8 Interview Tips to Identify a Top Candidate

Daniel C. Simmons, CPC

I have found these 8 items to be crucial to recruiting and hiring great talent who will stay with an organization.  I hope you will use these interview tips with each potential hire.  While conducting and interview, make certain to consider the following:

Cultural Fit

People often excel when they fit.  People leave when they don’t.  Make certain the candidate’s personal style, teamwork abilities and pace match those of your organization.  Don’t hire a bull for your china shop, unless there is the specific need to have a bull.

Quantify and Qualify responsibilities and successes

By having the candidate quantify their responsibilities and successes you can find out how they stack up to other candidates in your process. The job responsibilities for a store manager are the same for the local toy shop as they are at a $100M department store, but the required skill level is certainly different.

Check for passion

Ask what they enjoy about their current job and why.  Make certain they are passionate about the core responsibilities in the position you wish to fill.  If you’re interviewing a sales rep who loves servicing his loyal customers and you need someone to develop a new territory, you don’t have a match.


Ask for letters of recommendation or better yet, for copies of prior employee evaluations.  Candidates who can provide the evaluations show that they take their career seriously.  This also provides the most accurate reference check.

Good Vibrations

The Beach Boys sang about them, your mother taught you about them.  If you don’t get good vibrations from the person, move on.

Watch for Tire Kickers

Ask them how accepting this role would improve their life.  If it is all about the money, watch out for a counter-offer from their employer.  Hire people who want the job for the right reasons.

Do your research in advance

Find them on Facebook, Linked in and Twitter.  See who they are when they are not at work and how they socialize.  Make certain you are researching the right person.  There are many John Smiths.

Look for good decision making skill

One of my clients says that he has heard countless people tell him that if they were hired they would make great decisions for his company.  As he talks with them about their career paths, often these same people show they made poor choices in their employment.   His comment was, ‘How can they make good decisions for me when they haven’t made them for themselves?’


For more interview tips check out Dan’s ebooks