The Good, Better, Best – Part 2: Choosing the Best Candidate

b-loehr-best-candidateAs you gear up for the second round of interviews, you’ll want to tune in with all senses and pay attention to instinct as well throughout the entire process. “Gut feeling” can and should be a valuable part of this fact-finding mission.

As you plan a strategy for zeroing in on the very best candidate, implement as many of these extra components as time allows.

  1. Begin at an off-site location

A meeting over breakfast or lunch creates the perfect opportunity to get inside a candidate’s personality which is helpful, even necessary, when evaluating for a fit within the company’s culture. While most people will maintain a formal tone in an interview at the office, the more relaxing setting of a meal or even coffee at the corner diner will encourage people to be themselves.

  1. Head back to the office for a “360-degree interview”

Plan ahead for the candidate to interact and engage with colleagues, subordinates, superiors, and if possible, internal clients and suppliers. This hands-on opportunity will give you valuable insight, broadening your perspective as to how the applicant’s skills on paper translate to skills in the field. After the candidate leaves, seek feedback from those who had a chance to brush shoulders with the potential employee. What vibes did they get? Any red flags pop up?

  1. Re-investigate skills

Before the second round of interviews begin, spend time going over the candidates’ resumes again with an eye for skills and qualifications that may have seemed either unrelated to this position or were simply overlooked. Bi- or tri-lingual? Fantastic. A background in fundraising and non-profit experience? Excellent. Consider these additional talents and aptitudes like you would bonus points on an exam. At the interview, ask the potential employee to elaborate on these skills, so you have a full picture of their potential.

  1. Finish off with a focus on the negative

While most candidates know what they do well, it’s more difficult—and quite telling—to question a potential employee about their weaknesses, past failures, unsuccessful ventures, etc. We all flub up at some point. It’s how we handle the goof(s) and move forward that reveals volumes about a person’s character and leadership qualities.

Frame the discussion around:

  • Tell me about one of your biggest failures and what you learned from the experience.
  • Share something you did that you regret. What was your initial motivation and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Describe a time when you had to conform to a policy you didn’t support. How did the situation cause you to grow?

From the moment you give the candidate a second opportunity to “wow” you, observe each candidate’s response, both what is said and what is left unsaid. Take note of the overall reaction. Enthusiasm or boredom? Nervousness or excitement? Disinterest or engagement? It could be that one or more applicants will remove themselves from the running due to any number of factors. Thank him/her for their interest and the opportunity to connect, then file their resume away for the future.

BLoehr Staffing can assist in finding the best candidates to fill the key positions that keep your company operating at peak performance. Allow our team of employment specialists to assist in recruiting top-notch applicants for your team. Contact us today.


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