6 Interview Secrets for Truly Learning a Candidate

August 3, 20159:08 am846 views

Nobody loves conducting job interviews. However, the stakes couldn’t be higher–you know how important it is to bring in the best possible people, especially to a small business. You likely also know from experience just how much damage the wrong hire can cause.

How do you cut through the facade every candidate presents to really learn whether he or she is a good fit? Here are six interview secrets for truly learning about a job candidate:

1. Kill the power dynamic

Why: You want them to be comfortable.

This is the single most important thing to do in an interview. You are on their side, not above them. You want them to succeed. This doesn’t mean you should make the interview easy, but making a candidate feel off-balance or belittled in order to gauge his or her reaction doesn’t help anyone.

Don’t forget, if this is a truly qualified candidate, he or she is evaluating you as well. Thus, respect the candidate’s time, and even more, respect the candidate as a person.”

2. Do not just ask questions, have an informal conversation

Why: To find out what they’d be like to have around.

Think of it as a trial run for what working together would be like. That is testing how well both of you work together. Do the creative sparks fly? Can we play off each other’s ideas?

See: Behavioral Interview Questions Employers Should Ask

3. Have the candidate map out a problem on a whiteboard

Why: To test both the right and left sides of the brain.

Ideally, the candidate will show creativity while working out the problem (right brain) and arrive at a workable answer (left brain). There are also ways to check out left brain/right brain abilities without a whiteboard. Come up with one or more big questions that will test both creative and problem-solving skills. If the candidate can’t answer during the interview, he may withhold the answer to give the person’s creativity a little more time to percolate.

Do they clam up? Do they just give up? If you are solving problems every day, which in theory every company is, you should be able to solve a problem in front of your boss–especially if the power dynamic has been killed.

4. Skip the outrageous questions

Why: They do not help.

This does not mean you should ask easy questions. However, you want to test the candidate’s creativity, but you do not want to make the candidate feel uncomfortable or dumb, and you don’t want to ask unanswerable questions that will require a complete bluff. It goes back to the power dynamic. Questions like these widen the gap and create an air of superiority.

5. Ask them to give a presentation

Why: You will learn about their preparedness and communication skills.

For some positions, this approach is much-needed. Keep the topic open-ended, usually inviting them to give a presentation on a topic of their choice. It shows how much they have prepared, how interested and invested they are.

You will also get to see how well the candidate communicates to a room full of people, which will give you a sense of his or her communication skills. Whether it is support dealing with customers or HR dealing with people in the company, everyone needs to be able to communicate well. It is too important to ignore.

6. Ask about their passions

Why: You want well-rounded, passionate employees.

Try to delve into candidates’ passions toward the end of an interview. The idea is to build a team with different points of view and experiences. Moreover, find people with patterns of accomplishment. They might have won awards, and they may have passions from high school or college that they left off their resume because they seemed unimportant or irrelevant for the interview. But a strong pattern of accomplishment is a really good sign–it is worth digging deeper to find out what drives and inspires your candidate. You would be amazed how many people do not include their passions on their resumes.

See also: Interview Mistakes That Scare Away Talent

Source: Inc

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