Seeing the Qualities You Can't Define in a Candidate

Gina Deveney
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When you're interviewing job candidates, it's important that you match applicants' job skills with the requirements of the position. However, to ensure that an applicant is a good fit for your company, it's also important to consider each candidate's personality when you're conducting an interview. This isn't always easy; most job applicants walk into an interview ready to emphasize their job skills. So how do you get past the information on a candidate's resume and get to know the real person?

The process of finding good job candidates starts with your written job description. Generally, this description includes factors such as technical skills and educational experience. But if you're looking for more than that in an employee, you need to go beyond the basics. Take the time to determine what qualities you want your new employees to have. To do this, consider the type of work atmosphere you're trying to build, the type of people you want to surround yourself with, and the type of people that will get you the results that you want. Once you determine exactly what you're looking for, it's easier to find a person who's a good fit for your company.

Instead of writing a traditional job posting, write your posting in a way that tells job candidates what problem they will be solving for you. There is a reason you're hiring a new employee. Your new hire will fill a void in your company. Writing a detail-oriented job posting that explains the void the new employee will fill is a great way to relay exactly what you're looking for.

According to J.T. O'Donnell, founder and CEO of CareerHMO, resumes aren't useful when you're evaluating job candidates. Instead, O'Donnell asks potential employees to reply to her job posting, telling her what they know about her business and industry, how they learned what her company does is important to its clients, and their favorite aspect of her business, including why it's their favorite. Additionally, she asks for the links to their Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, and Twitter profiles. This process not only gives you better insight into the candidate before you schedule an interview but also helps you weed out people quickly. For example, if someone replies with a resume and cover letter, the applicant can be eliminated immediately for not following directions well. Also, because the job candidates will have to research your company and write essay-like answers to each question, lazy people won't bother to apply.

When you're conducting interviews, make the interview a conversation instead of an examination. Most job applicants know how to answer common interview questions, so a question-and-answer session doesn't allow you to see the real person. Instead, choose a few questions that give you a good idea of the type of person the applicant is, listen to the answers carefully, and when something grabs your attention, have the applicant elaborate on it. Human resources professionals who are comfortable going off script during an interview have an easier time picking up on important attributes.

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect candidate. Everyone has flaws. However, asking the right questions and taking the time to get to know job candidates allows you to find a person who is qualified for the job and will work well with your current employees.

(Photo courtesy of ambro /


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