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How to Assess Candidates Like a Pro: 3 Must-Know Techniques

Recruiters, Career Development

The interview process is a crucial step in selecting the right candidate for any job position. But, are you getting the most out of your interviews? To make informed hiring decisions, you must employ effective interviewing techniques that allow you to effectively assess a candidate’s skills, qualifications, and cultural fit. While you will always have your own personal style and you will adapt the questions to fit the industry and business, there are structured approaches you can employ to master your techniques. By implementing these strategies, you can foster a more inclusive and equitable hiring environment, ultimately leading to better hiring decisions and a stronger workforce. Let’s take a look at them.

Real interview. Man and woman at desk in a sunny office, both smiling and Man taking notes. Casual clothes

Behavioral-Based Questioning

Behavioral-based questioning is a widely recognized and effective interview technique. It involves asking candidates to provide specific examples from their past experiences to gauge how they have handled various situations. By focusing on past behaviors, employers can gain insight into a candidate’s abilities, problem-solving skills, and interpersonal competencies.

To conduct successful behavioral-based interviews:

  1. Prepare specific questions: Craft questions that prompt candidates to discuss their experiences in detail. For example, ask, “Can you describe a situation where you had to resolve a conflict within your team? How did you handle it, and what was the outcome?”
  2. Listen actively: Pay close attention to the candidate’s responses, probing for additional details and clarifications when necessary.
  3. Evaluate outcomes: Assess how candidates’ actions in past situations align with the skills and qualities required for the job.


Situational Interviews

Situational interviews present hypothetical scenarios related to the job, allowing candidates to demonstrate how they would handle certain challenges or tasks. This technique is particularly useful for roles that require quick thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability.

Tips for conducting effective situational interviews:

  1. Develop relevant scenarios: Craft scenarios that mirror real challenges encountered in the role. This helps assess a candidate’s ability to apply their skills in practical situations.
  2. Evaluate problem-solving skills: Observe how candidates approach and tackle the scenarios, looking for logical reasoning and well-thought-out solutions.
  3. Assess cultural fit: Include scenarios that gauge a candidate’s alignment with the company’s values and culture.


Panel Interviews

Panel interviews involve multiple interviewers, each assessing the candidate from their unique perspective. This technique can provide a comprehensive view of the candidate’s suitability for the role and mitigate individual biases.

To make panel interviews more effective:

  1. Define roles: Clearly assign roles and responsibilities to each panel member to avoid redundancy and ensure a well-organized interview.
  2. Prepare collaboratively: Panel members should collaborate on interview questions and evaluation criteria to ensure consistency in assessment.
  3. Discuss feedback: After the interview, have a panel discussion to share observations and reach a consensus on the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.


Bonus Tip: Avoiding Bias and Ensuring Fairness

To conduct interviews that are fair and free from bias, consider these essential tips:

  • Standardize the process: Use structured interview questions and evaluation criteria consistently for all candidates to minimize subjectivity.
  • Train interviewers: Provide training on recognizing and avoiding unconscious biases, emphasizing the importance of fair and objective assessments.
  • Diverse interview panels: Aim for diverse interview panels to reduce the risk of biases related to gender, race, or age.
  • Blind screening: In the initial stages, remove identifying information from resumes to ensure that candidates are selected solely based on their qualifications.


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