Steve Jobs once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Whether you’re a business owner, professional or even a lower-level employee, chances are you might be asked to sit in on a job interview for the company.
Sorting through applicants can often feel overwhelming—maybe even downright impossible. This person has a lot of experience, but didn’t shine in their interview. That person might not have much experience, but did a great job on their practice project. How do you decide which person to bring on the team? Fortunately, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Here’s how to find the right candidate for a job.
The first sign of a great candidate is whether or not they did their research on both the company and the position before coming to the interview. There’s nothing worse than a candidate who walks into the interview without any knowledge of what they’re actually applying for. Glassdoor says, “Informed candidates—those who have done their research on your company and the position in advance—make for high-quality hires.” Gauge whether or not the client has done their research by asking specific questions on culture, products or services.
Another measure of a candidate’s preparedness is the questions they ask. Good questions demonstrate an applicant who took the time to think through the interview, evaluate the company and is genuinely excited about the position. Give them an opportunity to ask their questions, then consider their responses to your answers. Great interview questions can even tell you about how a candidate thinks and whether they will be able to adjust quickly while working in the position.
Of course, it’s not just about what the applicant says; it’s about how they say it. The ideal candidate should be as interested in the company as the company is in them. They should have an apparent enthusiasm and excitement about the position itself. If you can sense their interest in their body language, voice and demeanor throughout the interview, that’s a great sign. Enthusiasm often indicates the applicant will stick with the position and the company for the long haul, rather than someone who just wants a job to get by.
Obviously, you want to understand a candidate’s strengths during the interview process. However, it’s just as vital for an applicant to recognize their weaknesses. Recruiters often talk about the “perfect” candidate, but the truth is, every applicant has flaws. The question remains: Will the candidate share their weaknesses honestly? A great applicant will discuss their flaws openly, then spin them back toward how they will overcome those flaws, work through them or turn them into strengths.
Some companies include a sample project during the interview process for candidates to complete and present before the interviewers. While this might not be possible at every business, it is a good idea to set a scenario for the applicant and see how they work through it. Present a proposed problem, project or issue for them to consider, and ask what their response would be. This gives you great insight into a candidate’s approach to the job, regardless of whether or not he or she has experience.
Deciding who to hire can be an incredibly difficult and overwhelming process. However, there are a few ways to wade through the interviews. If you’re in a position to hire, keep these tips in mind to find the right candidate for the job and build the best team possible.