Ideal Candidate — Top 10 Characteristics

Mercer Match Blog Ideal Candidate

What Makes an Ideal Candidate

As you enter the job force you may be asking “What makes an ideal candidate?” While no two employees are the same, they do share many of the same characteristics. It doesn’t matter what industry, the pay, or the age or sex of the employee — the employees who are valued most tend to share similar traits.

We’ve identified the top 10 characteristics that are usually found in an ideal candidate. See how many you already possess and which can be learned.

1. Intelligence

Studies clearly indicate that an employee’s productivity and overall contribution will be determined by their level of intelligence. In a work-world sense, intelligence means the ability to plan, to set priorities and solve problems, to organize and to simply get the job done. Your level of common sense is important, as is your practical ability to deal with the day-to-day challenges of your job.

2. Autonomous

Employers are looking for job candidates who can get the job done without needing constant assistance. Your boss and/or owner of the company have their own tasks and challenges in front of them and want action when they delegate responsibilities to you.

3. Action-oriented

Successful employees know when to take action and when to take chances. Taking chances can sometimes lead to failure, but more often will lead to success and help build confidence. Stagnant employees don’t help a company make money.

4. Leadership ability

What exactly is leadership? It’s the willingness to accept responsibility for results, to take charge, to volunteer for assignments, and to accept accountability. Leadership begins with self-confidence.

5. Ambitious

Bottom line: Employees who want to help themselves have a better career are those who can truly help a company. Ambition helps make a company innovative and creates ideas.

6. Honest

An employee can have all the skill in the world but will never accomplish anything of great value without honesty and integrity. Companies without honest and forthright employees simply won’t survive. Are you willing to admit to your mistakes? Do you say bad things about fellow employees or those you’ve worked with in the past?

7. Inner strength

From the determination and ability to persevere in the face of adversity, to persistence when the going gets tough, there are many things that determine a person’s inner strength. Inner strength is also on display when you remain calm, cool, and confident during the job interview.

8. Cultural fit

The ideal candidate is one that other employees would enjoy working with on a daily basis. Personality can mean the difference in an employee who doesn’t produce and fails to stay long, to one who is going to thrive and help the company succeed.

9. Passionate

You’ve heard people talk about having the kind of passion about their job that it feels as if they’re not working at all. Those types of people are typically highly effective employees and would make an ideal candidate. While money is a motivator, you also want to enjoy the journey in a job you love.

10. Detail-oriented

Being detail oriented is a characteristic to wear proudly. Employees who are detail-oriented take pride in their work and avoid making crucial mistakes. When the pressure is on it’s the detail oriented team member that can make all the difference.

While no single trait can define what makes an ideal employee, a combination of many traits will help you succeed in your chosen career. Employers are always looking for candidates who blend the right attitudes with the right actions.

Need More Advice?

If you’re still trying to figure out what career is a good match for you, download the Mercer Match app available on the App Store and the Google Play Store to get started. Your profile will be matched to careers and companies where you will thrive. To learn more, visit Mercer Match today!

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