You’ve sifted through hundreds of resumes and screened a number of candidates over the phone. You have narrowed it down to a handful of people and you are preparing for in-person interviews. You are hopeful that one of these candidates will be the perfect fit for the job. How can you ensure that you choose the right person?
As an interviewer, you have a huge responsibility of choosing a candidate based on just a few questions. It can be quite a challenge to really get to know someone in such a short amount of time. The problem is that no matter how many questions you ask someone, they can present quite a different image from who they really are. How, then, can you be sure that the person you choose to hire will be a good fit for the company? Here are a few tips interviewers can use to increase the chances that they choose the most suitable candidate.
1. Look Beyond the Resume
All too often hiring managers get too caught up in fancy resumes but in reality, the best candidate may not have the most impressive resume. Instead, interviewers should ask questions that help them learn more about the candidate rather than placing too much emphasis on the resume. Find out how they approach collaboration with others, what role they have played on teams, what motivates them to succeed, and where they see themselves in the future. Learn about their strengths and what they feel they can bring to the table. Sometimes, the best employees are the ones with the least accolades and experience.
2. Pay Attention to Body Language
In addition to paying attention to their answers, you also want to read their body language. Look for clues in arm movements, eye contact, gestures, and handshakes. You can tell a lot about how a person is feeling by their body language. You will be able to detect nervousness, confidence, eagerness, arrogance, or lack of interest.
3. Evaluate Their Attitude and Work Ethic
You want to choose someone who has a positive attitude and demonstrates passion and enthusiasm for the job. You also want to be on the lookout for someone who will work well with others and be a team player. Ask the candidate questions about how they have worked with others in the past, how they have handled obstacles, and how they handle heavy workloads or responsibilities. After all, a highly motivated and positive employee can be more beneficial than an experienced candidate with a poor attitude.
4. Ask Questions that Elicit Concrete Evidence
A huge part of the interview process involves asking the right questions. Anyone can give vague answers and say what they know you want to hear, so make sure you ask questions that require concrete evidence and examples. For example, instead of asking “What are your strengths?”, you should say “Tell me about a time when your skills have helped you successfully complete a project?” The first question calls for a vague answer while the second question calls for actual examples. You want to try to elicit concrete examples that demonstrate the candidate’s actual skills, knowledge, and talents.
5. Focus More on Accomplishments Than Experience
It takes more than just logging hours to be a qualified candidate. Just because someone has years of experience doesn’t necessarily mean they are right for the job. Instead, ask about specific accomplishments. You may find that another candidate has achieved more in less time than someone with years of experience.
6. Do More Than Ask Questions
It’s certainly important to ask a few questions and learn more about your candidates. However, it is also important to see how well a person can perform on the job rather than just telling you about it. For example, if you are hiring someone to answer phone calls, have them answer mock calls so you can assess their performance. If you are looking for a project manager, have them look at a current project and discuss their own suggestions.
7. Invite Them for a Casual Outing
Aside from a formal interview, it can be extremely helpful to see how someone interacts in a more casual and relaxed setting. If you really want to see how they will interact at a team outing, invite them to a casual team lunch or have a beer with them to get to know them a little better. You want to see how the person acts when they are not “on their best behavior” in a formal interview setting.