What to look for in a prospective employee


What to look for in a prospective employee.
What to look for in a prospective employee.

Staffing for a position can be a long and arduous process, as managers sometimes have to sift through hundreds of resumes, cycling dozens of the best applicants through interviews to determine the best overall person for the job. With such a high volume of potential hires, it can be hard to remain focused on the most important aspects to look for in an employee. However, the right signs can be evident from the moment an applicant contacts you.

A large sign that an applicant is a keeper is if they're already acting like a model employee from the moment they get in touch, according to Forbes. One hiring manager said when one candidate came in having already researched the company, having already found ways her presence in the position could improve processes and practices, it was clear she truly wanted to join the team. The most talented employees will be easy to see between their professionalism and their enthusiasm, and a positive first impression can give you a big boost of confidence in their potential.

Reading cover letters can quickly become a tiring chore, as many people will write generic and ineffective letters they can send to many employers in their searches. Don't expect every cover letter to lack relevance, though. The right cover letter will show why an applicant deserves to land the position. Cover letters are necessary, but some can transcend their mundane state to shine in a sea of banal offerings. 

Interviewing ability speaks volumes
During an interview, you'll be able to tell who truly cares by their demeanor and interest in the process. Some interviewees will appear bored, overwhelmed or unprepared for the experience, but those who are invested will ask questions about how how the company works, where it's going and how they can help out. Whether they want to see how the company makes a difference or how the average day on the job goes, expressing extra interest from the outset shouldn't be taken lightly, especially if they ask questions that can stump even you.

While many applicants will appear generic, the best will make themselves desired. If they show extra effort before, during or after the interview to prove themselves, you can become more confident that they'll be the ideal hire. One expert gave the example of an interviewee explaining why they'd be an ideal candidate through blog posts, which held the exact skills and evidence of experience they were looking for. The right employees will go out of their way to prove themselves, often showing the exact skills that will help them excel in a given position.

Social media negatives may be positives
Many employers research potential candidates through social media, checking their Facebook and Twitter profiles before hiring them to discover any positive or negative qualities, but what may seem like a warning sign might actually show important skills, according to a study from North Carolina State University.

In testing 175 study participants, researchers at the university found no correlation between responsibility and the content of their Facebook profiles, which may include undesired qualities. Further, employers looking to fill positions that emphasize extroverted qualities may not want to immediately disqualify an applicant with a less-discerning profile. Those applicants may actually succeed better than others in the field, as their profiles show confidence and openness, both of which can be desired qualities in a candidate.

One make-or-break detail of an applicant's online interactions is their agreeableness. Watch for any efforts to badmouth friends, family or former employers. If they're respectful online, it's likely they'll be respectful in real life.