How to Interview for the Right Candidate

Interviewing has always been the last line of defense in hiring. You can screen resumes as carefully as you can or with the most advanced applicant tracking system known to man, but, until you actually meet a candidate in person, you don’t know if hiring them is going to hurt or help your business. But what happens when your last line of defense against the hoards of under-qualified applicants out there isn’t cutting it as well as you think? If your interview process isn’t air tight, there is quite a lot of potential for candidates to bluff their way into your good graces. Over half of the resumes submitted to companies in the United States contain falsifications. That’s right, most of the resumes that you’ve reviewed contained a few fibs, if not outright fabrications. This being the case, your interviewing has to be precise enough to separate the fantastic candidates from the fakers in your applicant pool.

The first thing that you should do to improve the precision of your interviewing is re-examine the questions that you’ve been asking candidates. Do you have a prepared interview script for your candidates? Did you have a script that you memorized and then completely forgot? Unlike jumpsuits, interviews are not one-size-fits-all. If you want to make a great hire, then you’ve got to put in as much care to your interviewing as candidates are into making a good impression. Instead of having a standardized interview script or just winging it, try creating a unique set of interview questions for each position that you’re trying to fill.

When designing your questions, it’s important to think about what sort of person you want to hire. No, “qualified” does not count as a personality type. Talk to the team that you’re about to hire for and get a feel for the sort of people they are. Are they a quiet bunch? Are they highly competitive? What sort of person would fit right in with them? Besides observing this team, you might also want to try and ask them for their opinion on what sort of person would be a success as a co-worker or why the last person to have the job washed out. By going out and talking to the people that you’re about to provide with a new team member, you can get a feel for the conditions that a new hire would be working under.

Once you’ve done a little research on the roll and the team that a new hire would be joining, it’s time to get down to some interviewing. Now, the best way to tell if anyone is legit is to ask for evidence. Instead of asking a candidate if they’re good under pressure, ask them something like “tell me about a time when the pressure of a situation caused you fail. What did you learn from this?” Anyone will say they’re good under pressure, but, by asking about what sort of situation caused a candidate to crack in the past, you can see what they’re actually made of.

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