How to spot the right candidate for your company

Jacqueline O’Donovan, MD of O’Donovan Waste Disposal

Searching for the ideal candidate can be a long and drawn out process and making sure they are the right fit for the company is a challenge.

Recently, I was invited to be on Channel 4’s The Job Interview to search for a new Business Manager, a fantastic experience, which saw me interview a number of candidates in a room full of hidden cameras. People who watched the show have asked me how I knew that Tracie was the right fit, so I have created my top tips for spotting the right candidate:

Job interview (hiring staff)
Job interview – via Shutterstock

Check their understanding of the company

This might seem an obvious point, but you would be surprised at the number of interviews I have carried out where the candidate knew next to nothing about the company! When hiring someone, everyone is looking for passion and the best way to spot this is by getting the candidate to talk about the company. Their enthusiasm and level of understanding will quickly become apparent.

Ask surprising questions

It is easy to fall into the trap of asking generic questions, such as: ‘What’s your biggest achievement?’ or ‘How do you work in team?’. Try to step off the beaten track and ask questions that might surprise them. Questions like: ‘What keeps you up at night?’ allows you to take note of not only their answers, but also their body language and reaction to pressure.

Give them real-life scenarios

In my company, I am forever multitasking and organising, so if my mobile rings, I have to answer it – regardless of the situation I am in. If my mobile happens to ring in an interview, I will answer it- the reaction of the interviewee can be very telling. If they are taken aback and can’t recover, then they are not the right fit for me! Give the candidate some real life scenarios to test their reaction to high pressure situations.

Get to know the person behind the CV

When people are determined to stand out on paper, they have to pick and choose the facts they put down about themselves. Try and look beyond the CVs and ask them what else can they tell you about themselves. You will be spending the majority of your days with this person, so you need to make sure that they have a personality that matches well with you and your team. By asking them about their interests outside of work and their role models, you will get a better picture of the type of person the candidate is and whether they will fit well with the company.

Set yourself criteria

Hiring the right person is incredibly important, and although everyone has an image of their ideal candidate, remember to be realistic in your expectations. I re-read the job description to refresh my memory and pull together a set of criteria that I want to look out for. By having these answers in your mind prior to the interview, you will be in a much better position to judge if someone is the right fit.

Jacqueline O'Donovan

About the author

Jacqueline O’Donovan is the MD of O’Donovan Waste Disposal, one of London’s leading independent waste management companies. She recently appeared on Channel 4’s The Job Interview.

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