How to spot a good candidate

Arguably, one of the most important decisions you will make as an employer is during your hiring process. After all, the employees make up your business. The hiring process can be a long and tedious one. You may find the sheer volume of applicants alone overwhelming, then having to determine that a ‘good’ applicant requires even more time and effort. Desired applicants are subjective to each business however; we have some tips to help you sift out the good ones from the bad.


Carefully analyse the application

An ideal candidate is someone enthusiastic about your business and keen to be a part of the team. Pay close attention to detail when reviewing their CV and cover letter. Has the candidate tailored it to you in particular? You can learn a lot about your candidates by establishing those that have quickly sent out their CV to several employers without a second thought and noticing those who have taken the time to personalise their application. Be sure to look for someone who has edited their skills and experience to highlight what is relevant to your business; perhaps they have even written a letter addressing you as the employer in charge of hiring. This shows they have done their research and therefore it is more likely they are keen to get on board with your business specifically as opposed to settling for any job who are currently hiring.


Go beyond asking standard interview-style questions

Now that you have narrowed down your search to a select few to interview, it is important to remember that a good employee will know more than how to answer the standard interview questions. Of course, these should still be asked to test their knowledge and get a feel for their experience, however, try to go beyond it. Engage in a flowing conversation with your interviewee where you can find out how they impacted previous workplaces and what ideas they have to offer. Provide them with a trial situation and see how they deal with it. For example, if the job involves using the phone then organise a mystery call and assess how they manage it. A mock situation makes a great way to see how prospective employees put their experience into practice.

It is always good to get a second opinion from the people who will be working directly with future employees. Ask for an opinion from someone not on the interviewing panel to judge how they will get on with the rest of the workforce. For example, ask a member of staff to give them a tour and hold a conversation with them. They can then give you an insight into their thoughts on the candidate.


Not everyone interviews well

Whilst most put emphasis on hiring great interviewees, be mindful that not everyone interviews well, and this should not put them at a disadvantage. As mentioned, every job is subjective. This means if they are interviewing for a public speaking role then how they present themselves is very important and those that do not interview well maybe should not be considered for the role. On the other hand, it is natural to be nervous and a single experience cannot determine what an asset somebody can be. If they are struggling with the questions, you could try something different. Ask them what they are passionate about and gauge what they are like as a person. Skills and experience are great however; their attitude and attributes are what will decide whether they fit into your team. Have some trust in your gut instinct, most of the time your intuition is accurate.


Trial Shift

Lastly, if possible, try giving candidates a trial shift. A person’s true abilities are shown when they are put into the practical side of work. A trial shift will enable applicants to demonstrate how they work in a real-life scenario and get a taste for what the work will be like. This is beneficial for both you and the employee, if either of you decides that the candidate is not right for the role then it is the perfect time to say before they get fully involved in the business.


ABL Recruitment team