3 Easy Ways to Identify the Perfect Job Candidate

So, you’ve listed a job offer and gotten back an amazing amount of responses from candidates. Great! But do you know how to quickly find the best fit for your position? In a sea of resumes, it can be tough to identify the winning candidate for your company.

When it comes to making the right hiring choice, the stakes are high. According to Forbes, the cost of onboarding an employee is about $240,000, and the true cost of a bad hire is at least 30% of that employee’s first-year earnings. Needless to say, it’s crucial to get it right on the first try.

You want to make sure to be on the lookout for the specific qualities that will assure a job seeker is a perfect match for the position in question. With that in mind, here are a few techniques you can use to find the best candidate to fill your job vacancy.


The Extra Mile

Many job candidates will apply to your position, but only a few will go the extra mile to make their application stand out. This can tell a lot about a candidate initially, like how they view the importance of this job position.

Pay close attention to resumes, cover letters, and email patterns. You want to look for personal touches and extra effort in any of these areas. For the resume, is it personalized? Did they go to the trouble of providing a cover letter, even if it wasn’t requested? Was the content of the cover letter interesting? Does its story stand out above the rest?

Take note of an applicant who reaches out directly to your company during the job seeking process. A candidate that sends out a follow up email or reaches out via phone can indicate they’re invested in the position they’ve applied for.

You can easily weed out the less committed candidates by adding in a special requirement into your job posting. For example, you can include a note at the end of your posting directing your applicants to perform a specific task. Whether it’s including a specific word in their application or emailing you with a specialized subject line, this will show you who really pays attention and who is just looking to check off another job application.


Good Reference Reviews

Another great way to check out the quality of your candidates is to analyze their provided references. It’s important you use them as a highly valuable source of intel on your potential new employee.

But what questions should you ask? While it’s nice to know surface level information about your candidate, you need to make sure you know exactly what their work ethic is like. Ask questions that you could only get from the help of a reference.

Some great topics to ask about include: work performance, personality type (serious or laid-back), workspace appearance (was it clean or disorganized?), and anything else pertaining to the hiring process. Just make sure your questions are within legal rights.

Using references will help your company figure out whether or not a candidate is a good fit for the environment of your office. If you’re looking for someone to match the energy you’ve already created, references are a great resource to aid with your decision-making.


Problem Solving Skills

Looking to find out how your candidate does under pressure? Give them a problem to solve.

Choosing a candidate with excellent problem-solving skills is a plus for any company. You want someone who is able to think outside the box, come up with a creative answer, and make it a fast process. It also shows you their ability to think under pressure.

You can make this a part of your application process. Include a section in your job listing for a written answer and produce a hypothetical problem for them to solve. Create a problem based on the challenges faced in the position and have them come up with a solution in under 1,000 words. Giving them a limit will also add to the challenge.

You can also incorporate a problem-solving question into your interview. Asking candidates questions like this shows you their ability to think on the fly. A good candidate will be able to use past experience to formulate a solution that works for your company.


There are, of course, many criteria to judge your candidates by, but these are a few that will get you started on the right track. With these in mind, your company can move forward and hire someone that will be a perfect fit for the position.