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How to differentiate between the perfect candidate and someone who’s simply good at interviews

Alejandro Coca - True Profile

The current economic climate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that for those organisations looking to hire currently, it’s never been more important to ensure the perfect candidate is found, adding value to the business as well as fitting in culturally.

We all know that the recruitment process can be laborious, but as Jeff Bezos once said, “I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.’’ The interview environment, in most roles, is a million miles away from what the day-to-day job will look like so it’s important you’re not dazzled by a candidate who shines in an interview but isn’t a great fit for the role.

With this in mind, here are a few things that should now be kept in mind during the interview process:

Make a Wishlist 

Before you even write the job description or review any CVs, make a list of skills, attributes and qualifications that are essential for a new employee to have in order to fulfill the role. Make sure you include attributes that relate to your company culture, to ensure the new hire integrates quickly into the team.

You can create a separate ‘non-essential’ list for qualities which would be favourable for an applicant to have but are not a necessity. If you find a number of applicants who fulfill the first list, the secondary list will help you to stay focused on finding the right candidate from your shortlist.

Put their skills to the test 

It’s all well and good if a candidate can tell you about their skills on paper or in an interview, but a pre-employment assessment really puts these to the test. Ensure that an applicant’s practical skills are tested in the form of an exam, mini-project or demonstration. This should be done after the initial interview stage and before they proceed to the next stage in the hiring process.

Talk to them outside of the interview environment

While some candidates shine in the interview environment, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best fit. The perfect candidate may be someone who struggles under the stare of the HR team, but interacts really well with their immediate colleagues. Have someone else give them an office tour or even grab a coffee to find out more about the team they would be working in. This will give you a better understanding of what a candidate would be like in the ‘real world’ working environment.

Do your due diligence 

Once you’ve whittled down your shortlist and you’re confident in your final choice, it’s time to verify that they are who they say they are. Verify their professional credentials such as degree certificates, references, good standing certificates and professional licenses to mitigate risk for your company, employees and customers.

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