6 Signs You’ve Found the Right Candidate - Glassdoor for Employers
6 Signs You've Found the Right Candidate

6 Signs You've Found the Right Candidate

When seeking potential job candidates, you may be quick to notice a few red flags throughout the interview process: They can show up late, speak poorly about a past employer, give excessively vague answers, and display other signs they aren't a fit for your company. But while red flags may be obvious to spot, you may not always be as apt to spot "green flags" - indications that a candidate is perfect for the job. 

Keeping an eye out for green flags can give you a better idea whether a candidate should move to the next round or be cut from the competition, helping the hiring process flow more efficiently and effectively. To find out if a candidate you have in the pipeline is the right fit, keep an eye out for these six signs that you've found the right candidate.

1. They Know Their Stuff

Informed candidates - those who have done their research on your company and the position in advance - make for high-quality hires. They tend to be better culture fits, come in with the right expectations, and are able to get ramped up more quickly. So, if a candidate shows they've taken the time to really dive into your organization, they might just be right for the position.

"The perfect candidate shows up to the interview armed with lots of knowledge about our company, but is also eager to learn more about our products and our customers," says Caro Griffin, Director of Operations at Skillcrush. "I love when it's obvious that candidates have thoroughly combed through our website, read our newsletter, and done some Google sleuthing. Taking the time to research us before their interview shows me that they can be self-directed."

Candidates shouldn't just be knowledgeable about the hard facts of your business, though - they should also be knowledgeable about your company's culture and values.

The ideal candidate knows "the company's mission statement, core values, and history of the organization," says Pamela Shand, CEO of career coaching firm Offer Stage Consulting. "This tells me they're genuinely interested in the organization and not just looking for a job. It means they will want to build a career with us and not jump ship the minute someone offers a larger paycheck."

Related: 3 Candidate Outreach Messages That Work (& Why)

2. You Can Sense Their Enthusiasm

It's not just about what a candidate says - it's about how they say it. The right candidate should be just as interested in your company as your company is in them. If you can see the enthusiasm in their body language and hear excitement in their voice, it's a great sign.

"I love to hear candidates take pride in their previous work, and the work they could do in this new role," Shand says. That kind of enthusiasm "shows that they are truly interested in their field, instead of just looking for any way to pay the bill," she adds. "We want employees who care about their work and will want to do it for a while."

3. They're Honest - Warts and All

Recruiters often talk about the "perfect" candidate. But the truth is every candidate will have some flaws. The truly phenomenal ones, though, will own up to it.

"The candidate [should be] open about his or her weaknesses," says Laura Handrick, career and workplace analyst at Fit Small Business. For example, she says, a candidate might be good with technology but able to admit they're afraid of in-person presentations. That kind of candidate "is one I'm more likely to think of as self-aware," Handrick says. "Self-awareness is a critical interpersonal skill that makes a candidate a great find."

Similarly, "rather than paint a rosy picture of prior work history, I prefer someone who tells me about a work mistake and how he or she recovered and learned from it," Handrick adds. "As an HR person, I recognize no one is perfect. The perfect candidate, however, is one who is willing to learn and grow, not one trying to convince me that they've never made a mistake. Having employees with learning agility is critical if you want people able to ... grow with the company."

4. They Communicate Quickly and Clearly

One of the most time-consuming parts of being a recruiter is coordination. Scheduling phone screenings, interviews, and presentations between various people with different schedules can feel nearly impossible - especially if candidates are slow to respond. But the best candidates "respond quickly and concisely throughout the process" to help things go smoothly, explains Jessica Eberley, CEO of HR & recruiting firm HRT Solutions.

"This is key," she says, "because I typically recruit in fast-paced environments, and if they are unmotivated to respond quickly during the recruitment process, they are less likely to be responsive once they are on the job. Plus, a prompt response demonstrates their interest in the company and position."

Related: How to Hire for Diversity

5. The Interview Flows Perfectly

You want candidates to thoroughly answer your questions. But in an interview with a great candidate, you shouldn't be the only one driving the conversation. The candidate will drive some of the discourse too, and there will be a more natural back-and-forth between you two.

One sign that the candidate you've found is the one is if "the interview was painless for both of you - it felt like more of a conversation, not an interrogation," says Valerie Streif, a former marketing manager at technical interview platform Pramp. "They had thoughtful questions prepared for you and seemed deeply interested in the company culture, learning about your experience working at the company, and you both seemed to 'click' during the conversation. If you're looking forward to working with them before you've even hired them, [that's] a great sign that they will fit in."

6. They Bring Ideas to the Table

It's great when a candidate has a track record of success, but they also need to be forward-thinking and show what they could specifically bring to the role.

"Coming to an interview with concrete ideas of what they would do in the role shows that a candidate both understands the work well and wants to make contributions as soon as they can," Griffin says. "For example, when you ask the person how they would handle 'X,' the individual responds with a great idea that your organization hadn't thought of before. That makes the person a great candidate because he or she is already in the mindset of contributing to the company."

Looking for the perfect candidate but your résumé stack is a little slim? Glassdoor can help! Contact us to learn how we can help you find qualified, enthusiastic candidates to join your team.