Updated: Dec 20, 2019
by Jocelyn Pick, PhD
A hiring manager usually has a 60-minute interview to decide if a candidate will be a good fit for a company. For the interviewee that can feel like a lifetime, but for the interviewer, it usually isn’t long enough. By the time you reach the interview stage, you’ve narrowed your choices significantly and there is often very little separating the candidates. Here are a few ways to make finding the right fit a little easier.
Know what you need
Before you can decide if a candidate is a good fit, you need to know what you’re looking for. Not only in terms of skills and experience but also personality traits. If you haven’t identified what you’re looking for, you won’t be able to spot it when you see it. Writing out a clear job description will help you define what you need and make it easier to recognize a candidate that will enhance the company dynamic.
Use personality profile assessments
It is important to use personality profiling assessments to effectively narrow down your candidates by exposing deeper, often hidden, traits that are easy to miss in an interview. When used correctly, personality profile assessments tests enable you to determine if an applicant will be a good fit for your company.
Ask the right questions
This seems obvious until you think about it a bit more. Ask questions that force candidates to demonstrate their skills, rather than just describe them. If the job requires close attention to detail, show them a picture and ask them to identify certain elements. The same applies to when you talk to a candidate’s references. Don’t just ask the standard questions, also include ones that give insight into their personality and values.
Find out what matters to them
Knowing what is important to a person will give you a clear indication of their values. Asking value-based questions, with no right or wrong answers, can help you decide if a candidate has the right personality for the position.
Change the script
It is easy for a candidate to prepare for an interview if they know what the questions will be. Obviously, there are certain areas that needed to be covered but it is also essential to throw in a few surprises. Ask unexpected questions to gain insight into a candidate’s thought processes, and to give them the opportunity to demonstrate how they think on their feet.
Watch the body language
Body language is as insightful as words. Observing a candidate’s reactions to certain questions can tell you a lot about them. Take note of the questions that excite them and the ones that make them uneasy.
When looking for an employee who will be a good fit, it is important to consider cultural add. Focusing exclusively on cultural fit, and ignoring cultural add, can lead to stagnation in the workplace. When judging a candidate you need to look deeper than your company culture, you also need to assess what they bring to the table. New ideas and innovation are often driven by cultural add.
Never ignore your instincts
If you’ve correctly identified what you’re looking for in a candidate, then you need to trust your instincts when you make your choice. If you don’t feel that a candidate is a good fit, then explore the reasons for your apprehension and if they are valid, then go with your gut.
Hiring a new employee can be stressful. You’re not just employing them to do a job, you’re also inviting them to be a part of your team. It is important to take the time and make the effort to find the right fit.