Your festive checklist for the perfect candidate

Your festive checklist for the perfect candidate

There’s no doubt that the hardest part of the hiring process is finding the perfect candidate. In fact, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management only about 43 out of every 100 hires is successful in the long run. And because hiring the wrong candidate is an expensive mistake to make, you want to make sure you do it right the first time, right?

We’ve got you covered!

Here’s a checklist to help you find the perfect candidate. And the best part? We’ve set it to The 12 Days of Christmas to make it easy to remember. Ready? Here we go…

When you find the perfect candidate, you’ll know ‘cause they will be…

12. … not full of clichés

Your perfect candidate should be someone who thinks outside the box. If you notice that their answers to even standard questions are creative and unique, you know you’ve found a winner.

11. … a fit for your teammates

If you sense that there might be a major personality clash between a candidate and your existing team, that’s not your perfect candidate. You’re ideally looking for someone who shares the company culture and will be able to slot right in with the rest of your crew.

10. … clued up and ready

Your perfect candidate should be prepared and organised throughout the interview process. Always ask them why they specifically applied for this role. This will give you a good idea of how much they know about what would be expected of them based on the job ad, and will also help you see if they did research into your company and what you’re about.

9. … honest and forthcoming

You’re looking for someone who is able to be honest about their weaknesses and the ways that they address them, but also someone who is able to talk about their strengths accurately and confidently. You’re also looking for a candidate who doesn’t seem to have anything to hide. Of course, your candidate might want to keep certain sensitive things private, but if they don’t give straight answers to the simple questions, that’s not your perfect candidate.

8. … easy to contact

There’s nothing worse than being super excited about a candidate to the point where you’re ready to make them an offer, only for that candidate to disappear without a trace. Keep an eye on the candidates who respond to you quickly and effectively. Or ask your recruiter about their experiences communicating with the candidate. This will give you an idea about which candidates are excited by and serious about the opportunity.

7. … thinking of the future

You’re looking for a candidate who is thinking ahead. There’s a reason ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ is a standard interview question. You want someone who has a plan in mind for where they’re going. It shows drive, enthusiasm, and passion – all things you want a fresh infusion of when you hire someone new.

6. … full of ideas

Your perfect candidate is someone who wants to hit the ground running and work with you to take your business to the next level. Ask them questions about problem solving. You could even pose a challenge your company is actually facing. See what ideas they propose. Even if you wouldn’t necessarily be able to implement them, you’re looking for someone who’s at least able to come up with creative solutions.

5. … great at what they do

This goes without saying, but your perfect candidate should be good at their job. There is some wisdom in hiring someone who can grow into the role with some training, but even then, they should at least have the skills and the drive to show you that they will be able to take their work tasks and run with them.

4. … in interests beyond work

As much as you want someone who’s passionate about what they do, you don’t want someone whose job is their whole life. Ask about their interests and hobbies outside of work hours. Do they have creative pursuits? Are they involved in community projects and volunteering? Do they study something else part-time? Candidates who are involved in activities outside of work bring a unique perspective and insight back to the office. Hobbies outside of work are also important for maintaining good mental health.

3. … reviewed well

There are few things more disappointing than finding who you think is a great candidate, only for their references and other background checks to come back with bad news. Pay attention to the feedback you get from third parties. Sure, sometimes there are previous employers who can be unfair in their feedback, but if you’re getting the same kind of feedback from more than one source, that’s not your perfect candidate.

2. … full of confidence

Your perfect candidate should be confident in their qualifications, experience, and skillset. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re looking for someone loud and gregarious about their achievements (in fact, these people can sometimes be over-confident in their abilities). You’re looking for a candidate who knows where their strengths lie and leans into them. You want a candidate who understands their weaknesses and isn’t letting it hold them back – a candidate who finds ways to confront and work with them.

1. … and excited by your company

What you really want is a candidate who has researched your company and is excited not only about the role, but also about your business. And while it might not be to the same extent, you’re passionate it, finding a candidate who’s excited about your company is almost always a huge win. Pay attention to the questions they ask you about your company values, mission, and goals. If they sound enthusiastic about the prospect of working with you to achieve them, they might just be your perfect candidate.


The true “perfect candidate” doesn’t really exist. Candidates who tick off every single point on this list are about as rare as unicorns. But you can still use it as a guideline to find a candidate who is so close to ideal that they might as well be perfect. Trust your gut when it tells you “no”, but also keep an open mind. You might just find that missing piece that’ll take your business to the next level.

From the entire Job Crystal Team, we would love to wish you a blessed festive season and all the best for the new year. We’ll be open throughout the rest of the holidays to help with all of your hiring needs.

And if you’re looking for some office fun, why not try singing our list? Just start at the bottom point and work your way to the top.