What to look for in an ideal candidate

1 minute read | 7 July 2022
What do you do once you’ve screened hundreds of applications and narrowed down a few potential candidates for a new job opening? Being overwhelmed with CVs and interviews can be challenging when searching for the perfect person for the role – you want to save yourself from making the wrong decision! Afterall, being involved in the hiring process, it is your responsibility to onboard the best people for the job.
Being your career partner for life, we have some tips on what to look for in an ideal candidate, as well as how to narrow down your search.

The first impression of a candidate is usually their CV.
As well as the obvious credentials and experience listed on their resume, presentation says a lot about the type of person they are, as a poorly considered layout or incomprehensible wording may reflect their work ethic.
If their resume comes across as generic – it is likely they have sent the same copy to other companies, instead of tailoring their application to your specific job role. It says a lot when a candidate picks out the most relevant parts of their CV to match your job description, as this shows decisiveness and genuine interest in working for you. This will save you time in the long run, when looking for the ideal employee.


A hopeful applicant will present themselves in a professional manner during the interview process. How they dress and conduct themselves is a major insight into what kind of a person they are, as well as how interested they are in your opportunity.
Pay attention to the types of questions they ask, if they ask questions at all. Are the questions insightful and do they show enthusiasm for role? You can gain a lot of information on their style of work ethic and how they will fit in with the rest of the team.

Get to know your candidate better by asking the right questions. Familiarise yourself with our article on questions to ask potential new employees here: www.boardrm.com/career-advice/8/30/the-right-questions-to-get-to-know-your-candidate-better
Listen to how they answer your questions and find out what makes them tick. Be mindful about how they could fulfil your job opening and bring their own intuition to the role.

Positive attitude.

Consider finding out how they treated other members of staff when they came for the interview. Were they kind to the front-desk employee who greeted them? Did they give off a friendly impression to the rest of the team? Feedback from people outside of the interview can be just as valuable, as everyone will be expected to spend an average of 40 hours per week together! It is important to ensure you hire people who align with the company values and have a friendly disposition. 
When a candidate is open minded and enthusiastic about the company and job opening, it carries over into their performance in the

An optimum way to gauge how well the candidate works with a team is to ask them about a time they completed a group project. Pay attention to what their role was in executing this and how they speak about themselves and their team members.


Having a reliable employee is the goal of every hiring manager. Punctuality, adaptability and trustworthiness are important skills to have, as well as someone who complies with company procedures.
A simple question to gauge their dependability would be to ask them how they would describe their work ethic.
Allow yourself time to assess and reflect whether this aligns with your company’s ethos and future goals. You can aways follow up by asking them to provide examples and references relating to their work history or portfolio. 


A productive workforce should be made up of individuals who can work well as a team and independently. Hiring workers who need to be micro-managed rarely yield positive results, so it is in the businesses best interest to onboard self-motivated and goal orientated employees. Look for signs of an open mind and ask them “what do they want out of the role?”. If their intention is to advance and grow within their role, rather than remain stagnant, they are more likely to propel the company forwards.

Still unsure? Conduct a second interview! You can even ask select members of your team to be present and offer insight on how the candidate may align within the workforce.

Ask yourself this question when interviewing and selecting your next employee: If all team members shared this person’s principles, integrity and enthusiasm, would this affect the business positively or negatively?
We hope this gives you a clear structure of what to look for in an ideal candidate when hiring for the next role.

Now you’ve selected the best candidate for your team, read our article on how to retain the best pool of talent here.

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