Hire better people: How to find the right candidate for a job

15th February 2021
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An important issue for any business owner or hiring manager to consider is how to find and hire great employees. It’s easy to find people to interview, with one position often attracting hundreds if not thousands of applications — but how do you decide who will be the best fit?

In this guide, you’ll find interview tips and techniques for recruiting the best employees. We’ll cover:

  • How to find good candidates: what to do before the interview
  • 7 interview techniques to find and hire great employees

How to find good candidates: what to do before the interview

The first step is to decide what you need to look for in a job candidate. Learning about a candidate’s qualifications and experience on their CV can usually tell you whether they have picked up the right skills to do well in the position you’re advertising, particularly if it’s a high-level or managerial role that entails a lot of responsibility.

But to find the best of the best, don’t just focus on the most relevant skills. Looking at what else they can do can may help you decide whether or not they can bring something new to the role that you hadn’t considered before. They might even find new ways of doing the job that can save your company time and money.

In addition to demonstrating they have the skills to perform the tasks outlined in the advert, it’s crucial you assess whether a candidate has the soft skills to do well professionally. To make sure you’re doing this, I would recommend making a list of five qualities you believe to be the most desirable for the role and bringing this into the interview with you. These can include social skills, organisation, problem solving, and more, so it’s up to you to decide which are the most important for the kind of work they’ll be doing.

If you want to hire the best people for the job, two good things to include on your list are attitude and adaptability. These are particularly important if you are company with an emphasis on teamwork, or a new business that is likely to evolve. If a candidate is good at what the job entails but reluctant to perform ad-hoc duties, they might not be the best fit for your company. Similarly, it’s good to look for a candidate with ambition, but make sure they want to be an asset to your company rather than use you as a stepping stone.

7 interview techniques to help you find and hire great employees

Interviews provide a great opportunity to learn a lot about a potential employee in a short space of time. To help you get the most out of your interviews, here are seven techniques that will help you to find the perfect candidate for the job.

Adapt the environment

Firstly, you’ll want to adapt your interview to suit the tone of the job, and you can achieve this easily by choosing the right room to conduct your meeting in. Aside from ensuring quiet surroundings and privacy, you’ll also need to create a space that reflects the company culture and ethos. Think about what you have pinned to your walls and the décor you have chosen, as well as your attitude — is it formal, or relaxed? The right candidate will be able to match their tone to yours, ensuring you both start off on the right foot.

Learn about their past experience

Perhaps the most important task for you to perform during an interview is to get to the bottom of what they can do, so start with questions based on their job description. Situational “tell me about a time when…” questions are ideal for this, because it allows them to provide real life examples of how they’ve applied their knowledge and skills in the workplace. This allows them to demonstrate their value to you, and the answers they give will tell you a lot about how much they understand they role they are applying for.

Set tasks

Strongly consider giving candidates a task or project to complete that is similar to what they’ll do day-to-day at your company if they should get the role. For example, you could email them activities to complete ahead of time, which you can then discuss in the interview. Or, depending on the role, you could set them a series of short tasks to complete there and then.

Setting a task will provide evidence of the skills they claim to have on their CV in action, making it much easier to identify the standout candidates. Plus, you might discover someone who is isn’t adept at interviews but is genuinely brilliant at what they do, thus being the best candidate for the role.

Look for vulnerability

When asking about their experience, don’t just look for people who claim to be perfect. Admitting to past errors and explaining how they have learnt from them is a desirable quality to look for, because it shows growth, emotional maturity, and intelligence. You certainly don’t want to hire someone who can’t admit they’ve made a mistake.

Assess their personality

As well as asking about qualifications and experience, remember to include a few personality-based questions, and don’t neglect to discuss their hobbies and personal interests. You can tell a lot about a person by how they talk about their passions, and you might get more of a sense of what they’re like with their guard down. Plus, this is a great opportunity to consider how they’ll fit in with the rest of your employees and what their personality might bring to the table.

Get creative

Choosing the right candidate for the job can be tough. Sometimes, candidates can be equally impressive on paper and excel just as well when being interviewed, but you still have to make a decision between them. This is when it pays to be creative and throw in a curveball question — something appropriate and relevant, but you know they haven’t prepared for. By using this method, you can be confident that they aren’t just reeling off answers they’ve rehearsed but are more likely to be authentic.

Take them out of the room

You should also try taking interviewees out of the interview room — perhaps for lunch, or for a tour of the office. This way, you can see how they behave outside of the rigid interview structure. Introduce them to members of your team to see how they get on or speak to other people at the company they interacted with, such as reception staff, to get their initial thoughts. That way, if they make a good impression, you can be confident that not only will they be the best person for the job, but the best fit for your company too.

Now that you know how to hire better people, you can start the process of advertising your position and finding the right candidate for the job.

At Edward Reed Recruitment, we are experts at talent acquisition for commerce and industry and we provide a range of helpful services for candidates as well as clients. Are you looking for more advice to help you make the most of the interview process? Our blog is full of industry news for business owners, decision makers and hiring managers, as well as recruitment tips for jobseekers.

We’re confident that we can help you with all your recruitment needs, so get in touch with our team today.