Hireology Blog - Insights for better hiring & HR


Hiring the Right Person: Defining the right candidate

Posted by Erin Borgerson on December 5, 2012

Here at Hireology we talk about hiring the right candidate a lot. But what does that mean? What does it take to be considered the right candidate? 

There isn't a set definition of what makes a candidate the right candidate, although the parameters are all the same: Experienced, innovative and a good culture fit. But the characteristics that makeup each of these aspects is different for every company. Take Hireology for example, our definition of the right candidate is someone who is passionate, creative and a team player (hmm...that sounds a lot like me!). 

Defining your company's idea of the right candidate isn't something that should be done overnight. It's one of those things that takes time and is ever-changing. The definition doesn't have to be universal for your company, each department could create their own. 

But how do you even start to develop a definition of the right candidate? 

Hireology hiring the right candidate

The most effective way is to look at your current employees. What is it about them that makes them an integral part of the team? Are they always looking for new ways to increase sales? Do they go out of their way to help co-workers who are swamped? Or do they just have what it takes to exceed the expectations of each and every customer? By looking at your top employees, defining what makes a candidate the right candidate is much easier. 

When determining what interview questions to ask, look at your current employees once again. Turn those traits that make them a good worker into questions. If one of your top employees takes work home on the weekends to get ahead, you could ask candidates, "How often do you see yourself staying late or doing some work on the weekends?" 

Once you find a candidate or two that you believe fits your definition of the right candidate, verify this through reference checks. Don't just verify their dates of employment; ask the reference what three words they would use to describe the candidate. If they say compassionate, focused and introverted, chances are that candidate wouldn't fit in with your company culture if your employees are extroverted and constantly working on multiple projects at once. 

If you just can't seem to find a candidate who lives up to your definition, don't rethink it just yet. Encourage employee referrals. Whether they're friends or co-workers, your employee would have insight into their work ethic and personality. Plus, they're not going to bring someone to the table who they know just wouldn't be a good fit. And if the candidate has a strong relationship with the employee, chances are good that they would mesh well with the rest of the team as well. 

Hiring the right person can take time, and so can determining what makes someone the right candidate. But it is well worth your time. Making a bad hire costs both time and money. Don't make the mistake of hiring a mediocre candidate because you feel like you need to hire someone immediately. As that old saying goes, slow and steady wins the race - that is unless you are having a scooter race around the office.

Check out our guide on hiring salespeople to help you define the right candidate. 

how to hire salespeople

Maggie Coffey is the coffee-loving Marketing Intern for Hireology, a web-based selection management platform that provides customized interviews, job profiling, and one-click background checks to help you hire the right person. Start your free trial at www.Hireology.com today!

Fresh Perspectives New Ideas, Interviewing Help, Referral Program, Recruiting, How to Hire

Erin Borgerson

About the Author

Erin is the Director of Marketing, Crisis Controller and Culture Ambassador (the last two titles she gave to herself) who joined the Hireology team in April of 2012. As a certified Inbound Marketer, Erin manages Hireology's marketing department, the Hireology Blog, and media relations. She is also a co-leader of the Chicago Hubspot User Group which brings together Hubspot users from around the Chicagoland area. Erin set off to Chicago after graduating from Western Michigan University. In her spare time she can be found shaking it in a Zumba class, reading a bestseller, or drinking a craft beer on her Wrigleyville porch.