Common traits of candidates who deserve the job

Ian Yip
2 min readFeb 7, 2021

Want to give yourself the best chance to land that job? Make sure you nail these.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I’ve personally interviewed more candidates for open roles at Avertro in the past year than the previous 10 combined, such is the nature of being a startup founder that doesn’t have the luxury of deferring to a recruitment team.

We’re currently hiring for a marketing specialist and have been overwhelmed by the response, receiving over 150 applications. We’ve arrived at our shortlist of the top three candidates; we could hire any of them and they would do a great job.

Here’s what they all have in common:

  1. They really want the job. It’s not easy to fake enthusiasm for a role that you want but aren’t all that jazzed for. I understand that sometimes you just need to earn a salary, which is ok. We need to pay bills. But here’s all the more reason to go after that role you really want, because during the interview, it shows.
  2. They come to the interview with well thought-out ideas. It’s almost like they’ve already inhabited the role and are thinking through how they are going to strategise, execute, deliver, and be successful. To the interviewer, the discussion starts to feel like a meeting after they’ve already landed the role.
  3. They ask insightful questions. It’s almost impossible to ask great questions during an interview if you haven’t done the homework. The more research and thinking you do, the more you will realise that there are challenges you will need to solve. If you can make it clear to the interviewer that you are past the initial stage and are ready to address and solve the problem they may have already encountered, or even better, that they haven’t even thought about, you will gain an amount of respect that few other candidates will be able to match you on.
  4. They are respectful and likeable. While merit matters, no one will ever hire someone they do not like. It’s pretty simple. Be nice. Be respectful. And act like the true professional you are while doing it.
  5. They nail the answer to the most important question.

If you do these things, you’re almost always going to be one of the top candidates. If you don’t end up with the role, you will at least be satisfied that you did everything you could and were simply beaten by someone who was a better fit in the eyes of the company.

Ian Yip is the CEO of Avertro, a venture-backed cybersecurity software company. Avertro CyberHQ is the strategic cybersecurity headquarters that helps leaders manage the business of cyber, explain cybersecurity to executives, forecast outcomes, right-size spend, and validate strategy so leaders can optimise the use of external assistance and prove they are doing cyber right.



Ian Yip

Cyber Risk. Cybersecurity. Business. Tech. Entrepreneur. CEO at Avertro. Former CTO at McAfee Asia Pacific.