3 ways to really understand your candidate in an interview

Interview with a real voice

Interviewers often use a set script of questions hoping to create uniformity across candidates and comfort in conducting the interview. This approach will certainly be easy to run with. However, the downside is that it stifles real conversation, which leads to real insights that may help you to understand more about the candidate.

So be real, be authentic, give a little of yourself. This will give you every chance of actually having a conversation and getting beyond the set question and answer format. Your aim should be to learn as much as you can about the real person.

Share your vulnerabilities and those of your organisations

If you really want to see how a candidate may react to the actual challenges you are facing then be honest, share a little bit about the types of challenges you are facing right now. This is a much a better test of a candidates ability to actually perform in your organisation than reading through a set of generic questions that they will be expecting and will certainly have prepared set answers for. Think about this for a moment, have you interviewed someone for an hour and at the end of it felt like you really knew nothing about him or her. It may be better to actually share your challenges and see how they might respond.

The further you move away from reality and start asking hypothetical questions such as ‘tell me a time when you had to do x’ the further you get from actually understanding how a candidate may actually help you with your challenges today.

Be very specific with your questions

Try to avoid asking broad generic questions these only lead to broad non-specific answers. Even worse they lead to ‘prepared answers’. Lets be honest, most senior candidates by now are well aware of the pool of questions often used at interview. They know them because it is likely they have used them when interviewing.

Alternatively, take the time to craft questions that are specific to your organisation and your particular opportunities and challenges. This will do two things. First, it will help you see who has actually researched your organisation and really understands where you are at. And two, it will test who actually has the approach and solutions you are looking for.

If you have any questions about recruiting please contact me paul@paulgreening.com

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