What Every Employer Should Look For During Interviews

Everyone realizes that candidates get nervous before and during interviews—hoping they impress the hiring manager with their credentials and personality, and not saying anything that will jeopardize their chances of being hired. What most people don’t think about, though, is how nervous the employer could be, as well. After all, they have to make a very critical decision based on credentials and impressions. Hiring the wrong candidate can end up costing the company a lot both financially and in productivity.  So naturally, there is a lot of pressure to get it right the first time.

If you’re in this boat, the person who sits on the other side of the table from the candidate during interviews, here are some helpful tips on what you should be looking for to help you make the best decision.

  1. Is the candidate likeable? This isn’t about personality types; it’s about whether or not you would want to work with this person. The most qualified candidate in the world who makes you miserable every time you’re around them will not benefit the synergy and productivity of the company. However, someone who is courteous, professional, genuine, and enthusiastic about this opportunity will likely be a person you and the rest of the team would enjoy partnering with.
  2. Are they extremely negative about their former or current job? That’s a red flag. Someone who whines, complains, and criticizes their ex-boss or ex-coworkers will likely end up doing the same thing to you later down the line. Obviously, the reasons people have for leaving or wanting to leave their place of employment vary drastically and are often perfectly understandable. However, the candidate’s attitude is the real issue—whether it’s professional, discreet, and gracious; or bitter, critical, and careless—because you want to be sure that it’s the sort of attitude you would want them directing toward you.
  3. Does the candidate ask a lot of questions about the position and the company? This means that they are approaching this from the standpoint of a long-term relationship. They want to make sure that it’s a great fit for them and vice versa; something they truly want to commit to for the next several years at least. This is good news for you, because it means they want to be on the same page with your vision and expectations for how they could help bring the company to the next level.
  4. Did the candidate discuss any specific contributions they could make, especially right away? I highly encourage all of the candidates I speak with to do thorough research on the company they are interviewing with beforehand. The candidates who really go above and beyond will find out what your company’s current efforts are and then explain to you specifically what they could do to make an immediate impact. For example, a candidate interviewing for a Commercial Lines Underwriter position could tell you how they have developed successful relationships with brokers that your company is not currently doing business with, and that could result in a significant positive impact in the territory. That would be extremely valuable to you as an immediate return on your investment.
  5. Did the candidate follow up with you after the interview? That small gesture reveals to you that they respect the time you spent with them and are grateful you considered them for the position. It also shows they enjoyed getting to meet you, learn more about the opportunity, and most likely, that they want to reiterate their desire to be a part of your organization. The candidates whose follow up letters include specifics that relate to the interview are the ones that probably made the strongest impression on you. For example, if you mentioned how your goal is to top last year’s sales by 10%, the follow up letter might talk about how the candidate was able to increase writings in their current role, which could assist you in reaching your goals. Now that’s a great and memorable final impression!

This is certainly not a complete list of qualities to be looking out for during interviews, but it will give you a good foundation for setting apart the candidates who have the greatest potential for success in your organization. If you have any other questions on the most effective ways to conduct interviews, please feel free to contact us directly. We would be happy to assist you in any way possible as an extension of your recruiting/hiring efforts.