding of your company and the role they're applying for, connecting their skills to your needs. They exhibit a clear interest in your company's mission and values.

  1. Effective Communication

Great candidates excel in clear communication, both in written submissions and verbal responses. They are proficient at interacting with colleagues at all levels, running meetings, updating on projects, and engaging with clients.

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  1. Honesty

Honesty is a distinguishing trait. Top candidates are forthright about past shortcomings, exhibit a growth mindset, and admit when they lack specific skills.

  1. Motivation

Motivated candidates show enthusiasm for your company, a desire to learn, and a strong work ethic. Reference checks can reveal their past performance.

  1. Dependability

A dependable candidate is someone you can rely on to meet deadlines and deliver results. They communicate openly when facing challenges and are eager to get back on track.

  1. Adaptability

Exceptional candidates can adapt to changing circumstances, leveraging soft skills like problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, and effective communication.

  1. Cultural Fit

Successful candidates not only possess the required skills but also fit well within your company's culture, which is influenced by values, interactions, and expectations. Cultural alignment is vital for harmonious workplace integration.

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How Interviews Facilitate Identifying the Best Candidates

In today's highly competitive job market, discovering exceptional candidates is a significant challenge for recruiters. However, one of the most effective tools at your disposal, when conducted thoughtfully, is the job interview.

Structured interviews serve as a crucial indicator of on-the-job performance, aiding in the identification of top job applicants. Here's how they contribute to finding the best candidates:

Gain Deeper Insights

A candidate's resume and application can only reveal so much. Interviews enable candidates to provide context to their past work experiences, elucidate their suitability for a new role, and expound on their career aspirations. While a resume provides a mere glimpse, interviews allow hiring managers to delve into an interviewee's daily responsibilities.

Assess Qualifications

Interviews offer an opportunity to evaluate whether candidates possess the skills and experience mentioned on their resumes. By posing behavioral interview questions that prompt candidates to discuss past workplace challenges, their responses provide valuable insights into their potential as quality hires.

Swap Roles: Let the Candidate Interview You

Interviews, much like the entire application process, operate as a two-way interaction. While you evaluate candidates, they are also contemplating whether they can envision themselves working with your organization.

Providing job seekers with the opportunity to pose questions to you allows you to gauge their enthusiasm for your position and company. It significantly enhances the overall candidate experience.

It's important to recognize that strong candidates often come prepared with inquiries about your company. These questions help them determine if they are a good fit for your organization, facilitating your assessment of their potential as a valuable hire.

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How to highlight yourself as a “good candidate"?

If you're the candidate in this case, prepare your answer to the question "What makes you a good candidate?" should be akin to a persuasive pitch to the hiring manager about yourself. Follow these tips to create an effective response before and during the interview

Before the interview 

  1. Identify Your Strengths

Depending on your background and the job requirements, pinpoint your unique strengths for the position from these categories:

  • Education

  • Personality traits or soft skills

  • Hard skills

  • Accomplishments

  • Experience

For instance, if you're a recent graduate, emphasize the value your education brings. Highlight industry knowledge gained and research completed. Researching the company and position is vital. Address any challenges or issues discussed during the interview to demonstrate both qualification and fit for the role. 

For experienced professionals, focus on the skills developed over your years in the industry.

  1. Identify Company Needs:

Examine the job description and conduct research on the company. Assess how your specific skills and qualifications align with the daily job responsibilities, as well as the organization's mission and goals. The company's mission can often be found on its website.

  1. Create a Shortlist:

Evaluate your list of strengths and match them to the company's requirements. Develop a shortlist of three or four exceptional qualities that highlight your unique qualifications for the role and the value you'll bring to the organization.

  1. Craft Your Pitch:

Using the shortlist of outstanding strengths, compose a concise summary that you can present to the hiring manager during the interview. Ensure your writing mirrors your natural conversational style.

  1. Practice Your Response:

Practice delivering your response in a natural manner. While it's important to be prepared, your spoken answer should not sound rehearsed. Have a friend pose variations of the question, "What makes you a strong candidate for this position?" and vary your responses while ensuring you convey your main points each time.

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During the interview 

  1. Provide Tangible Examples

Whenever possible, support your response with specific examples of your skills to illustrate how you'll benefit the company.

  1. Align with Company Objectives

Highlight how your qualifications directly contribute to the company's goals. Explain precisely how you'll enhance the organization.

  1. Emphasize Your Unique Qualities

Focus on showcasing your individual strengths and qualities that make you the ideal candidate. Avoid comparing yourself to others or discussing why you're superior to them.

  1. Exude Confidence

Confidence in your response underscores your suitability for the role. Use this opportunity to convey your distinctive qualifications that set you apart from other candidates.

  1. Be Genuine

Provide honest and transparent insights into your qualifications and skills.

  1. Inquire Thoughtfully

At the conclusion of an interview, make sure to ask relevant questions. This demonstrates your interest in the company and leaves a positive impression on the interviewer.


All in all, understanding the qualities that distinguish outstanding candidates is vital. Screening for the best increases your chances of making the right hire, avoiding potential pitfalls. Recruitery hopes you enjoy reading this article which was designed to help you uncover a good candidate for a job during the hiring process.