How to hire the best candidate for your company

Jessica Kurbatov
6AM City
Published in
4 min readMar 18, 2021


Zoom background of 6AM City’s “Headquarters”

While in the midst of a nonstop streak of hiring at 6AM City, we’ve noted that there are a few qualities that rank above all else when looking for a new hire. These are not new ideas but they are certainly ones that are of high value as you sift through application after application, looking for something extra that will allow you to pull a great candidate out of a good pile.

Here are our takeaways.

Look for a candidate that is already engaging with your company.

Questions to ask yourself: Is the candidate following your company on social media? Are they subscribed to the newsletter or promotion emails? Are they a user of your product? Do they tag your company in posts and talk about it on their social media?

A candidate who supports and follows your company and is familiar with what it does is usually one who is truly interested in the role. That calls for bonus points. After all, the goal is to hire someone who fully believes in the mission and vision of your company and stays committed to developing in their role.

During the interview, ask what they think your company does well and what you could do better. This question is truly a test to see how much they know. And remember, feedback is a gift.

Look for a candidate that is passionate.

At 6AM City, we’re focused on educating and activating local communities through daily email newsletters that aggregate the most positive, impactful local news and events. Through our conversational tone, editorial filter, and participatory approach, we aim to build communities driven by conversation, designed for maximum engagement.

With that in mind, we want to hire individuals who are eager and curious about their communities, having fun through pride in place.

Ask candidates what they’re passionate about. This question should provide full freedom for the applicant to share what fills their time and motivates them. If they only show passion for the new role that they have not yet started, that can bring a note of hesitation. You wouldn’t want them to start the job to discover that all they were ever passionate about turned out to be something that they did not expect or enjoy, leaving them searching for another job.

You can easily see how passionate someone is based on their involvement in their city’s local government, philanthropic organizations, or business establishments. You’ll often find this information on a candidate’s social media or even in their application.

At the end of the day, a perfect candidate is one who fits your company’s culture. If they are adaptable, open-minded, and eager to learn, you can easily train them to be successful in their role.

Look for a candidate that’s doing something extra.

An editorial candidate in our pipeline that’s doing the extra stuff is someone who has a personal website where they share blogs they’ve written, publications they’ve been published in, work they’re proud of, etc. It gives you a little more information to work with outside of the standard resume and cover letter combo. Think about what the extra things would be for your ideal candidate.

Another key component of an above and beyond candidate is one who connects with you personally. For example, when a hiring manager is looking at LinkedIn profiles, the user receives a notification that someone has viewed their profile. A candidate that sees these views and then reaches out to the hiring manager with a direct message following up on the role stands out.

Other examples include candidates doing the research on company websites or social pages to find the direct email of a hiring manager and reaching out to them. Personal connections like that allow their name to be seen an extra time. Even if they reached out to someone not involved in the hiring process, their name will be passed along and once again, noted.

Don’t hesitate to add additional steps to your hiring process.

Let’s be honest here. A thirty-minute virtual interview does not provide you with a full picture of a candidate, and hiring someone is a huge investment. Therefore, don’t hesitate to add a few more steps in your hiring process to get to know that candidate a little more.

At 6AM City, our hiring process consists of a few assessments and rounds of interviews. We use a pre-employment testing tool called Wonscore by Wonderlic to measure the cognitive ability, personality, and motivation of our top candidates. In addition, any editorial applicant receives a writing assessment based on our product allowing us to evaluate their content selection and tone. Our very top candidates participate in an interview with the hiring manager, followed by an interview with the leadership team, after which they may be asked to meet with a peer from the department they would be working in.

Throughout this process, our goal is to not only get to know the candidate’s skill set but to see if they would be a good fit with our company culture. At the end of the day, most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train someone on their personality.



Jessica Kurbatov
6AM City

Director of Operations at 6AM City — engaging local communities by creating new ways to consume, participate, and share local content.