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Expert Tips for Spotting the Best Job Candidates During Interviews

As a hiring manager or HR professional, it's important to thoroughly assess candidates during the interview process in order to make the best hiring decision for your company. But with so many factors to consider, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here are some key things to look for when interviewing someone:

A white man in a deerstalker hat holding a magnifying glass

Cultural fit:

Cultural fit refers to how well a candidate's values, beliefs, and behaviours align with those of the company and the team they will be working with. It is important to consider cultural fit in the hiring process because employees who are a good fit with the company culture tend to be more satisfied with their work, more productive, and stay with the company longer.

When assessing cultural fit, consider the company's values, mission, and goals, as well as the work environment and team dynamic. It can be helpful to ask specific questions during the interview process to get a sense of the candidate's values and how they have demonstrated them in the past. It can also be helpful to give the candidate a tour of the office and introduce them to members of the team to see how they interact and if there is a good match.

Overall, cultural fit is an important factor to consider in the hiring process because it can impact the success and retention of the new hire.

Communication skills:

Good communication skills are crucial for any role because they allow individuals to express their thoughts, ideas effectively, and needs to others. Strong communication can help build positive relationships, resolve conflicts, and ensure that tasks are completed efficiently. There are two main types of communication skills: verbal and written. Verbal communication refers to how a person speaks and includes factors such as clarity, conciseness, and tone. Written communication refers to how a person writes and includes factors such as grammar, spelling, and structure.

To assess a candidate's communication skills, you can ask them to give a presentation, deliver a sample project update, or write a sample email or report. These tasks will help you gauge the candidate's ability to communicate effectively and identify those who are likely to excel in this important aspect of their work.

Problem-solving abilities:

The ability to problem-solve is a highly valuable skill in any role because it allows individuals to identify and address issues as they arise, rather than simply reacting to problems. This proactive approach can help prevent issues from escalating and minimize the impact of any problems that do occur. Candidates who are skilled at problem-solving are able to think critically and creatively to come up with solutions to challenges, and they are not afraid to take initiative and try new approaches when necessary.

In order to assess a candidate's problem-solving abilities, you can ask them to describe a time when they faced a challenge and had to come up with a creative solution. You can also ask them to solve a hypothetical problem or give them a case study to work through. These types of exercises will help you understand how a candidate approaches problem-solving and whether they have the skills and mindset to effectively tackle challenges in the role.


In today's fast-paced business environment, the ability to adapt to change is more important than ever. Companies are constantly facing new challenges and opportunities, and it's crucial to have employees who can adapt and pivot as needed. Candidates who are flexible and open to learning new things are well-equipped to handle the changing demands of the modern workplace. They are willing to try new approaches and are not afraid to step out of their comfort zone. They are also able to learn and grow quickly, which can be a huge asset in a rapidly changing environment.

To assess a candidate's ability to adapt to change, you can ask them about their experience with change in their past roles. You can also ask them how they have handled situations where they had to learn new things quickly. Additionally, you can ask them about their comfort level with trying new approaches and taking on new challenges. These types of questions will help you understand whether a candidate is able to adapt to change and is open to learning and growing in their role.

Passion and enthusiasm:

A candidate's passion and enthusiasm for the role and the company can be contagious and can have a positive impact on the team. When someone is genuinely excited about their work, it can inspire and motivate those around them. This can lead to higher levels of productivity and a more positive work environment.

It's important to look for candidates who are genuinely enthusiastic about the opportunity and who bring energy to the team. This can signify that they are committed to the role and will be motivated to do their best work. To assess a candidate's enthusiasm, you can ask them about their goals and what they are most excited about in the role. You can also observe their body language and tone of voice during the interview to get a sense of their enthusiasm. Overall, hiring someone who is passionate and enthusiastic about the role and the company can bring a lot of value to the team.

Past experience and achievements:

When making a hiring decision, it's important to consider a candidate's past experience and achievements. A track record of success in their field can be a good indicator of a candidate's potential to excel in the role. Past experience can also bring valuable skills and insights that can benefit the team and the company.

It's important to look for candidates who have a strong track record of success in their field. This can include things like promotions, awards, or other notable achievements. You should also consider the relevance of a candidate's past experience to the role. For example, if the role requires specific technical skills or industry knowledge, you should look for candidates who have demonstrated expertise in these areas.

In addition to looking at a candidate's past experience and achievements, it's also important to consider their potential for growth and development. Look for candidates who are continuously learning and seeking out new opportunities to improve and grow in their field. Overall, considering a candidate's past experience and achievements is an important part of the hiring process and can help you identify those who are likely to excel in the role.

Do you look for these when interviewing?

  • All the time!

  • No - I should have read this first...

By considering these factors during the interview process, you'll be better equipped to make a well-informed hiring decision that's best for your company.


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