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Finding Your Perfect Candidate

interview tips

Good help is hard to find. No matter what kind of business you run, the right employees don't just fall from the sky and into your interview room; it takes work to find the perfect applicant for the job. It's easy enough to sound good on paper, but how do you know that you're hiring the right person for the job? What can you, as the business owner, do to ensure that you're not just hiring Joe Schmo off the street and are getting someone who is the perfect fit?

Try An Alternative to Traditional Interviewing

Some people are really great at interviews: They know exactly what buzzwords to include, a sense of humor to make the interviewer laugh and all the right answers to the standard questions. But once you get them into the field and see how their work ethic is, you realize that they are only that: A great interviewer. If you've fallen down this rabbit hole before and are tired of getting people who oversell themselves only to be lackluster workers, maybe you need to change up your interview process.


A semi-structured interview is great for round-table group discussions. Typically more than one person is conducting the interview in these situations and asking the applicant different questions. These aren't just questions like "Can you work weekends and holidays?", they're usually open-ended questions asking about how they handle difficult situations and what they would do in various circumstances.


A Microsoft technique to interviewing is to put the applicant into a real-world work situation and see how they do. For example, if you were trying to find the right fit for a PC technician and wanted to see how they problem-solve, give them a piece of broken equipment and see how they approach it. Seeing how someone reacts in a tough situation is more insightful than you might realize.

Group Interviews

If you have a ton of great resumes and lots of potential interviews, one way to handle it is to interview several people at once. It's important to inform all candidates that they're being interviewed as a group, since this can throw some people off and they need to mentally prepare. Have a list of questions ready with your co-interviewers and practice ahead of time so that you all know your cues. Take turns asking all candidates the questions and gauge how they respond in a group setting. If your business is a team-based workplace then their answers can be more significant than if they were being interviewed solo.

Understand The Applicant's End Goal

You want to pick someone who will be a good fit in all ways, and that includes what goals they hope to achieve in the future. No two people have the exact same walk of life, and your job posting might mean something different to every applicant. 

  • Where does the candidate want to be in the next five years? Do they want to move up in the company or is their current position going to be enough to satisfy them?
  • Is this a career or a job to them? Though they are similar, these are two extremely different concepts in most people's minds. A job is disposable, but a career is your "big kid job" that you take seriously and want to grow in.
  • Would this job be a stepping stone to another job? That is, do you get the impression that you will lose this person the moment that something else comes along?

Some jobs are a better fit than others, but you want to be on the same page as your candidate when you figure this out. Understand where this person's head is as far as their goals and aspirations when you're trying to determine whether or not they'd work well at your company.

Trust Your Gut

Call it a sixth sense if you will, but if you're getting a bad vibe from somebody then there's a reason. They might have a perfect resume and have a seemingly flawless job record, but something's not quite right. Perhaps the way that they answered a question during the interview left a bad taste in your mouth, or you simply felt uncomfortable in their presence. Whatever the weirdness, you aren't just being paranoid. If someone is making you feel less-than-stellar after they leave, don't hire them. It's as simple as that.

You've worked hard on your business and you want a staff that will help you to carry it. When you're narrowing down applicants, find someone that is the best possible fit for you and your company.

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