Have you ever found yourself reading a job description, knowing you have some of the required skills but don’t check every box, so decided against applying? Or, have you ever applied for a job knowing you have 100% of the skills required but didn’t get an interview or job offer?

There is so much more that goes into the ‘perfect candidate’ (if this concept exists) than just the skills needed to do the job. Do you fit in well with the culture of the team that you’ll be working with closely? Do you balance skill set gaps on the team you’ll be joining? Were you overly direct in your interview, or were you not detailed enough with your responses? Do you have the communication skills needed for the particular role? Do your ambitions and professional goals exceed what the role could offer, or do you have the humility to learn and grow in a way that makes yourself and the company successful? The list goes on and on. 

Several factors come into play when deciding what makes the ‘perfect candidate’ to hire for any given role. The hard part about this? How can a company know the complete value you can offer, your personality, communication style, and growth goals by just looking at your resume? How do you know exactly what the company is looking for just by looking at a job description?

As a technology Talent Acquisition Specialist, I’ve got a few pieces of advice stemming from my experiences in recruiting thousands of candidates:

  1. Review the Job Description & Update Your Resumé Accordingly:
    Review the job description for the position you’re applying to, prepare specific, relevant details from your experience to speak about as they relate to the role’s requirements, and update your resume accordingly before applying. Adjusting your resume (in an honest way) to each role you apply to will increase your chances of landing that initial interview. 

  2. Do Your Research:
    Conduct research on the company you’re interested in, and prepare at least three quality questions regarding the company, culture, interviewer, and/or role. 

  3. Know Your ‘Why’:
    Ask yourself the following questions: Why are you looking for a new change? Why are you interested in the company? Why would you be a good fit for the open position? It’s important to understand your ‘why,’ so both you and the company can determine whether there’s a fit.

  4. Be Kind:
    Be courteous and polite in all interactions with the recruitment and hiring team, even if you don’t receive the outcome for which you hoped. You never know what doors you may open (or close) for yourself in the future based on how you treat people. 

  5. Show Enthusiasm & Interest:
    Show enthusiasm for the role and company for which you’re interviewing. One of the worst things candidates can do is act like the interview is just another to-do on their checklist and not show genuine interest in the interview or company.

  6. Reflect on Your Past Experiences:
    In most interviews, you’ll be asked to give examples of specific values, behaviors, or situations that you handled. It’s helpful to itemize key moments in your past career to illustrate the challenges you may have faced and the values and actions you incorporated to realize the results so you can use them in advocating for yourself.

Job descriptions highlight what is needed for a role, and resumes show a candidate’s accomplishments and skills, but more is needed. With so much information available online and through social platforms, candidates can get a sense of what a company’s culture is like or the profile of candidates they seem to hire, but that doesn’t provide the whole picture. For example, at Nuvalence, we highlight our bi-annual company-wide events, monthly virtual events, weekly office lunches, and more on social media, but those only scratch the surface of what our culture includes. 

Conversely, companies can have an idea of what a candidate can bring to the table by looking at their resume, but before speaking to them, how do they really know? Unfortunately, there are not endless hours in the day, so sometimes hard decisions are made before a conversation happens. But does that mean anyone should count themselves out before even trying? 

In a world where things are progressing fast, changing quickly, and keeping everyone on their toes, how do you know if you’re the perfect candidate? What if something happens in a month and redefines what ‘perfect’ means? As Wayne Gretzky said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So, be conscious of self-doubt, have faith in yourself, and put your best foot forward. You never know what might happen!

I believe the ‘perfect candidate’ can look vastly different depending on the company, culture, role, and numerous other factors at play. Is there a one-size-fits-all for any given position? Of course not. But does the perfect candidate exist? At Nuvalence, we think so. If you align with our values and culture and have the attributes that would make you successful here, you’re the perfect candidate for us.