Does the perfect candidate Exist?

I have thought long and hard about this one and my answer is yes they do, but there are just not enough of them!

As recruiters, we probably all have a template cut out and keep candidate that we could use for every role that comes in, however the reality is that if you cultivate honest and straightforward relationships with candidates, built on mutual respect, then you’ll discover that the perfect candidate is much easier to find than you might think. So here’s my list of the top ten traits that a perfect candidate should have!

  1. Honesty – (This goes for the recruiter too) If there is a genuine reason for not turning up for an interview, we want a candidate who is honest about it. Recruiters have heard every excuse for missing an interview, so we are a pretty sceptical bunch. Since I’ve been a recruiter, I’ve learnt that impending interviews can cause deaths (mainly grandparents) and emergency hospital visits, and can cause car crashes to happen virtually on a daily basis. However this one did backfire on me once when a candidate phoned to say that she had been in a car accident before an interview and when, on this occasion the client reported back to say that they had been really impressed when the candidate had arrived with her car door hanging off. As she subsequently got the job, I have since tried not to be quite so cynical!
  2. Exclusivity – All right, maybe they won’t be strictly exclusive, but candidates don’t do themselves any favours by hawking themselves around every agency.
  3. Availability – We all love a candidate who makes themselves accessible, so that we as recruiters can schedule appointments at short notice.
  4. Well-informed – Candidates who research the opportunity that they’re presented with and who are well prepared before interview stage, without hand holding, are always well regarded.
  5. Passion – A candidate who gets excited by the opportunity presented to them and who is able to show the client real enthusiasm for the role is a must.
  6. Punctuality – The candidate arrives at the appointed interview time. Sounds straightforward, but trust me this is not always the case.
  7. Articulacy – A candidate who can confidently get their key messages over to the recruiter and to the client definitely deserves a place on this list.
  8. Decisiveness – The candidate, who upon accepting a new job offer, is not then open to a counter offer from their current employer is always going to favoured by recruiters. (A tip to candidates, there is normally a good reason why you want to leave your current employer and it’s normally a culture issue. Remember, this won’t change by them simply giving you a pay rise!)
  9. Patience – Sometimes the client, for a number of reasons, does not come back to a candidate straight away and it’s important that they give them and the recruiter some space.
  10. Ability to take rejection – Some you win, some you lose, but if the client gives this candidate feedback, they can take it on chin, learn from it and move on to the next opportunity better prepared as a result.

So, that’s my list, but I guess I could have done this the other way round and looked at the top ten traits that a candidate looks for in the perfect recruiter. Either way, the key to creating perfect candidates (and to being the perfect recruiter) is taking the time to cultivate relationships that are built on trust from both sides, so that you are both successful going forward.