How to Properly Assess Candidates During the Interview Process
Evaluating candidates isn’t always easy, considering nearly three in four employers (74%) say they’ve hired the wrong person for a position.
When it comes to narrowing the field of potential hires, the in-person interview is your greatest asset as a recruiter or HR manager. The average job interview is 40 minutes long, giving you plenty of time to get to know these candidates before you make your final decision.
But are you asking the right questions during the interview process, or are you just recycling the same information listed on their resume? At the end of the interview process, many of these candidates may look exactly alike, forcing you to make a tough decision; but relying on your gut instincts isn’t the best recipe for success.
Use these candidate assessment tips during the interview process to make sure you’re hiring with purpose.
How to Assess Your Candidates
There are three main areas that you should focus on when evaluating candidates:
1. Skills and Experience
You need to get a sense of whether this person can meet the essential duties and responsibilities of the position at hand. When asking about their skills and experience, look for specific details in their answers, such as what programs they have used, what their process looked like, and how they overcame certain challenges related to the position.
Just about any candidate can simply rehash the information on their resume, but the in-person interview is about teasing out the details. Ask for concrete examples of how they’ve handled themselves on the job and compare these stories against their portfolio to get a better sense of the results.
2. Salary and Compensation
You need to make sure you and your chosen candidate are on the same page when it comes to compensation, benefits, and even the work schedule. A certain salary may sound great in theory, but if you’re asking your employees to work 60 plus hours a week, all that money may not be enough to retain these candidates over the long-term.
Ask your candidates what they’re looking to get out of the job beyond just dollars and cents. Are they looking to grow with the company and sharpen their skills or are they just looking for a paycheck?
3. Culture Fit
84% of recruiters agree that cultural fit is one of the most important recruitment factors.
But, as the recruiter or HR manager, it’s up to you to define your organization’s corporate culture so you can find the right person for the job. Before you begin the interview process, make sure you and your colleagues have a solid idea of what kinds of traits you’re looking for in a candidate.
Focus on work habits and mental outlook when evaluating candidates based on culture fit, not how they dress or what school they went to. At the end of the day, it’s about completing the work, not whether these candidates travel in the same social circles as you and your colleagues.
Ask questions such as:
- What do you value most in an employer?
- What skills or traits do you look for in a teammate or colleague?
- How have you helped your coworkers in the past?
Assessing a Candidate’s Past Job Performance
One of the trickiest aspects of the interview process is assessing a candidate’s past job performance. Calling up their references can help shed light on the situation, but past employers may not always have the answers you’re looking for.
When looking at a candidate’s resume, ask about why they left their previous position. If the answer has to do with compensation, the candidate may not be as loyal to your organization as you might’ve hoped. There will always be another company willing to pay them more, so they may not stick around for the long haul.
Ask the candidate to rate their previous performance from a scale from 1 to 5. This will give you more insight into how these candidates see themselves. If they choose 5, there’s no room for them to grow. But a 3 or below shows they don’t value themselves.
Ask them how they could have improved their performance in previous roles and whether they received regular feedback on their performance. Did they seek this feedback out themselves or were they constantly growing on their own? This tells you whether the candidate owns their performance or if they were overly dependent on their managers for direction and feedback.
Does the Candidate Live Up to Your Expectations?
Finally, you need to ask yourself if the candidate lived up to his or her profile. Candidates may appear differently on paper than they do in person. A professional resume does not always lead to a professional candidate.
85% of job applicants lie on resumes, and this number keeps rising as the job market gets more competitive, so be on the lookout for inaccuracies, omissions, and other red flags when comparing candidates to their resumes and social media profiles.
The ideal candidate should be able to bring their resume to life, adding new, relevant information along the way, thus exceeding your expectations by the end of the interview. It’s easy to lie on a resume, but less so in person. Don’t assume everything on the person’s resume is true.
Avoid these mishaps when evaluating candidates during the interview process. Finding the right person for the job isn’t just about your instincts or how the candidate makes you feel. It should be about specifics and concrete information.
For more candidate evaluation tips, sign up for a talent acquisition conference today!