What Do Companies Search in a Candidate? by the Relentless

The market has evolved in the last couple of years. In addition to candidates’ academic built, now recruiters and companies always look for something less pragmatic: the social skill. The will to succeed in their professional path comes hand-in-hand with a personal component, the extra-curricular.

As recruiters we look at a couple of things:

Academic process:

This is just obvious, the academic path is the basis of any selection, what was his/her minor/major/master? Where did they study? Is it any good for the positions available?


How bad does the candidate want it? Especially in international recruitment, the eagerness to relocate and embrace a new professional challenge is essential. If doubt is shown, it’s like a red flag waving: do they really want this? Are they really committed?

We spend the most hours of our day at work, the candidate should be able to integrate the existing team, that they show the company they’re applying to their importance.

Pro-active attitude:

Having this trait shows good time management as well as a positive attitude to grow as an employee and as a person. While taking initiative and assuming responsibility there is a demonstration of determination and goodwill towards the company. This stance is always valued, it also shows that the applicant feels united to this new position, and comradeship towards your new colleagues.

The ability to adapt:

How capable is the candidate to analyse the environment and adjust to the specific situation? The person you are while working is different from the friendly personality as an individual in a more intimate situation.


Although multitasking is a gift, sometimes focus needs to be directed into a single objective. This is also connected to the ability to adapt.


As recruiters, we always explain the position and who the client is. Still, before any interview the contender must do their “homework”. If we’re talking about a company that works with software engineering for example, the candidate must be able to distinguish the different computerized and program languages, as well as, research as much information on the client as possible. That way there is a less percentage of failure, and it can save you from some embarrassing moments.

Curriculum Vitae:

A good Curriculum Vitae is half way into getting a dream position. It is important that the candidate explains who they are, and what are their most qualified skills. Sometimes the basic elements are overlooked like stating the name and contacts. In a second section, differentiate by dates academic experience. If gaps appear on the résumé, as recruiters we always think of a “slacker” although it might not be the case. If the candidate is active they should show it, for example a gap year that was used to travel is a plus. Honesty is a good policy, we say in Portuguese: “a lie has a short leg!” this means it is easy to catch someone who lied with just a couple of questions, so the CV shouldn’t be embellished with fake skills. Also, personal traits are important: candidates should speak about their hobbies, whatever they are: sports, music, reading, drinking coffee, fishing or something else.

Personally, Europass CV template gives me the chills, there should be a creative component to it. At the same time keep it simple: no one cares where you did your middle school, we want to know your university and experience. As an employer, who will be looking at thousands of résumé’s for only a couple of hours, two pages should be more than enough.


Just look it up on a dictionary. I mean, quite literally. A candidate must be able to bounce back from adversities. When they’re told a certain position is not available but another one might be, just research and consider it. There’s always the possibility of finding a new interesting path.


Like the example I used earlier, if we’re talking about Software engineers, about tech focus people, sometimes they lack a little bit of social skills, only opening up when talking about work and programming. As recruiters we are (normally) extroverts, so we talk a lot and don’t have a problem connecting to people generally. It’s our job, as recruiters, to prepare a candidate for an interview where they need to be more outgoing and encourage them into success.

Bibliography (or some fun reading):

The Relentless

Ana Queiroz



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