The Savvy Candidate


As a search professional, it’s all too easy to bitch about uncooperative clients, candidates who go dark, the economy and all kinds of real or imagined slights to our overly sensitive egos.

So today, I’m going to pay homage to those really great candidates who make my profession a joy and are such a pleasure to work with.  I’m not talking about following my lead with blind trust and naivety, either. I’m talking about thoughtful individuals who share a common trait, decency – and decency at all levels, from manager to the C suite. Some traits of the savvy candidate include:

  • Responsiveness
  • Courtesy
  • Professionalism under any circumstance
  • Integrity
  • Consistency

I cannot speak enough about a candidate who displays all of the above attributes.  These traits are consistent with how they conduct themselves in their personal lives as well as their professional dealings. It’s not something they’ve learned, it’s an integral part of who they are. For they go beyond the common business courtesies of thank you notes and showing up on time. They care – about you, about how they are perceived, about the people they work with. They are thoughtful through the interview process; respecting the process and all of the players involved. The savvy candidate trusts but verifies (to quote my fave Prez), they do their homework and go the extra mile. The savvy candidate is rarer than you might think, so they shine even more if you’re lucky enough to represent one.

It’s never a surprise when a great candidate receives a stellar reference. In fact, there have been the rare occasions where even I’m wowed by how well thought of some individuals are by their peers and employers. Yes, it validates my own judgment, but more importantly, it  renews a little of my faith in humanity.

The great candidate inspires me to work that much harder for them. I know I can rely on their integrity, even if they are not the final hire or decide to pull out of the process. Ours is a relationship that overcomes interview availability, traffic, a hitch in the interview schedule and counter offers. They trust my expertise and judgment and even when disagreeing, know I’m representing them in their best interest. And in return, they earn my trust, loyalty and the best opportunities I can find for them.

So here’s to you my valiant, loyal candidates! You deserve every raise, promotion and job of a lifetime opportunity. I can only wish that I’m the recruiter to help see you on your way.

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