Does your company know how to attain high-caliber candidates for open roles and positions?

There are differing opinions on what makes one jobseeker a better fit for an organization than others. In general, it’s ideal if decision makers, human resources departments, and other hiring managers are all on the same page while evaluating job candidates. If everyone uses the same parameters, it’s easier for businesses to compare candidates, develop interview questions to ask candidates, and discuss any questions or areas of concern.

Recently, we reviewed business community surveys of U.S. organizations of various sizes and industries. The highest-rated attributes in candidates were recognized. Here are some criteria used to determine the highest-quality candidates and insight on how you and your hiring team can pick the cream of the crop for your company.

1. Relevant Work Experience

According to a business community survey conducted by BioSpace, 91% of survey respondents selected relevant work experience as being significant for candidates. In fact, work experience was prioritized over holding advanced degrees (24%) and having attended a highly recognized educational institute (8%).

It’s evident that candidates who have worked for competitors may have the right work experience, but thinking outside the box and considering applicants with transferable skills coming from different industries, can also be a plus. Your goal is to review their background and decide how effective it would be in your company. An interview question to ask candidates you might include is:

  • How has your background prepared you to perform the responsibilities for this role and achieve the desired goals?

2. Strong Communication Skills

You can begin to gain an understanding of a candidate’s communication style from their resume. You have the chance to obtain even more details on their communication skills during an interview. 65% of survey participants noted that “demonstrate strong communication skills” was necessary.

Quality candidates will be able to show examples of when they were able to work with others to achieve success. Listen for these accomplishments in conversation. You might ask:

  • Tell me about a moment in your career when you had to work with an individual on a project, and their style was different from yours. How did you handle that situation?

3. Leadership Skills (or Potential)

It’s easy to consider leadership skills as only applying to executives and managers, but in fact, any person can be a leader. A leader is an individual who inspires positive change and motivates others. Even if a position doesn’t include managing direct reports, strong leadership skills or the potential to be a leader is essential. Has the candidate led special projects or cross-functional teams in their past? 39% of decision makers surveyed selected “demonstrate leadership experience or the potential to be a leader” as necessary for quality candidates.


Some interview questions to ask candidates are:

  • What is your definition of a leader?
  • What is your leadership style?

Surprisingly, many employers don’t value an individual holding an advanced degree or attending highly-recognized universities, as favorably as other factors.

The top three criteria used for identifying quality candidates are:

  • having relevant work experience
  • demonstrating strong communication skills
  • demonstrating leadership experience (or the potential to be a leader).

What interview questions can your hiring managers ask candidates, to help assess if you’re speaking with a high-caliber applicant?


Fly High Coaching is dedicated to helping you and your business succeed. We offer expert business coaching to help professionals navigate the ups and downs of owning, operating and succeeding in their business goals. Reach out to us today to get started on business coaching or check out our Kick Start Your Success Course to learn what you can do now.

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Porschia Parker-Griffin

Porschia Parker-Griffin is a Certified Professional Coach, Business Consultant, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. When she is not coaching, Porschia enjoys traveling, cooking, and working with animals.
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