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Interview Tips to Make the Right Hire

After sorting through dozens of applications and resumes, you’ve assembled a shortlist of qualified candidates for an open position within your company. The stakes are high — the candidates want the job and you want to hire the right person as efficiently as possible.

Getting to this point was tricky and time-consuming and the last thing you want is to make a bad hire and have to start all over again.

How can you know when the candidate is right? Here’s some advice to help get the right candidate to rise to the occasion during the interview process:

Prepare for the interview.

Candidates are always encouraged to do their research before an interview in order to impress the person they meet with. You should do the same! Be sure you understand the job for which they’re interviewing and have some questions ready about the skills needed for the job and the candidate’s comfort level with those tasks. Create a kind of wish list for the position of the kinds of talents, abilities and knowledge an ideal candidate would have and write some questions that will help discern whether each candidate meets that level.

Read their resume and find common ground.

Making a connection with a candidate helps break the ice and alleviate some of the stress of the interview scenario. The right opening question can make or break the tone of the conversation. Learn what you can about each candidate’s background, their work experience and skills and the information on their resume that helps set them apart. Find something you might have in common, or something that might appear unusual or interesting in their background and start with a question about it.

Stick to the script — mostly.

Each candidate will have something different about them and, ideally, will offer slightly different answers and perspectives on how they got to this moment. But be sure to ask them the same questions, in the same order, in order to get a feel for the differences and the strengths they present. You’ll have a baseline by which to compare the candidates, their answers and the way they handle the questions and pressure of the moment.

Introduce them to the team.

It’s important to hire someone who will get along well with the people already in your office. Walk them around, introduce them to their would-be coworkers. Find an excuse, if you can, to leave them with some people for a few minutes — maybe an urgent call, something that takes just a little bit of time but allows them to talk. Or incorporate some members of the team into the interview as part of a conversation on the job and what it entails. You’ll get feedback from your existing colleagues on the person, the impression they have of the candidate and who felt like the best “fit” for your group.

Ask about their skills and a typical day.

Find out what their current job is like and ask what they like about it. This isn’t a trick question but rather an opportunity for the candidate to talk about things they like, knowing full well they’re not happy enough in their current position to stay there. If they are mostly happy where they are but feel like there’s not enough room for advancement, that will come through — they’ll respond to these questions with positive terminology and energy compared to someone who’s looking to leave a bad situation. Someone looking to job hop won’t necessarily have in-depth answers; someone with ambition will be able to discuss how what they’ve learned on the job applies to the position they’re looking to obtain and will match their skills to the job description.


Need to add talent to your team? Sterling Personnel can help find the right person.

Qualified candidates are tricky to find; determining the right candidate from an already narrow list can feel daunting. Take your time, prepare your questions carefully and listen intently to what is said and unsaid in each interview and you’ll find your new hire with confidence!

Sterling Personnel is ready to help you add to your team! Contact us and we can put you in touch with exactly the kind of candidates you’re looking for. Let’s get to work!