5 Creative Ways to Assess Your Prospective Hires

“Tell me about yourself.” “Can you run us through your work history?” “What makes you a good fit for the position?”

You’ve probably asked these questions a lot of times, possibly even in all of your candidate interviews. But were you able to find out more about the candidate than what’s written on his resume? Ideally, the interview is a way for you to assess how he would fit in your company culture, and how he would handle potential setbacks or achievements.

Going through traditional interview tactics can still get the job done. But remember that an interview is a way for you to get to know your prospective hires on a deeper, more personal level. Here are a few ways to change up your routine:

1. Ask the Hypothetical CEO question

During interviews candidates tend to be more open than usual, so it’s a chance for you to ask difficult or extreme questions. The hypothetical CEO question – “what would you do differently if you ran the company?” – is a good way to assess your candidate’s vision and potential leadership skills.  After all, the ability to see the big picture and to plan for the future are key assets in future leaders.

This question also reveals how much your candidate knows about the company. If they give a comprehensive and detailed answer, this only means that they did their homework. Who knows, you might just find the next addition to your management team.

A variation on the CEO question is throwing them a curveball and asking about something controversial or wrong that your company has done. A candidate who gives candid and constructive feedback has the makings of a good hire.

2. Let Body Language Do the Talking

Interviewers tend to focus on the “what” that they forget about the “how.” Make a mental note to focus on your candidate’s body language, and how they answer your questions. Alison Craig, a noted image consultant says that the body – and body language— is a more accurate indicator than the answers that your candidates give.

A candidate with a good posture who can talk easily about past achievements tends to be a confident high-performer. Do they look at you straight in the eye? Do they shake your hands firmly? Do they enunciate their answers clearly? These are all positive body-language indicators of a star candidate.

3. Notice the Choice of Verbs and Pronouns

Did you know that high performing candidates use 60% more first person pronouns than their low-performing counterparts?  High performers use “I” or “We” more often because  they have more achievements and experiences to draw from.  Low performers don’t have the same advantages, so they’re more likely to give hypothetical answers phrased in the second or third person. Next time, try to distinguish between the candidate that says “I was instrumental in generating 20% more sales leads” and “You can have more sales by implementing these strategies.”

Another strategy is to notice usage of present or past verbs. Choice of verbs is a good social cue of how your prospective candidates will perform. Candidates who talk in the past tense have a wealth of experience to draw from, while weak performers tend to draw on abstract accomplishments that they have yet to achieve.

4. Observe how candidates interact with non-interviewers

How your candidates relate to people is an important aspect to assess before making your hiring decision. A tried and tested strategy to measure this is to observe how they interact with non-interviewers. Candidates will put their best foot forward during interviews, so it’s key to note how they act outside of it.

Were they polite to the secretary who ushered them in? Did they exchange pleasantries with fellow candidates? Did they say “thank you” when they were offered a glass of water? Try to observe these social cues to figure out if the sunny personality they presented during the interview is consistent with their real persona. After all, no one wants to hire someone who’d disrupt your company culture.

5. Ask about Passions

Did you know that  47% of those who shift jobs chose their new company, because they perceived it to be more aligned with their skills and interests? So if you’re looking for someone who will stay and be successful in the long-run, make sure that the role jives with their passions.

If an applicant is passionate about social causes, then it might be good to let them know about the company’s various CSR initiatives. If he’s into traveling or sports, talking about your cross-country workshops or the achievements of your basketball team might be a good idea. Finding out what your candidate’s passions are will give you a good idea, if the role and the company will be able to motivate them enough.

The end-goal is always to find the best person for the role. And this means going beyond the usual get-to-know-you interview questions. Get creative. Try bringing out interesting responses.

Do you have other creative interview assessment tips? Share it in the comments below.

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About the Author: Jessica Simmons

Jessica manages content at LeadsPanda. When she is not improving content, Jessica enjoys spending time with family, friends and hiking with her dogs.

One Comment

  1. Ellie Davis November 18, 2019 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    I liked that you mentioned you need to consider going beyond the usual get-to-know-you interview questions to find the best prospect. My husband’s company is growing, and we are looking for advice to help him hire more people. I will let him know about your recommendations to hire the best candidates for his company.

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