The Top 5: Tips for Spotting Strong Job Candidates
Tips from the trenches to keep your copier career on track
Spotting Strong Candidates During Interviews
In today’s evolving business environment, finding a good hire is more important than ever. The hiring process is something of a passion for everyone at Copier Careers®. Our recruiters screen thousands of applicants, coach our candidates through their interviews and advise our clients to help them find the right fit and grow their business. Here are few strategies for sorting the exceptional from the okay to downright disastrous candidates:
- Look to the past. An applicant with insufficient experience or a history of job hopping every 1-2 years is unlikely to even get an interview but once you have a candidate on the phone or face-to-face, don’t assume their resume had everything you need to know about this person. Questions about their personal and professional history give you an idea of their passions and motivations. This helps you determine if their life/career goals are compatible with your plan for the position and the company as a whole. It also helps you feel out their level of ambition – do they have career drive or are they passively drifting? After the interview, don’t forget to verify their story – call those references!
- Focus on potential. Once you have a general sense of where they come from and where they wish to go, it’s time to narrow in on their specific capabilities. Remember, however, that you are not hiring a bundle of skills but a person with the ability to grow and improve. If a candidate doesn’t meet every single experience requirement but does have a demonstrated ability to learn, don’t take them out of the running. Say you hire a person with all the experience you need right now but they display little motivation or desire to learn – this employee won’t adapt the next time your business changes. And the only constant in business these days is change, itself. Focus instead on finding a candidate who is teachable, adaptable, and motivated to excel.
- Think about the team. Nearly every applicant will claim to be a team player as a matter of course but don’t underestimate the importance of verifying this “soft skill.” Hiring for solid social skills in not only important for customer service but also for retaining your current employees. Bringing in a disruptive, toxic person can drive your people to seek employment elsewhere. Pay attention to a candidate’s attitudes and behavior – how do they treat the front desk staff, how do they talk about their former coworkers/employers, can they discuss past collaborative achievements? Ask yourself, is this someone I’d want to sit next to every day? If you’re on the fence, introduce the candidate to some of your employees and ask for their opinions later. Or you might consider taking the candidate out to lunch with a few trusted employees and see how well everyone gets along.
- Ask about their past mistakes. Your employees will all make mistakes. Unfortunate but true. So it’s important to hire someone who knows how to handle a crisis – when and how did they realize their error, how did they address the problem, what did they learn from the situation and how did they ensure it wouldn’t be repeated? We cannot emphasize how important these questions are! It tells you about their critical thinking, observation skills, communication skills, problem-solving ability, and foresight. It can also help you weed out applicants who are likely to cover up mistakes at any cost. Keep in mind that this question can feel like a trap to applicants so you may want to give a brief example from your own experience to put them at ease.
- Have them interview you. You can learn a lot about a person by the questions they ask. Their questions can give you a window into how they think, how they process information and where their focus or interests lie. If they ask very basic questions about your company and services then you can be fairly certain they didn’t do their research before the interview. Thoughtful, intelligent questions about job specifics, on the other hand, can confirm their knowledge or experience in their field. This question session also allows an applicant to bring any concerns to your attention and gives you a chance to address them – remember that you are also trying to sell them on the benefits of working for your company.