The Most Important Attribute Employers Look for In Job Applicants

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A recent Glassdoor survey of hiring decision makers (those in recruitment, HR and responsible for hiring) in the U.S. and UK, found that informed candidates have become synonymous with quality: 88 percent of hiring decision makers agree that an informed candidate is a quality candidate. With that in mind, and with the Best Places To Work having just been announced in the UK, US, Canada, France and Germany, we asked some of the winners about what they look for in quality candidates. The common theme running throughout is the importance of understanding what a company is about.

Here is what they said:

Anglian Water CEO, Peter Simpson

“We see more informed people even at the initial application stage, let alone getting to the next stage of a recruitment process. These candidates have got a much better feel for what the company is really like and increasingly, people joining us are not looking solely at how much it pays or all the rest of it, they’re looking at the culture of the organisation. ‘Is this really somewhere I want to put my time? Is this a bunch of people with my values?'”

“I don’t really want people joining us thinking everything is great and they don’t need to change anything. They need to come in here and say, ‘We get what you’re all about, we love the culture, but how about this? What about that?’ I see a lot more of that because of these informed candidates.”

Rentalcars CEO, Ian Brown

“Ultimately there isn’t a company in the world that is going to be right for everybody. If candidates take the time to make an informed decision on whether the culture and environment is right for them, then it means that they are much more likely to succeed, both at interview and once they join.”

Delta Air Lines CEO, Ed Bastian

Jobs at Delta are enormously competitive, which is a good situation for us. For example, last year, we had 150,000 applicants for 1,200 openings for flight attendants. So we look for the best of the best — those who have strong skills and experience but also those who we know will be a good fit for Delta. If someone is brilliant at their job but doesn’t fit our values or culture, they won’t be successful here.

Bromford CEO, Philippa Jones

“We invest effort into helping candidates understand what we’re about and what the job will really be like, before they’re even at the interview stage, so we expect more informed candidates who can add greater value to the recruitment process. It’s a two-way process and a continuous investment. Even if a candidate isn’t successful initially, we want them to have a constructive experience so that they consider us again or tell their friends and family.”

SpaceX VP of HR, Brian Bjelde

“I distill what we’re looking for in candidates down to three items: passion, drive and talent. In general, we ask our hiring managers and the employees that we’ve selected to be part of the interviews to always be focused on hiring people better than themselves. If you’re given the opportunity to grow your team and you seek out someone better than yourself, then you’re going to make the company better.”

Capital One UK HR Director, Mike Lynch

“From day one, our business has been about helping people succeed with credit. It’s our wish to hire in-line with this mission. Informed candidates pick up on this through their research, either on our careers site, or places like Glassdoor.”

Hiscox Head of Recruitment, Vanessa Newbury

“Informed candidates are those people who have taken the time to research Hiscox – not just the company data basics (size, turnover, location etc.), but also sought clues in other places such as our social media sites or Glassdoor for what it might actually be like to work here. They are then able to explain why they think Hiscox is the right organisation for them and how they would fit into our culture.”

DocuSign Chief People Officer, Joan Burke

“We love to see people who are curious, and who have actually tried our product if they haven’t already used it as part of a transaction. We also love people who are collaborative, and who want to make an impact inside the organization. It’s really important that people here are great team players, and enjoy coming to work every day because they like the people they’re with. But they should also show a sense of pride: pride in the product, pride in the brand and just pride in who we are as an organization and what we’ve created here for employees.”

O2 Director of Talent and Development, Michelle Adams

“We want people to join O2 who are passionate about our brand and what we do. We have opportunities in our Stores and Head Office so whether it is surprising our customers or creating the next big thing, any candidates need to love what they do. Overall, we look for ambitious people who are not afraid to challenge the norm.”

Metro Bank Chief People Officer, Danny Harmer

“In our customer facing roles, it’s definitely passion for customer service and excitement about what we’re doing.”

Explore Learning Head of HR, Natalie Riddick

“We’re always looking for candidates to align with our company visions and values, and embody our core competencies, demonstrating where they can make the biggest impact.”

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants VP of People + Culture, Ginny Too

“If you’re a self-starter, motivated, compassionate, have a great sense of humor and a passion for hospitality, we’re the right place for you. I can’t emphasize how important it is to get to know our candidates as individuals. We’ve always been very purposeful about hiring for heart and intuition. Those are innate characteristics that translate to our industry. We can teach someone how to make a bed or improve their Excel skills and everything in between, but we can’t teach someone to have heart. There’s an unscripted nature in how we do our business and it’s that level of empowerment that allows our people to continue to flourish in their roles.”

“We also love when people do a little extra homework to learn not only about our hotels and restaurants, but also our culture and core values such as wellness, the environment, diversity and inclusion. Those who have a 360-degree view of their role will be set up for success and can hit the ground running.

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