How would you characterise the ideal candidate? As recruiters, we’ve heard and asked this question many times. I’ve heard and read a lot of answers different from each other but always have something in common. Other people would be specific according to their professional and/or organisation preferences. Kind of like Bill Gates, Co-Founder of tech giant, Microsoft Corporation. In an interview with NBC back in 1989, Gates described the ideal candidate for him as someone “super energetic” and able to “make personal computers easy to use.” See, one trait is general and the other, distinct.
If you ask me this question, I’ll answer with this.
Problem Solvers and Finders
The ability to solve or resolve a problem efficiently is something all employers are looking for in candidates. No matter the field of work or industry, a problem solver is always a great human capital asset. However, critical thinking and analysis aren’t only for solving or fixing issues. Most times the problem is the inability to determine or find the problem/s. Some problems or issues are right in front of us.
The ideal candidate can find a problem, acknowledge it, analyse it and then collaborate with the team on how to approach and fix it. In 2020, we witnessed complex problems spiralling, mostly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the majority of organisations sent their employees home to work. Work from home protocols did the trick but many employees suffered from anxiety and depression because of many reasons including the pandemic and job security. A problem solver takes a step ahead, a problem finder thinks ahead – we need both.
Driven to Learn and Reskill
The speed of change in the workplace is relentless. It is an unfortunate truth, but some roles are obsolete because of technological advancements. Back in October 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Aussie workers the importance to “regularly reskill” in the digital space. “The pace of technological change means people are more likely to need to regularly reskill. These are the facts,” Morrison said. This is a challenging reality but at the same time a great opportunity. Success can be arbitrary. Confidence and drive to learn are everything.
The ideal candidate needs to acquire as much information he or she can, and then convert that knowledge into a skill. Talk the talk, walk the walk.
Selflessness and Compassion
During an interview, candidates tend to talk more about their competency, experience and ability for the job. The closest thing they commonly mention during the interview related to selflessness and/or compassion is their willingness to work with a team, in short, teamwork. Last year, we’ve seen what a small kind gesture towards a colleague, an employee or a candidate can do. Moving forward, these two traits are important not only for candidates but for organisations and employers as well. We’ve seen so many people inside and outside the office suffer tremendously because of the pandemic, unemployment, financial security, social inequality and more.
The ideal candidate never loses sight of his or her professional goals and inclination to help others achieve theirs as well.
“In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels,” Daniel Goleman, renowned author. According to Goleman, there are five components for emotional intelligence; self-awareness, self-regulation, internal motivation, empathy and social skills. Emotional intelligence strongly resonates with selflessness and compassion. This can put an end to the toxic environment in the workplace.
The ideal candidate is motivated to understand feelings and distinguish differences in them that would allow him or her to better interact and communicate with other people. Having emotional intelligence should not hold us back but the opposite. It should help us reach out more and better connect with our colleagues and managers.
Ready for 2021?
As the curtains closed for 2020, we look forward to a better 2021. That means people getting back on track with their lives and employment. Do not limit your perspective of an ideal candidate based on this list. I encourage you that you make your own list and I am sure that there will be a connection between yours and this.
For your next interview, make sure to tackle these traits of yours and really connect with the recruiter.