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7 Signs of an Awesome Candidate

by Andy J @ Rookie Recruits

Since I founded Rookie Recruits, over the years I have spoken with thousands of candidates… some who are average, some who are great, and a few who are AWESOME. I was asked a few months back to describe the signs or triggers of an awesome candidate. After much thought and research, I settled on the following 7 signs:


  1. Attitude
    The single most important factor. Most people are hired for SKE (skills, knowledge and experience) only to be fired for their poor attitude. If someone has an awesome attitude and is placed in the right environment, I have found this to unlock discretionary effort which is going above and beyond what they are expected to do in the role. We define someone with an awesome attitude as someone who is Enthusiastic, Ambitious, Hardworking, and Determined to Develop and Grow.
  2. Social Intelligence
    The ability to immediately understand the environment and how to ‘be’ in that environment is an extremely valuable quality for a business. Not just for a starter when settling into a new role, but also the ability to identify things like future opportunities that exist within the business.
  3. Value-Centric
    WIIFM is NOT their favourite radio station. The best candidates seek to always want to GIVE first and RECEIVE second. It’s as simple as that. (WIIFM for the uninitiated is What’s In It For Me)
  4. Communication
    Everyone needs to be able to communicate effectively. It does not matter whether it is written or verbal, a person needs to be able to express themselves and what they are trying to achieve. A lack of communication from just one person can cause great dysfunction in a high performing team.
  5. Natural Talent Alignment
    A person’s natural talents must align to the role they are going to be in. A lot of people apply for roles they think they can do, not what they are going to be the best at doing. I have seen a lot of accountants who are better suited to be in sales, and sales people who would be great in accounting (I use this example as it is the most drastic). People whose natural talents do not align to their role will work REALLY HARD to be mediocre.  Awesome candidates usually have a good awareness about their natural talent alignment.
  6. Information and Preparation
    Information is everywhere and it takes so little effort to find loads of information about anything today. No matter what role a candidate is applying for, if they have not done research about the role, the company, and the industry, they are not the person you are looking for. The best candidates do the most research. The best researched are the best prepared and preparation is confidence’s twin.
  7. Managed Ambition and Expectations
    We only do career start roles at Rookie Recruits. And yes, it is a myth that all Gen Y want to be the CEO within a week of starting. They want to be the CEO within the first 3 months. Kidding… sort of. However, an awesome candidate will typically do their research when they are looking at a role and asses the realistic growth and promotion opportunities. If they cannot find them, they will ask throughout the recruitment process. I have seen some candidates even call the HR department of a company they were applying to and ask for stats on promotions within the company. A bit over the top for me, but you see where I am going with it. They are ambitious and would like to see that there is opportunity for career progression within the company.


So that’s it, years of observation in recruiting and these are the 7 essential signs to look out for. Next time, we will look at how to uncover these things and how to select an awesome candidate based on their resume and your conversation with them

  • Albert Waim says:

    Awesome stuff for Awesome Candidates from an Awesome Person.

    How I wished all the recruiting agents and hr managers knew all these.

    Bet, they will have the right candidate for the right job. They most of the time give first preference to knowledge and skills and least or non to these stuff.

    Thanks Andy for that Awesome information.


  • Liana Kong says:

    This is a great information from Rookie Recruits, I will keep this in mind when I am applying for a great job in the future.

    Thanks so much Andy and keep the good work.

    Kind regards,

  • Hello! Just want to say thank you for this interesting article! =) Peace, Joy.

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