5 Subtle Signs You Have a Great Candidate

Steve Lowisz
We all know the most obvious signs of a quality candidate. They have the right experience, skills, they’re friendly, personable...but what about some of the signs that are a little easier to miss?

As a recruiter, one of the best things you can do is watch for small signs that a candidate is a true team player who will excel on the job.

Here are a few subtle signs that a candidate is a winner – think of them as “green flags” in contrast to red flags!

#1 - Stable Career History

One good sign for any candidate is that they aren’t constantly job-hopping. If a candidate has stayed in a given position for longer than a year or two, you can hire them with greater confidence they’ll stick around for you too.

#2 - They Pay Attention to the Details 

Did the candidate answer interview and application questions thoroughly? Did their resume include similar words and verbiage to the job posting?

An attention to detail shows someone takes their time to get the job done right.

#3 - They're Specific With Their Interview Answers

If a candidate doesn’t have a good answer (or doesn’t know the right answer) to a question, they often say something vague as kind of a smoke screen. It helps to cover up that they either don’t know the answer to the question, or don’t want to admit they don’t have the right experience or skill.

In comparison, it’s always a good sign when a candidate provides clear, specific and concrete examples to demonstrate their skills or show you how they operate.

#4 - Positive Mental Attitude

No matter the position, a positive mental attitude goes a long way toward success. It also is a good way to make sure you’re avoiding someone who’s toxic, or who will bring down the team with constant negativity. If someone is negative in an interview, you can rest assured they will be even more negative on the job.

When a candidate shows positivity about tough circumstances like losing a job or a frustrating work environment, it shows a lot of character.

#5 - They Ask Great Questions

Most candidates know to ask questions at the end of an interview – it's what Google tells you to do during interviews. However, most candidates ask a few generic questions, like “How will you measure performance in the role?” or “What’s your favorite thing about working for this company?”

One great sign from candidates is when they ask thoughtful, specific questions. They ask you about something you mentioned during the interview, and they ask follow-up questions. They’re not doing it just to score points during the interview, they’re actually curious and want to learn more – plus it shows they’re really paying attention.

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