Characteristics of the Ideal Candidate for the Job

A group of 50 HR VP’s and Directors were discussing the characteristics they look for in the “ideal” candidate for their firms.

The group discussion took on the following questions:
• What are the characteristics YOU look for in candidates?
• What are some “red flags” to look out for?
• If you had an ideal “wish list” for candidates, what would it entail?

The group came back with some very insightful answers. Here are the results:


• Cultural fit to the company
• Strong (and proven) communication skills – Asks good questions, listens and responds well
• Can show initiative and enthusiasm and confidence
• Strong Team Player
• Exhibits humility and not arrogance or cockiness
• Strong set of technical and management skills for the position they are looking to fill
• Willingness to accept responsibility and be accountable. Don’t look to place blame on others.
• Shows the ability to be adaptable and flexible and resourceful.
• Has a pattern of continued learning throughout their career
• AND most importantly, “Passion” for the direction of where they are going or want to go!


• Watch non-verbal cues during interviews and interactions. They often reveal the “true” message and/or feelings of candidates.
• Someone who is not prepared for the interview, the position or knowledge of the company.
• Someone who is arrogant and/or is not a “hands-on” person
• Makes negative and/or derogatory comments about former employers
• Inconsistent on answers to questions or information on resume
• Shows no passion for what they do or in the opportunity they are seeking


• Someone who exhibits “active listening” to everyone they encounter during the
recruiting process.
• Has a customer focus both internally and externally
• Has a skill set of “people skills” of empathy, passion, and development
• Looks to move the organization forward regardless of the “level” of their role.
• Has a solid career vision for themselves.
• Leads a balanced life with their work
• And the #1 Ideal Wish List item ….Has a proven track record of integrity, honesty and ethics.

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