How do I ensure I hire the right candidate for my company?

Deirdre O'Dowd 11.03.2014

As recruitment specialists, we ensure that our client companies secure the best candidate on the market each time they have a job available.

However, there is a part of the recruitment process that we have little control over and that’s the client-candidate interview. We prepare and coach candidates in advance of their interview so that they arrive calm and prepared, thus ensuring they provide accurate information to all questions asked.

We have little or no control over the questions that are asked during the actual interview. Department managers that hire frequently typically have honed their interviewing style and have 

 developed interviewing and selection skills in the area of hiring suitable candidates. However, for those that hire sporadically or on an ad-hoc basis, the interview scenario is more daunting than one would imagine. Sometimes it is difficult for the interviewer to decide what questions to ask.

The older interview style would involve questions beginning with “how would you deal with a difficult customer?” for example.  We will all give exemplary answers to this question and would give the most textbook answer ever designed!  It doesn’t necessarily mean that answer would reflect real life situations. Unfortunately, we would all like to think we would keep a cool head with a difficult customer. That may not be what happens in real life...

Let’s take an example. Say, you were driving to work one day after sleeping in, then a person cut you off in rush hour traffic taking the front wing of your car with them, then you are given out to for being late, on your way back to your desk, you spill your long awaited coffee down your suit on the very day you have a very important meeting, you’re behind on your deadlines and then an irate customer rings you to shout down the phone at you for increased costs...

Do you think you would still react in an exemplary fashion...?

We would like to think we all would but that might not necessarily be the case. How can we demonstrate that we would make the best of any difficult situation? We describe an actual example of a particular time where we encountered a difficult customer and we describe the factors around it along with how we actually handled the situation.

In order for the interviewer to find out the correct answer, they need to ask the question differently. They need to ask something like “tell me about a time where you encountered a difficult customer and how you dealt with the situation”. This allows the candidate the opportunity to give an actual example and will give you the interviewer a more accurate picture of how strong the candidate actually is. These questions are called competency based questions.

To me, this interview style is called "finding out if the candidate is the right person for the job"!

So, if you would like help with your interview questions for your next hire, contact myself Laura Bourke or any of my colleagues throughout Ireland. We’d be delighted to assist you in finding your next employee!

Deirdre O'Dowd's picture
Senior Consultant | Accounting & Finance Recruitment