Here we suggest 7 practical tips to give you insight into the different aspects of a potential hire’s personality.
1. A Walk Before the Interview
Do the first part of the interview while walking around the premises. This introduction is interesting for two reasons:
- It’s a good way to help the candidate de-stress and be more natural; and
- It gives you an opportunity to observe the candidate.
Ask them questions on what they noticed during the visit, and what they liked the most. If they tell you, for example, that they liked the team dynamic, this tells you that they value human relationships. If instead they noticed the equipment around the office, for example the type of technology you use and the software used to enter client orders, they probably care about those things.
2. Personality Test
Have candidates do a personality test. It will give you very helpful information on various aspects of their personality. Some tests are even free and can be easily found on the internet. Not only are they fun to do—people are generally curious about the results—but they say a lot about someone. On our team, a colleague made us do it and we loved it. It’s up to you to first determine what personality type you need to round out your team. Do you need an architect or a protagonist? 😀
3. Practical Test and Teamwork Session
Prepare a practical test and a teamwork session for after the interview. This is common practice in our marketing department. A typical interview will often end with a practical test and a work session with another employee.
This part of the interview shows how the candidate handles feedback, how they participate in a brainstorm, how assertive they are in meetings, and so on.
For example, when my interview with the marketing director was over, I was asked to improve an already published text and discuss my choices with the other writer. Then, at a work session, this writer, now a colleague, asked to me brainstorm around a concept for social media: what would I do with a video shot for BonLook, a client of ours?
4. A Candidate’s Nonverbal Language
Sharpen your knowledge of nonverbal language; it’ll be of use. A bona fide science, nonverbal language interpretation gives insight into a candidate’s personality type. It also reveals their emotional state during the interview. A rounded back or evasive eyes indicate unease or a lack of confidence. If, on the contrary, a candidate stands up straight with their feet firmly on the ground, this demonstrates soundness, confidence and strength.
5. Simulations: An Interview Essential
Include simulations as part of your interviews. These can be concrete examples of things that could happen in the context of the position you’re hiring for, and let you judge whether the candidate is well suited for it or not. For example, if contingencies and tight timeframes are common in your business, you’d do well to confirm that candidates are comfortable and capable in such situations.
Here at Agendrix, honesty and putting clients’ needs first are core values. It could be interesting to ask a candidate what they’d do if they realized that our software didn’t fit the needs of an important potential client who’s ready to go with us. In this situation, validating the client’s needs is essential. Then, the thing to do is manage their expectations honestly, even if it means pointing them toward another product.
6. Checking References
Reaching out to a candidate’s previous employer gives you another opinion on their skills at work.
- How were they with the rest of the team?
- How did they overcome challenges?
- Did they work well under pressure?
It’s also a good way to go beyond the candidate’s words.
7. Closing the Interview with an Off-Subject Question
This is my favourite idea! Add an off-subject question to the interview, but not just any question… Quite often, recruiters only think to ask work-related questions about punctuality, work ethic, team spirit, etc.
But those are trite, repetitive and rather boring. They’re common fare.
What we suggest is a question that will help you understand a candidate’s thought process and decision-making, in a fun and spontaneous way, for you and for them.
The New Car Example
Ask them how they’d go about buying a new car. Most people by that point have purchased a car before, and there are endless ways to do it.
If the candidate answers that they change cars on a whim, without really thinking about it, this tells you that they are rather emotional and impulsive, but also unafraid of change.
This is neither positive nor negative. What counts is whether or not their personality suits your needs!
Another candidate might tell you they read all the reviews, consult the Guide de l’auto, visit several dealerships and ask their friends for their opinion. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that this person is rather analytical and methodical, or perhaps insecure when faced with decisions. They certainly wouldn’t act on a whim, without thinking.
Ask yourself the same questions; you might be surprised at the results.
The Best Tip of All
We’ve shared with you our best tips to see if someone would fit with your team. But even more fundamentally, your greatest asset is knowing what you’re looking for. If you start by asking yourself the right questions, you’ll be able to listen for what truly matters to you.