| 8 September, 2023 | 7 Min Read

10 best ways to spot a good candidate at an interview

How do you identify an outstanding candidate beyond a resume? Set up an interview with your potential candidates and spot the right one with our 10 effective ways below.

Screening for the best candidates is one of the biggest challenges for hiring teams. Many rely only on instincts as they do not have a guide to help them identify the most suitable candidates. This could be problematic as the best talents may be overlooked and missed out on.

Not knowing the indicators that prove an applicant is fit for a job makes identifying the suitable one challenging. The right interview questions assess a candidates’ job seeker’s skills and experience. These questions should also let you know if they are culture-fit for your company.

To help you with this problem, we have come up with 10 best ways to identify a good candidate in an interview. However, let's first understand the importance of an interview in getting the right candidate.


Why is an interview important in getting a good candidate?

There are several reasons why an interview is a vital part of the hiring process. They are:

  • Provide additional information about the candidate: Due to limitations, a candidate can only give out limited information about his/herself in the application. Therefore an interview is an opportunity for the interviewer to have additional information about the candidate. This information could range from the candidate's educational background to their job history.
  • Let you assess the candidate: An application usually contains highlights of an applicant’s skills and experience. Judging by them alone, candidates are likely to get any job. However, by interviewing candidates, you get to know if they have unique skills as stated in their application.
  • Help connect with the candidate: An interview is usually the first time the candidate is meeting a representative of the company. By building a relationship, you get to show the candidate what it is like to work at the company. A good interview session will improve the candidate's experience and help portray your company in a positive light.
  • Provide information about the position: Many job description posts are generic, providing only little details of a position. During the interview, the interviewer can let the candidate know more about what the position entails including the salary and benefits attached to the role as well as growth opportunities.

Now that we know the benefits of an interview, next, we take a look at how to identify a good candidate in an interview.


How to identify a good candidate in an interview?

Here are the 10 most efficient ways to know if the person you are interviewing is the right candidate

  1. 1
    Find out what they know about your company
  2. 2
    Read their body language
  3. 3
    Ask them about their past mistakes
  4. 4
    Find out if they are team players
  5. 5
    Have them solve a problem
  6. 6
    Find out if they are resourceful
  7. 7
    Find out if they have a growth mindset
  8. 8
    Listen to the questions they ask
  9. 9
    Pay attention to the way they communicate
  10. 10
    Involve your team

1. Find out what they know about your company

By finding out what they know about your company, you will know how much research the candidate has done about your company before applying.

Asking this will also provide insights into the candidate’s years of experience and accomplishments and how it relates to your company. A good job candidate will find it easy to connect their story to your company’s products, customers and mission.

2. Read their body language

Body language gives you an insight into how job seekers are feeling and how interested they are in your opportunity. These clues can be found in their arm movements, gestures, and eye contact. Video interview tools can also help read a candidate’s body language in the event of a remote interview.

A good candidate will display excitement and enthusiasm. They will be excited by the prospect of joining you. A candidate’s enthusiasm indicates that they are interested in you, and not just looking for a way to pay the bills. Such candidates will generate positive energy for their team members and the company if hired.

3. Ask them about their past mistakes

You may know how much a candidate has grown career-wise by finding out about their past failures since a person is defined not only by their success but also their mistakes.

A good candidate is willing to admit they have made lots of mistakes in the past. More importantly, they are likely to have learned valuable lessons from these mistakes. Owning up to past mistakes indicates honesty and self-awareness - two vital interpersonal skills.

4. Find out if they are team players

To identify a good candidate, ask a culture-fit question that assesses their ability to perform as a member of the team. That is, is the candidate a good team player? Do they have difficulties working with colleagues or management in the previous jobs?

A good candidate is highly cooperative and has the skills to help groups thrive and be productive. They do not think only of themselves, as they use the term “we” more than “I” when talking about achievements. Therefore, to identify a good candidate, keep an eye out for the candidate who understands their work is improved by collaboration and diversity.

5. Have them solve a problem

By adopting the use of behavioral job interview questions, you can know how a candidate will act in a job-related situation. Have them solve problems concerning these situations to know how good they are.

The idea of giving candidates a problem to solve is not really about the end result. Instead, it will help you verify their skills and experience (i.e the steps they would take to fix the problem) and their behaviors (how they would approach each step).

6. Find out if they are resourceful

A good candidate must know how to do a lot with less. This skill is vital as there may be a brief scarcity of the resource.

Are they good resource managers? Does their budget always turn up a deficit? Can they stay committed to a project of more for less if it will benefit everyone? Find out the answers by asking the right interview questions.

7. Find out if they have a growth mindset

No candidate is exactly made for a position. Every employee learns into the job they are hired for. To know if a candidate is good, assess their learning ability skill.

A good candidate is one who is eager to learn and can do it fast. They will also have learnings they pursue on their own. What are they trying to learn now? Do you get excited when the candidate describes their new learning endeavor?

8. Listen to the questions they ask

A good candidate will be curious to ask questions and ask the smart questions. They will want to know more about the position, the company, and its goals.

Listening to their questions will also let you understand the way they diagnose problems and how they process data.

9. Pay attention to the way they communicate

The way your candidate The interview process can be hectic. However, nothing can make it more difficult than a candidate that can communicate clearly.

The best candidate is one who can respond quickly and concisely throughout the interview. This helps things go smoothly. If a candidate displays poor communication skills during the interview, they are less likely to do better if they get the job. Plus, a prompt response indicates interest in the company and position.

10. Involve your team

If you are conducting the interview with your team members, ask them what they think about the candidate. It is important you factor their thoughts in as it will help you make a more objective decision about a candidate.

You can also get feedback from employees outside of the interview who interacted with the candidate. Their impression of the candidate may help you know if the candidate is right for you.


Get started with our 30+ free interview questions

Ready to power up your interview? You can download our collection of 30+ free interview questions, including culture-fit interview questions, behavioral interview questions, and online interview questions right here. These interview questions include detailed explanations and examples for your use. 

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