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Wish Lists for Ideal Candidates

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There are a number of really standardised personality traits that employers are looking for, and often candidates will match those traits - but the perception of what those traits will translate to in the job can be hugely different.

Using a standardised set of traits as a ‘wish list’ for an ideal candidate can potentially result in huge issues within the business, not to mention the costs of hiring a non-ideal candidate.

Let’s look at these wish lists in more detail, and what a more specific approach to an ideal candidate can be.

Standard Wish Lists

We receive a shit-tonne of words and phrases that describe an employer’s wish list for an ideal candidate, most of them are pretty general.

Some standard words we see employers looking for in hiring an ideal candidate include Ambitious, Resilient, Positive / Can-do attitude, Strong work ethic, Passionate, Accuracy and Attention to detail, a Team player, a Strong Leader and the universal… Perform Under Pressure! 

The reality of these standardised wish lists is that literally every employer wants the same thing. Our job is to find a candidate that stands out from the crowd in all the right ways, but unfortunately we can’t read an employer’s mind to ensure it’s a good fit. 

Because despite our rigorous selection processes, there are a vast amount of studies that tell us: up to 50% of new hires fail within 18 months.

Dodgy Hires Are Expensive

For Australian businesses, the cost of new hire failures is higher than the delivery guy on his lunch break. 

Research shows the direct recruitment costs to hire ONE employee are on average a staggering $19,000! Then we need to add on to that another 30% to 50% of the annual salary, PLUS the costs of recruitment, induction, orientation, training, maintenance, termination, and lost opportunity. 

I’d say there’d be a fair bit of biffo in management meetings if all these costs showed up on a P&L. So how do employers avoid this?

Specific Wish Lists

In this market filled with jobs and a severe lack of applicants, it’s never been more important for employers to be specific about the kind of employee they are looking for. Instead of using generalised personality traits, tie them to the operations of the business, what their day-to-day looks like or the industry you’re employing in. 

We’ve taken the list above and provided some pointers on how you can make your wish list more specific:

Ambitious - what career opportunities are available that you would like them to aim at or be interested in?

Resilient - what are the factors or activities that require resilience?

Positive / Can-do attitude - define your perception of this.

Strong work ethic - what is your perception of a strong work ethic in your business? 

Passion - What is it you would like candidates to be passionate about?

Accuracy and Attention to detail - what are the key items you require this in?

Team Player - what does your team look like? Include some details.

Strong Leader - how do you expect the candidate to lead?

Perform Under Pressure - define ‘under pressure’ in your business or industry

For example, a supervisory customer delivery role in JIT (Just In Time) manufacturing the wish list may look something like this:

Not only does being more specific help your recruiter narrow the playing field, it ensures that applicants have a clear and concise understanding of expectations. 

One last thing…

Don’t forget to talk to your recruiter about what candidates in your field are currently looking for! The job market has shifted and with candidates holding the balance of power, it’s in your best interests to find out what your company can do to attract top talent. 

We've been working with our clients to build attractive offers that match what candidates are looking for, ensuring they can attract talent and keep their key personnel in place. But don't just take our word for it - click here to see our reviews. 

If your business needs assistance in preparing for the future, get in touch with us today.



Perks? What Perks?
Apr 21, 2022

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