How to find the right candidate at an interview

Interviewing is tough. You have around 60 minutes to delve into a candidate’s background and experience, and that’s supposed to be enough to determine whether they are a long-term fit for your business. So how do you make the most of the interview to identify the right candidate? Here are our top tips for uncovering real insights to improve hiring decisions. 

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Before you go into an interview, you should deeply understand what the role requires beyond the job responsibilities. What characteristics, skills and capabilities will enable someone to thrive? If you have team members who do or have a similar role, chat with them about what is required to succeed. By understanding the skills and traits required to thrive, you can structure targeted questions that uncover insights into the areas that will actually make a difference.

Tone down the formality 

Boardroom panel interviews are still helpful, particularly for senior executive roles, but they create an unnatural environment. More casual interviews structured as a two-way chat over coffee can be helpful in many roles, particularly when it comes to determining cultural fit. It will invite more flowing conversation and allow you to gain insights beyond rehearsed answers to structured questions.

Change up the questions! 

Traditional behavioural or STAR questions remain essential, but you’ll get additional value from the interview when you change things up a little. Going beyond the questions asked at every interview will give you new insights into the candidate and help you assess what you can’t determine from a resume. Some additional questions to consider include:

  • How do you handle failure? Failure is part of life and work. Through this question, you can assess resilience, interpret a candidate’s self-perception and understand how they learn from their mistakes. 
  • If you could master one skill that you don’t have right now, what would it be? The answer to this question speaks volumes about the candidate’s ambition, self-perception and future planning. It also helps you gauge their self-awareness and willingness to learn and grow.
  • What would you do in the office if the internet went down for the day? In today’s digital world, this question is particularly insightful. It speaks to a candidate’s adaptability, inventiveness and problem-solving skills.
  • What inspired you today? This question focuses on values, enthusiasm and curiosity. What motivates and inspires people can reveal much about their values and passions. Simple yet thought-provoking, this question helps gauge a candidate’s capability to draw inspiration from everyday occurrences – and think on their feet.
  • Can you describe a work environment where you feel most successful and inspired? The answer to this question should uncover vital cultural insights, from how the candidate likes to be managed to their level of collaboration with other team members. You can then make a direct correlation between your environment and where the candidate will thrive. It’s also a good opening question to move on to describing your own culture. 

Offer realistic insights into the everyday 

Giving candidates a realistic job preview, such as detailing a typical workday or explaining the working environment, can provoke responses that illuminate cultural fit. The candidate’s reactions and feedback can provide valuable insights into possible alignment with your culture. 

Involve team members in the interview process 

Involving different team members in the interview process is a great way to gauge a candidate’s cultural fit. Each team member can provide unique insights and perspectives, contributing to a more holistic assessment for both you and the candidate. And, at the end of the day, team members need to have a positive dynamic, so if the people who will work with the candidate say no, it’s likely the right decision. 

Listen to your gut

While it’s important to structure your interview process effectively, don’t forget the importance of intuition. Generally, our instincts are good at picking up on red flags, so if something doesn’t feel quite right, don’t completely ignore it. 

Want more from your recruitment? Have a chat with the team at Lloyd Connect. We’re an agency with purpose, connecting great people with great employers (and we’re good at it!). So, if you want the right candidate the first time, we’re the people to help you find them.   

About the Author
Picture of Jenny Lloyd

Jenny Lloyd

Founder/Director of Connections
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