It is in your interest to get the best out of the candidate at interview, so that you can accurately understand their capabilities, but to also see whether they will be a good cultural fit. Nervous, under pressure interviewees will not project themselves in their best light, leaving you unsure as to their true ability and personal suitability to the culture of the team. That does not stop you from throwing in some tough questions towards the end of the interview.
Attributes Of Top-Quality Candidates
Smart presentation: quality candidates will be presentable, smartly dressed and well groomed.
Confident body language: ideally, a quality candidate will stand to shake your hand, remember your name and look you in the eye when addressing you. They will speak confidently and fluently when answering questions and will appear calm. However, if the candidate is not behaving this way or showing signs of nervousness this is not a call to rule them out immediately.
Consider how important 'people skills' and 'acting calm under pressure' are to the role, and whether the candidate's behaviour in the interview meets the expectations for the role.
Knowledge of company: superior candidates will have done their research on your company and on the position. They will know where your organisation stands in the industry, its business goals and how they – if placed in the role – would contribute to achieving them.
Relevant skills and experience: this you will already know from their CV, but now is the time to ask them to elaborate on just how relevant their skills and experience are to the role. A good candidate will not only tell you how well their qualities are matched to the position, but will be able to provide examples and evidence of results achieved that demonstrate their successes and suitability.
Emphasise their fit for the job: some candidates will stress how well the position fits with their career goals and their life – which is great for them, but that's not your main concern. A good candidate will talk about how they fit the role, what they will bring to the organisation and what results they can achieve for you.
Doesn't speak negatively of past or present employers: quality candidates will turn negative experiences with past employers into positive ones by speaking about them in terms of what they learned and how they will apply this knowledge in the future.
Answers questions directly: valuable candidates will answer your questions directly and concisely.
Positive references: checking your candidate's references is the icing on the cake of your interview process. Ideally the referee has worked one or two levels above the candidate, and will give a positive report. Be wary if referees refrain from commenting as this may indicate negative performance.