Finding Strong Candidates: The Interview

Finding Strong Candidates: The InterviewTo keep your staffing agency going strong, you need to find the best possible members of two groups: clients and candidates. Clients, you often have to track down, but candidates tend to come to you, especially in these high-unemployment times. But how do you find the strongest candidates?

This is the sixth post in a seven-part series over the next few weeks sharing tips for finding the diamonds in the rough of your waiting rooms.

While skills testing and background checks can give you empirical data about a candidate, such as what they’ve done and what they know, the information you glean from their interview is a lot fuzzier. However, the impression made by an interview tends to be very strong, and a great interview can compensate for some weak points on a resume.

The first thing you learn about a candidate from an interview is how seriously they take the position. If they show up sloppily dressed, unprepared, late or not at all, they’ve shown you a lot about themselves.

You can also learn about the candidate’s communication style. Do they look you in the eye, speak clearly, seem engaged in the conversation? If the position calls for interaction with customers or the public, evaluating the candidate’s communication skills is crucial. However, if the job is in a less socially oriented field, such as manufacturing or research, the importance of communication might not be so great.

The interview is also where you can get the answers to questions you might have about the applicant based on their employment history and periods of unemployment. The content of their answers is important, but so is the way they present their answers: defensiveness, resentment and evasion are all signs that this isn’t a great candidate.

Throughout the interview, the candidate will also give you more information about their level of interest, based on how eager they are to answer questions—and to ask them. Candidates who ask about the position, the workplace or the company (besides “how much does this pay?”) show a much higher level of engagement.

What else can you learn about a candidate from a job interview? Let us know in the comments!

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