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How to Decide If a Candidate Is a Good Fit

September 29, 2023

Resumes give a sense of a candidate’s background and experience. Assessments evaluate a candidate’s skill level.

Interviews, however, help employers read between the lines by helping hiring managers hone in on the right candidate for the role and their company’s needs.

Conducting an interview can be challenging, especially when all your prospects look great on paper and check out in the skills arena. Luckily, there is a way to separate the cream from the crop.

Here are five areas of focus outside technical requirements you should consider when deciding if a candidate is a good fit.

They understand and know your business

There’s nothing better than a candidate that knows your company and understands your business.

It can take weeks and months to ramp up an employees’ knowledge of the ins and outs of your organization and industry. Finding a recruit who is already up-to-speed is priceless when it comes to project delivery and business continuity.

Employers should note potential hires who are well informed and have done their research on your company. Taking the time to learn about a company beforehand shows overall interest and capabilities of self-direction.

Keep in mind that while researching your company is a step in the right direction, you must also be willing and able to help them learn. No one will become an expert in your business overnight and they certainly won’t get there without meaningful leadership and assistance along the way as they catch their footing.

Things to consider:

  • Did the candidate come already informed about your company?
  • Do they already have an idea about your company culture and values?
  • Are they familiar with your industry or line of business?

You both acknowledge company culture expectations

While a candidate’s skills and technical qualifications may check out on paper, you should also ensure they’re a good fit for your company culture.

When evaluating a potential hire for cultural fit, a hiring manager should understand its own company culture, the workplace they desire to build and the traits they value most in employees.

Having a good grasp on these aspects will allow you to identify the right candidate for your unique business goals. During the interview, employers can plan and ask candidates questions that highlight the qualities they desire.

This is also an opportunity for you as an employer to reflect on how inclusive your company is. Inclusivity is about making everyone feel valued and involved. It’s about respecting that not everyone is an extrovert; some individuals have social anxiety and you need to be inclusive of diversity of thought, perspective and neurodiverse. Keep that in mind when a candidate is qualified but quiet, and skilled but shy.

Consider asking during the interview:

  • What type of work environment makes you most productive and happy?
  • What management style are you most comfortable with?
  • How would you describe your work style?
  • What role do you play when working with a team?

Asking these questions will help you create an environment that helps fit their needs, as opposed to them simply conforming or complying with your office or workforce culture.

They can achieve their professional goals at your company

No organization enjoys turnover. To avoid it, employers should take the time to evaluate whether a potential candidate would be satisfied long-term at their company. One way to do this is by identifying a prospect’s career or professional goals.

Doing so enables employers to decipher whether their organization can nurture a candidate’s ambitions. For instance, a candidate might express they’re looking for opportunities to grow in management. This might be a problem for a company that is lean in internal hierarchies and flat in structural organization. Likewise, a candidate who desires to be a public speaker might not find fulfillment at a business that doesn’t provide a platform for them.

It will always be in an employer’s best interest to gauge their company’s alignment with a candidate's professional interests.

Consider asking during the interview:

  • What are your career goals?
  • Where do you see yourself five years from now?
  • What professional skills would you like to hone?
  • How can a company help you develop professionally?

They’re passionate about the work that they do

A big part of deciding whether someone is the right fit for a role is getting a good sense of their interest in working with your company. Employers want employees who care deeply about their work.

Often, a hiring manager can take note of this by paying close attention to how a candidate answers questions during an interview.

It’s a common misconception that an enthusiastic candidate solely shows interest through body language, tone, engagement, attentiveness and more. Again, it’s important to recognize diversity in all of its forms. Not everyone shows excitement in the same ways, so consider the candidate’s answers to the following questions instead of just the traditional tell-tale signs listed above:

Consider asking during the interview:

  • What excites you about your field of work?
  • Is there anything particular you're interested in at our company?
  • Describe a project you were most proud of and why?
  • What in particular about this role do you find interesting?

They challenge your thinking

Diversity of thought is a big differentiator when it comes to driving innovation within an organization. And the hiring process is the perfect time to recruit for it.

A candidate that brings good ideas to the table will always be an asset to any team. Moreover, a candidate who also challenges the status quo will help revolutionize the way things are done.

Employers should keep a special eye out for prospects who show a sharp mindset for moving the company forward.

Things to consider during the interview:

  • Did the candidate share new ideas you hadn’t thought of before?
  • Does a candidate share a background/experience that would add to your team?
  • Did the candidate challenge your thinking on a particular topic?

Determining a good fit for a role and your company is no easy task. Employers can navigate this challenging process by proactively gauging a candidate’s knowledge, unique perspective and personal goals during the interview.

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