5 Top Tips to get the Right Candidate for the Job!

As we begin a new year, many employers are seeking fresh new employees to help them to recover and build their business.

As recruiters, we support our candidates to perform their best by briefing them on interview skills however, we also find that that a great candidate can have bad experiences at interview if the interviewer is not trained how to fairly assess his potential future hire.

Elaine Hardman, Director – Executive Search and Selection from Inspire Selection has devised some tips to help you to get the best out of your interviews whether virtually or in-real life! As we all know it’s a two-way street and the candidate is also appraising you as their potential new boss.

Know what you want

Most important is that you know what you want. That can be harder than you think. You have a job description and expectations, but is that really what you need? Take some time to review the job description and skills to make sure what you are interviewing for is what you need.


Make a list of questions that you think will bring out the best in the candidate (and wherever possible ask all candidates the same questions for equality). There are a range of different types of questions which you can ask, from closed/open through to competency style questions where you can dig a bit deeper into the candidates past experiences. See here for sample questions (and some great answers!)

The Candidate

Before you meet the candidate – find out all you can about them. If you have a CV, make sure you read it and make notes of what you would like to know. If you do not have a CV, use another tool such as LinkedIn or the candidates own webpage. It is common practice to google candidates prior to interview.

Do not talk too much

At the start, explain the format of the interview but then follow the 80/20 rule, ask questions to allow the interviewee to speak for 80% of the time. If you want more detail, ask additional questions, “sounds interesting”, “how did that make you feel?” “what was the outcome?”

Unconscious Bias (Horns and Halo effect)

Some people say they make up their mind in the first 2 minutes of meeting someone and tell if they’d be good or bad for the job. This can be because of the ‘Horns or Halo’ effect.

You can take an immediate liking to someone due to having a common interest, or a mutual friend or school connection – Halo effect. You may not like a candidate because they worked for a particular company that you do not like – Horns effect.

STOP and take a step back to make sure you are assessing the person fairly. Make sure you ask all the same questions to each candidate and assess their answers at the end of the day. This is a business decision, keep in mind the demands of the role.

Remember, above all, the interview is about the person you are talking to, not about you. It’s your job to reveal them, not to build them up or cut them down. If you need any help with your interview technique get in touch with your consultant at Inspire Selection.

Elaine Hardman, Director – Executive Search and Selection for Inspire Selection, has over 20 years experience in Executive Search and Recruitment. With an extensive network over the Higher Education sector globally, Elaine is well equipped to deal with Senior Search assignments, having placed many candidates across the Middle East, Europe and the UK.




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