What hiring managers should know about candidates before the interview

What hiring managers should know about candidates before the interview

It goes without saying that evaluating candidates to determine their competence is one of a recruiter’s most essential jobs. In fact, for most hiring managers the efficiency of this process is directly linked to how much information they have about the candidate – it determines to a significant extent the questions to be asked, anticipated responses that count and more importantly, the overall fit of the candidate in question. Little wonder why hiring managers spend hours going through resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles sifting for valuable information about a candidate.

An efficient hiring process, however, goes past collating boilerplate information about a candidate, the likes of “former workplace, age, sex or nationality”. A hiring manager looking to recruit the best person for the job should also know the following about his/her candidate before the interview process:

  • What a candidate really wants

There’s a difference between what a candidate wants and what he/she gets in a particular job. This disparity, known as the positional differential, is typically, why employees seek a change of job. They are in search of something better that can satisfy wants previously untended to in their former workplace. Knowledge of this helps you distinguish between the ideal candidate and the qualified candidate. The perfect candidate sees everything he/she wants in the role you are offering. It also helps bolster your hand on the negotiating table – if your organization is fulfilling all the wants of the perfect employee you can use this advantage to negotiate better terms.  

  • Their strengths and weaknesses

Everyone including the perfect employee has not just strengths but also weaknesses. Mark Zuckerberg is a frail public speaker, and Gary Vaynerchuk has a hard time with tech. It is essential to identify both sets of information to see how a candidate fits into the overall work practice and ethics of your organization. For instance, it is not advisable to hire someone who cannot write into a writing firm as a writer. Note, however, that most candidates will go the extra mile to mask their weaknesses especially when it reduces their chances of securing the job. As a hiring manager, it is your job to see through the mask before the interview. One good way of doing this is making candidates compile a list of things they don’t like doing. Very rarely will someone who hates reading enjoy the writing process.

  • Their work culture and ethics

In the same manner as knowing their strengths and weaknesses, having an idea of what makes a candidate tick and how best they work, helps you gauge their overall fit in your company’s organizational framework. The perfect candidate suddenly becomes imperfect if he/she is a lone ranger for a company that relies on team efficiency and vice versa.

  • Are they pursuing other openings?

There is no gain wasting significant time and resources evaluating who you presumed to be the ideal candidate, only for the person to decline your offer in favor of a better offer at another firm. Knowing if another organization is courting your candidate allows you to gauge if he/she is worth the stress. It also helps you re-adjust your offer accordingly.

  • Lastly, what they want in the role you’re offering

The foresight of what made a candidate consider your current job offering is an essential thing to have at your fingertips before the interview. Aside from providing you with insight on the personal goals of the candidate, it significantly amps your negotiating power. Is the candidate coming in for the improved financial incentives, a better work environment, or perhaps it’s easier commuting to your location? Regardless of how trivial it may seem, these tidbits of information are an ace up the sleeve of any hiring manager.

What would you add to the list? We’re always open to sharing insights — Get in touch, today!


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