How to Spot an Exceptional Candidate

  • Questions, questions, questions
  • Celebrating resilience
  • Learning agility

How to spot an Exceptional Candidate

You’ve written the job ad, arranged the interviews and are now in the process of meeting the candidates. The pressure is on to find the best person for the job – but what makes a candidate exceptional?

Questions, questions, questions

The questions they have for you, as a recruiter and a company representative, are very important as it’s the candidate’s chance to dig deep and find out what it would be really like working behind the scenes. An exceptional candidate will ask questions beyond the job description– they’ll be interested in company culture, the challenges that face the organisation and career progression. The recruiter shouldn’t hold all the cards – an exceptional interview should feel like an exchange of information.

Celebrating resilience

Newsflash: you probably won’t be able to tell your exceptional candidates from their CVs. There’s something to be said for candidates that have an exemplary education and a straightforward career path – from a recruitment perspective it makes it very easy to tick boxes. However, life is way more complex and in actuality your finest candidates will most likely have career breaks and a few different working starts. It is your job to get to the heart of these times and find out how the candidate coped in the face of adversity. Explore their coping mechanisms and you’ll suss out how resilient and exceptional these candidates really are.

Learning agility

Exceptional candidates are lifelong learners – they are not the complete package. If your job description is rigid and gives no allowance for learning on the job then you might be alienating the best person for the role. Look for signs that the candidate is openminded to learning and you’ll end up with an employee that will keep up with change and future tech advancements. In our fast-changing times you’ll need bright sparks that thrive as their job evolves.


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