4 Things You Should Know About Interviewing Job Candidates

When you are interviewing job candidates, it's important to remember it's a two-sided process and that you are being judged too. So, are you prepared? And do you know what to expect? Check out this blog post for some great tips.

June 20, 2023

If you want to find the best employees for your business, you have to do more than just show up to the job interview and hope for the best.

While the emphasis is firmly on the candidate, it’s still essential to understand the processes and thoughts most candidates will experience before they first shake hands with you.

By doing this, you can adjust and align your interview questions and structure to ensure you learn the most you possibly can about a candidate.

Using the latest research and my years of industry experience, here are four important factors you need to know about a candidate before conducting an interview.

1. They’ll be nervous

As you can imagine, candidates will feel the need to make an impression, which naturally brings on a lot of stress and nerves.

Although there’s nothing you can directly do in person to help with this prior to the interview, you can give them the necessary information to make things a little easier.

For instance, get someone from HR or the recruitment agency to send them an informal email letting them know what they can expect in the interview. This way, they can prepare for it mentally and even physically.

Try including:

  • Dress code
  • The structure of the interview – including how long they expect it to take
  • Directions on how to get to your business

It’s also important to keep this in mind during the interview as well. At the end of the day, you want to find out whether a candidate is culturally a good fit for you. So asking a few light-hearted questions can make them feel more at ease.

To give you an idea on how to get a candidate relaxed, check out our previous post: ‘8 Interview Questions to Lighten the Mood’.

2. They should do their research

Similarly to my previous point, candidates will often be too nervous to stray away from the regimented set questions and answers they have programmed into their heads.

Be prepared, because a large majority of candidates will be. They’ll no doubt know about what your business does, plus the tasks and skills required in the particular role.

With this in mind, you should try giving standard interview questions a miss. Mix it up, put them on the spot, make them smile.

This way, you’ll start to get a more honest and trustworthy account of the candidate. You already know what your business does and which skills of theirs match the position. So use the interview opportunity to discover different elements about the candidate.

If you’re unsure about which questions you should avoid, take a look at our video: ‘8 Cliché Interview Questions We Should Stop Asking (+16 Alternatives)’.

3. They might be lying to you

According to figures, 50% of job seekers admit to lying on their CV. Therefore, you need to find out who they are and why they decided to embellish the truth.

Tweaking employment dates is a very common example, as candidates don’t want any strange gaps in between employment. To address this, you can either ask them on the spot how long they were with their previous employer for or simply wait to do reference checks further down the line.

Further research also found that 20% of candidates lie about education on their CV as well. If this is an important factor, try asking them to provide certificates. Although this could slow down your recruitment process.

One of the biggest lies you’ll come across with candidates is their skill set. To be precise, 57% of them will exaggerate their capabilities. For a practical solution, carry out a skills test during the interview to see how they cope. Alternatively, ask their references to clarify the facts.

If you do choose to investigate the candidate during the interview, make sure you do it discretely to avoid awkward moments. Instead, pay close attention to their facial expressions and mannerisms while they answer.

It’s important to find an honest employee who is committed to bringing the right skill set and dedication to the role.

4. They will be analysing you

What a lot of employers don’t always realise, is that filling a position is a bit like dating. While you may have the power to hire, the candidate also has the opportunity to decline, so you need to match! It’s something which needs great attention to detail.

For example, a report from Monster found that 58% of candidates would turn down a position if the level of “banter” wasn’t very good.

Naturally, this revelation only becomes relevant during the interview stage. However, this idea of banter all stems from the tone of the job description. Have you tried to come across as a vibrant and forward-thinking company? Or are you literally listing the facts of the job?

You can find out more about how to get the tone/content right in our previous post: ‘8 Ways to Boost Your Online Job Advert’s Reach’.

A long-term element to consider is tweaking the look and feel of your business’ brand itself. When a candidate is doing their research, they will visit your website, social media pages and even look at reviews on Glassdoor.

That’s why it’s vitally important to get them excited for the role ahead. Improve the way you communicate and how you are perceived before the interview, and your candidate will turn up to the interview with open arms. (Well, not quite.)

Wrapping up

Understanding the mindset and behaviours of a candidate can really give you an advantage going into an interview.

The underlining point is to use these pieces of advice and actively adjust your recruitment process to suit.

If you do this, you should start to find it a lot less stressful to carry out interviews and easier to find the perfect candidate. Just remember to track the progress of each recruitment push so that you can see what worked well and what needs working on.

For more recruitment tips and tricks, subscribe to our blog today.

Good luck!

Coburg Banks - Multi-Sector Recruitment Agency
We help great people get brilliant jobs in top companies.