5 Signs That a Job Candidate Isn’t a Good Fit


by  Sarah Boisvert


Determining if a job candidate is a good fit for your company is not as simple as matching education or skills to work requirements. A good fit has a lot to do with intangible factors like motivation, values, core competencies, and internal passions. These are harder to measure, but here are five signs a job candidate isn’t a good fit for your company.


1. Dress and manner

A simple first sign of whether or not a job candidate is a good fit for your company is how the potential employee dresses for the job interview. Young high-tech startups are famous for a casual atmosphere, stemming from the informal attitude in Silicon Valley. The engineer or designer who shows up in a three-piece suit at a casual office that prides itself on its basketball court is most likely a poor fit for your company.



The opposite is also true. A financial services company or law firm that projects an image of stability will not a good fit for a job candidate who shows up for an interview without a jacket and tie, or better yet, a three-piece suit. While dress may seem superficial, it says a lot about how a job candidate will fit into your company.


2. Values

Job candidates need to share values with the company for whom they work.  Jumping in to work weekends and complete a project, then taking Monday through Wednesday off may be key to a high-tech startup, while being in the office 9 to 5 everyday, 365 days per year is key to a more traditional company.  An employee who shares your values will fit in better than someone who is on a different page.


3.  Motivation

Different employees are motivated differently. Hotshot technical stars care less about money and more about getting credit for their innovations. A company that gives non-tangible rewards such as names on technical papers will be a good fit for this type of employee.


That said, many employees are motivated by money alone. A great fit for such an employee will be if they find a company that has a strong compensation program for employee initiative. Profit sharing and other programs may be a good fit for an employee motivated by money alone.


4. Internal Passion

The spark that lights the imagination of an employee can’t be measured with tests. An employee who has passion about their work will fit perfectly into a company that seeks passionate employees. But companies that want a standard fit such as government contractors may not have room for internal passion.


5. Core Competencies

Perhaps more closely aligned between an employee and a company than skills are core competencies that cover extensive capabilities. Analytical thinking skills, search engine optimization writing, or video production experience make a candidate a good fit, as they are able to cover the details of a variety to jobs.


There’s more to hiring than just looking at college major or job history. These five signs that a job candidate isn’t a good fit will hopefully save you from a serious hiring mistake.



Sarah Boisvert is a writer who has covered financial experts such as Gary Crittenden, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates. She also writes about marketing and sales.

Photo Credits

Michal Marcol | freedigitalphotos.net | Sarah Boisvert