30 Oct Ten Things I Look For In A Job Candidate
I’ve been an HR person since 1984, but I started hiring people way back in 1980. Since then I’ve hired thousands of people. Here’s what I look for in a job candidate.
1. I look for someone who is awake and aware of their surroundings. This sounds like a trivial item, but it is fundamental. Many people view a job search as a clerical task, like filing their tax return. They put no thought into it. The show up at a job interview unprepared, never having spent a minute thinking about the role or how they would approach it.
2. I look for a candidate who owns their story. Many people don’t. When they talk about their career, they say “I got hired at Company A, and that was okay for a while but then they laid me off. My sister knew about a job in Kansas so I went out there, but then that company shut down.” Their whole career history is about things that happened to them. There is no agency or ownership of any of the moves they’ve made. I want to hire someone who makes their own decisions!
3. I look for someone who has their own opinions. I hope the candidate doesn’t stare at my face as they speak, hoping that their words meet with my approval. Who cares what I think? I am just another person on the planet, one of seven billion
4. I want to hire someone who can see the intersection between the work they’ve already done and the work I am hiring someone to do. It doesn’t have to be linear, left-brain relevance. They could have worked in a different function or industry. Those things don’t matter nearly as much as a person’s ability to put themselves in the hiring manager’s shoes and say “I hear what you are saying. It sounds like your problem is X — here’s how I’ve solved that problem in the past.”