How to Choose the Right Job Candidate

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You're having trouble with an employee. After trying different things, you realize you hired the wrong person in the first place. Has this happened to you? If so, here are tips on how to hire the right person in the first place:


Consider paying a writer to interview the person currently in the job and to write the description. Make a check list of necessary credentials, training, skills and academic degrees.


Think through both the requirements of the job itself, and the people with whom they'll be working and write it out.

For instance, I worked with a company with 3 partners hiring their first support person. They knew what skills they needed, but overlooked the fact that the most important trait in a support person is their willingness to help. They needed someone who could get along in this small office of four. Answering to three bosses requires patience and resilience. They need to be centered enough to demand the bosses prioritize tasks, and flexible enough to switch tasks continually.


Irritability and complacence, dominance and curiosity show in facial gestures, in tone of voice, in speed of speech and movements. Work with a coach to learn more about reading nonverbal communication.

Assess also with the StrengthsFinder® profile (see below). Someone with Command for a strength doesn't like to be given orders and is not a good choice for a support position, unless you like to ride a bucking bronco.


Extraverts derive energy from other people, while people drain the introvert. What does the job require? Keep in mind, though, that it has a lot to do with being in control of the flow of the people. Introverts, surprisingly, can make some of the best salespeople.


Innate strengths are things we're naturally good at that don't drain our energy.

The StrengthsFinder® profile, from Gallup, is a dynamite profile in the hands of an expert interpreter. It will tell you the person's top 5 innate talents using terms such as Focus, Deliberativeness, Relator, WOO (winning others over), Maximizer, Futuristic, Harmony, and Positivity.

Example: A CEO I worked with needed an employee to do due diligence. Deliberativeness is exactly the quality for this. People with this strength do "due diligence" as naturally as you draw a breath. They are innately cautious, don't jump to conclusions, and anticipate loopholes and problems.


How does this person get along with people? How well do they manage their own emotions? How to they handle themselves under pressure?

Look for these things in the interview. Ask questions and set up behavioral situations that test this. Intentionally interrupt the candidate, or arrange a disruption and observe what happens.

Ask yourself "Do I like this candidate?" and "Would I want to work with her?" Use your intuition, your gut feeling ... an EQ competency.


Emotional Intelligence (EQ) means how they handle themselves and other people in social and emotional areas. The best qualified person on paper may be a failure in real time because they can't get along, are abrasive, scattered, emotionally out-of-control, or lacking in empathy, flexibility, or common sense.

The higher up the person goes, the more important such EQ competencies as Conflict Resolution, Integrated Self, Intentionality and Resilience.

EQ assessments give you valuable information about a candidate. Studies have shown that people with low EQ burn out quickly.


An EQ assessment will give you an overall score, and also ranking on the separate competencies.

It's been found, for instance, that the best predictor for good salespeople is Optimism, and EQ competency.

The US Air Force found their most successful recruiters scored high in Assertiveness, Empathy, Happiness and Emotional Self Awareness. They put this knowledge to use to increase their success rate by 300% and save $3 million annually.


An article in the Wall Street Journal names Resilience (an EQ competency) the most important factor in stress management. It amounts to being change-proficient.


Lifetime learning correlates with resilience (Siebert, Ph.D.). The ability, willingness, cognitive ability and flexibility to keep on learning is one of the most important things to look for in the Information Age. "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write," said Alvin Toffler, "but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."

In sum, hiring in today's workplace requires more than a look at credentials, experience, training and academic degrees, and the onus is on you, the hirer. People don't always know themselves, and they can't know everything about your company culture. They apply for jobs for the money or with lack of self-knowledge, not because they'd be good at it, or enjoy it, or be able to tolerate its stress, or work in the particular culture of your office, i.e., they apply for jobs for which they aren't well suited.

Work Emotional Intelligence into the hiring process, and pay attention to innate talents and personality. Work with an EQ coach for best results. It will pay great dividends in the end.

About the Author

CopyrightSusan Dunn, MA Psychology, Emotional Intelligence Coach, . Coaching, business consulting, Internet courses, teleclasses and ebooks on emotional intelligence. The EQ Foundation CourseCopyright; . Ebooks, . for FREE ezine (request EQ-Work).


Pretty Little Liar 04.04.2013. 20:53

To what extent should an organisation be responsible for its gendered culture? And how that might impact possible job candidates?

My BF works for a mulinational company and is in charge of the technical teams across Europe. They are all top-level engineers and programmers.

Historically, those departments have been populated almost exclusively by men and so, a particular culture has grown which is not sexist, but certainly not nurturing.

When hiring new candidates, he tries to hire women where he can, and there have been increasing numbers of suitable candidates in recent years. However, he believes it is important to hire people who can fit in with the team and who can hold their own and, especially in junior positions, he has to be very careful about which women he chooses. A personality that is too soft would be miserable and could create upset.

his strategy is effective in that when he hires women they are successful candidates, but ineffective in that the culture which precludes a number of suitable female candidates remains largely intact and will take a long time to change.

However, the overall teams remain successful, although they sometimes do battle to fill positions because the requirements are so high-level.

So, slow and steady? Or should he go for Shock And Awe and up the female quota and force a change, thereby allowing him access to a wider field of candidates?


Sorry for the long post...

EDS - sorry, to be clear: I am not talking about hiring women who are not qualified for the role, but rather, choosing not to hire women (who are qualified) because they would battle in the environment, particularly with younger candidates.

There are loads of factors to consider beyond skill when hiring for high-pressure teams that operate in difficult circumstances.

Pretty Little Liar

Admin 04.04.2013. 20:53

slow and steady


put his top males/female team members in joint mentoring roles, to slowly change the culture of the company


Seamus Romney 09.04.2013. 07:29

At what stage of any job hiring processes must YA violations be revealed? I had an interview yesterday and the issue didn't arise.

But, could my prospective hirer learn of these from my permanent record and choose to disqualify me?

Needless to say, I am worried and wondering how other job candidates addressed this thorny issue.

Seamus Romney

Admin 09.04.2013. 07:29

You must be kidding


KawaiiBunnie 16.08.2012. 17:09

What do book publishing houses look for in applicants education-wise? What do book publishing houses generally look for in a job candidate education wise? Would a person stand out more from other applicants if they went to a somewhat well-known university or a small, private liberal arts school?


Admin 16.08.2012. 17:09

They look for job experience. The only time education is consider is if they come up with two equally qualified applicants, and they can't figure out anything else that fits within their needs to pick out which is better. Then, and only then, will they choose based on which college. BUT the name of the college doesn't matter. Neither does size. What matters is does that particular college teach anything related to book publishing well.

I went to Glassboro State. Ever hear of it? Not likely, especially if you're just thinking about going to college now. It hasn't existed under that name since before you were born. Doesn't matter that it's called Rowan University now, does it? Still haven't heard of it, right?

BUT, it was a good enough school for communication majors, so my degree in communications has landed me all sorts of related and unrelated jobs. Then again, that was such a minor thing. All my employers wanted to know was "Can you do this job well?" Yup! Every single time.

Really - not about which college that often. It's about experience and talent. If this really is a "Which college should I go to" question - go to the one with the best courses for your goal, so you too can answer Yup to that important question. ;)


swizzy74 24.08.2009. 06:33

What makes other job applicants so special? I often wonder about this and what is the true reason employers do this. What is it about the other job applicant that makes them so special when getting the job? I am curious as to the real reason an employer would have two applicants who are equal in every way get treated differently.

I heard people say before employers hire who they like and for no reason at all for picking one over the other. I am saying two applicants who so much alike in their education achievements, work background, both have the perfect attitude, both applicants have great references from people who speak highly of each of the two job candidates.

They both did the same exact things to get the job. The employer had room to hire both of these people, but somehow something went wrong. Although both people were equally perfect for the job, the employer gave one of them a fair shot at the job while the other person was rejected for no reason at all. This is especially since this person did exactly everything the other person did and got some lame apology for not getting the job.

I can't help but feel something else drove the employer to make this decision. What could truly cause an employer to choose one over the other? That is like saying one identical twin is prettier than the other exact looking identical twin. This makes no sense and in my opinion is so unfair when employers do this stuff. I am lost on that part.
That's what I'm saying. Their attitude/personality is what I am talking about. And since both people have the same personality that fits to make them both right for the job, my question again is what makes one special over the other?

To make sure you all understand. When I say exactly alike I mean each person is much alike in everyway you can think of. Yet and still only one of the two got their wish to get the job.
Thanks Shelley. It is good to see somebody knows where I am coming from. I always agreed it is all about luck. Too bad folks like us don't have that luck.


Admin 24.08.2009. 06:33


You will knock yourself silly over the head trying to work out the reason for this as my friend this is a question that can never be answered. It's a part of life.

The employer may have reacted to how he/she felt on that particular day. It's the same as you or I walking out of our house and deciding whether to turn right or left that day (ie of no importance) yet the outcome is different.
It is destiny...

I know where you are coming from as I have been 'out of work' the last 5 months having worked for a company for 25 years. It is really tough at the moment, especially if you, like me are contending with another 200-300 candidates applying for same roles.

Other than the economy being the way it is at the moment and companies having the power to pick and choose, as they have a smorgasbord of candidates which works in their favour...they expect the 'perfect candidate'...there is no such thing.

From what I have observed at the is a case of luck. Who get's the companies/or recruiters (as majority of jobs in Aust are via recruiters) attention. It also depends on the age of the person who is recruiting, their qualifications and if they have the same expections as the client. Some have, whilst others are on a different page. It is if you go beyond expectations and find out more about the role by phoning first (before applying), it's about who you know that can get you in the networking.

You know I have just come off the job search site and found a job I applied for last week re advertised by recruiter. I met all the criteria and qualifications in the ad...yet I was not called..not on their shortlist. I suspect age has something to do with this also, yet it is illegal for recruiter or company to discriminate on age. Like you, I feel this is a lame excuse as I have so much experience behind me...I think it stinks.

What you and I are going through now is a life experience, a reason why this is happening for us to learn from. It may not make sense now..but I am sure later on it will. You know whilst this job of yours sounds great, you may even find a better one.

Just hold your head up, I know that there is something better out there, you just have to have faith.

Keep positive and good luck!!


Kate 13.03.2013. 16:52

How to tell a company that I really want the job? I have just competed a third interview/meeting with staff for a Marketing & Development Coordinator position for a large non profit organization. As a graduate student, it is a big deal to have a job secured prior to graduation. I heard about the job from someone I know and they highly recommended me to the CEO. The job has not even been advertised yet.

After today's meeting, I was told by the CEO that she's very impressed with me, that she believes that I would be an excellent fit with their team, and that she's really excited about my previous experience. She also that she assumed that I was applying to other positions and is concerned that I would choose another job before graduation. So she may interview other candidates I simply told her that if they offered me the position that I would conclude my job search and that what grad student wouldn't want to have a job secured before graduation. I also told her that this job was my first choice (and it really is).

After our meeting, I met with other staff members to get a better feel for the organization. They all seemed impressed, super friendly, and stated that they would love to work with me. Should I just call the CEO and tell her that I've gotten a great feel for the organization and that I really envision myself there?

Thank you for your advice!


Admin 13.03.2013. 16:52

Send the CEO a pizza with I WANT THE JOB spelled out in pepperoni.


Francis F 25.01.2012. 09:49

Will the government ever enforce age discrimination laws and will government take it one step further? Employers put a wall up for older job candidates, even though they have equal or better educational qualifications than a younger candidate. Make the employer justify their final choice of a candidate to all candidates stating ages, educational qualifications and reasons for choosing who they did and make it public knowledge. That might reduce "secret" age discrimination, which the victim currently must provide the burden of proof.

Francis F

Admin 25.01.2012. 09:49

The government enforces age discrimination laws. You want the government to have the final say for all hiring of everyone, and that's wrong. Too, you want to turn the US Constitution around, and make people guilty, until they prove their innocence. That's absolute nonsense.


Heyley 07.11.2012. 15:08

Why do you think skills of job candidates have become so important ? What are the implications for (a) manager?s job in general, and to you personally?


Admin 07.11.2012. 15:08

I think that in the current climate the most pertinent competence that employers are very, very interested in, is flexibility and the ability to change; the pace of change seems to be forever accelerating and the current financial and economic crisis has challenged companies to evolve to meet the changed marketplace and stakeholder relationships faster than ever before. Therefore, the skill most valued by employers, and which is being positively sought after, is creativity and the ability to innovate - those organisations that can evolve quickly enough to recognise and grasp opportunities before their competitors will survive and prosper, provided they can exploit those opportunities that arise effectively. Yes, it's an employers' market, and yes, employers can afford to pick and choose the best from the pool of candidates - but in reality, can they afford not to? A costly recruitment decision might just provide the tipping point that makes the difference between survival and doom.

The implications for managers are that it is much more difficult to satisfy the career aspirations of the high fliers, and person-management skills will become critical if the talent that has been captured during recruitment, at cost to the business, is to be retained. Managerial skills such as motivational leadership, perfromance management, goal-setting and reward, as well as providing opportunities for development and increasing employability will all contribute. However, I feel that few line managers truly have the necessary understanding and experience of HRM, let alone the time to undertake these activities properly - a miserable failing of businesses, certainly in the UK, where less than 25% of managers have any management training.

The task of selecting suitable candidates for short-listing has become much more difficult as every job advert elicits many more responses than previously, although this has not had any immediate personal effect on me.


Tanks 17.03.2007. 14:28

Are men really more likely to get chosen for a job where they don't have the required qualifications? I hear some women complaining that sometimes the less qualified male still gets chosen for the job. How do these women know the man is less qualified in the first place? Have they read their job resume? Or maybe the interviewer knows men are less likely to write about little feats on their resume than women. Or maybe the inerviewer assumed men are better wokers, just like men get higher car insurance because it is assumed they are more aggessive drivers?

What do you think?
Ceegt are you blind. Read the f'in details instead of just screaming a random answer.
R we are not here to tell personal stories. I also have no idea what you are talking about, your story is confusing and makes no sence whatsoever.


Admin 17.03.2007. 14:28

I actually believe otherwise. At places around here, a woman is more likely to get a better beginning position than a man. For example, at a grocery store nearby, they'll hire a woman right into the cashier position but tell the men they are going to start them at bagger and they can earn the cashier position. Both candidates have equal/no experience.


Hellou 14.09.2009. 07:54

How to prepare for a job interview as a phonathon worker at my university? I have a job interview coming up on Monday for a job as a phonathon worker at my university. If hired I'd be calling alumni to update them on whats going on with the university and to try to get them to keep donating to us.

What questions should I expect to be asked?

What else should I do to prepare for the interview?


Admin 14.09.2009. 07:54

Preparation is the key to Interview success. The more you have found out regarding the University and the job the better.
Statistics suggest that around eight candidates get chosen to attend an Interview and of those eight, only 12% prepare thoroughly. On that basis 8% of 12 is slightly less that one person in eight will have done their homework. Make sure that person is you and you wont go far wrong.
Obviously you will need an excellent telephone technique and they may even get you to make a dummy call to check you out.
The nain questions will probably be as follows.

Did you experience any difficulties in finding us?
Why do you want to work here?
What is your main reason for selecting this type of work.
What do you know about the University
What information do you have regarding the Alumni
Who is our main Sponsor.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years.
What are your strengths
What are your weeknesses
If you were offered the position when could you start

Do you have any questions that you would like to ask us?

When you are asked a question do not give closed answers - in other words do not answer with a plain "Yes" or "No"
Try to enlarge on your replies and add a little infornation. As an example if you were asked
"Did you experience any problems finding the University Visitors Car Park?"

(incidently the preliminary questions are designed to ease you in and make you feel comfortable)

Instead of answering "No"
You should say something like
No! I came along last Friday to check my Travel time and found the Car Park quite easy to find"

This answer will always indicate that you made preparations - they like that and there is a good chance you will be the only one who did bother.

So, there you have it. Oh and one more thing
Based on the fact that you have been selected for Interview indicates that you were selected on the merit of your application and are a likely candidate for the position.
If you are selected for Interview and you have prepared thoroughly then the Job should be your for the taking.
Under no circumstances mention either salaries or holidays - this is s no go area,.

Good luck and I hope you are successful


tennisball 15.07.2008. 00:21

How important is job history on a law school application? I will be applying to law school next year and I am concerned about my lack of job experience. I've been working consistently since I was 16, but either in sales or in the childcare industry. Will these type of jobs badly affect my chances of getting into an excellent law school?

I attend a very prestigious school with a decent GPA and am an athlete as well as a board member of a large club.
Should I try to get a job in another field in order to boost my application? If so, what type of positions should I be looking for.



Admin 15.07.2008. 00:21

The short answer is that it isn't a big factor. Most law schools focus on your LSAT score, your undergraduate GPA, and your personal statement, with each school giving more or less weight to each of those three depending on its philosophy. The vast majority of law students are coming directly from finishing their undergraduate degrees and have had no opportunity for significant employment before they apply to law school. My opinion is that your time would be better spent getting into some additional leadership positions or doing some volunteer work. These sorts of things can help you look like a more "well rounded" candidate to the selection committee. However, one way your job history could HURT you is if you have any kind of negative history, such as having been fired or disciplined by a past employer.

One good reason to consider working part-time in a law office before going to law school would be to see what the nuts and bolts of the practice of law are. Many students choose to go to law school without fully understanding what awaits them after they graduate. Many times these graduates are unhappy with the work they end up doing, but feel stuck because it is the only way they can earn enough to keep making payments on their $100,000+ in student loans.


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