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To employ or not to employ… that is the question?

The job advert received a great response, you’ve shortlisted a number of CV’s and you’re in the process of interviewing the candidates… How do you ensure that you pick the right person for the role? After all, employing the wrong candidate can be a costly exercise, not to mention time consuming!

And so the burning question is “do you employ or not?”

Most people have some sort of gut instinct about a candidate fairly quickly. Scientific methods of hiring an employee work, but equally importantly is chemistry and candidate fit.

Hopefully the job advert and description was informative, yet concise. A study undertaken back in 2013 by Adzuna looked at over 500,000 job adverts. The most frequently used term, which appeared on nearly one in five adverts was the word ‘organised’! And one in ten of these adverts featured the word ‘qualified’. The job description should have accurately identified the behaviours, qualities and skills required to competently fulfil the vacancy.

Hiring the wrong candidate will have financial implications and at the same time will distract staff and managers from more productive activities… Get it right first time and it will be much easier for all concerned.

Five key areas to cover during the interviewing process should include:


  • Did the candidate actually answer the questions posed?
  • Where they answered concisely?
  • Were they almost ‘canned’ answers?
  • Are they telling me what they think I would want to hear, rather than them showing their real self?

Open ended questions can be a great way of evaluating communication skills… Ask the candidate why they believe themselves to be right for the role?


  • What is their body language like? Are they slouching? Relaxed is good, slouching not so!
  • Do they fidget? This may not be simply a sign of nerves!
  • Do they offer you a warm smile or a false grin?
  • Eye contact – do their eyes look directly at you when you are conversing?

Don’t assume that a nervous candidate will be no good, it simply means that they are human!


  • Does the candidate understand the requirements of the role?
  • Have they taken the time to research the company? The internet offers us endless factual information at our fingertips, so there’s simply no excuse not to have done any…
  • Are they familiar with their own CV? Pose a direct question about their CV to ensure that they haven’t elaborated or been liberal with the truth!


  • Does the candidate come across as someone who can adapt to an unforeseen event or circumstance?

This behavioural trait can be unearthed by asking a question such as “describe a situation in which he/she had to adjust to changes of which they had no control over”.


  • Do you believe the candidate has the necessary skills and knowledge required for the majority of the job role?
  • Ask yourself how would this person go about finding out something if they were alone and didn’t know the answer?
  • Would you consider the candidate having the confidence or capability to ‘think on their feet?’
  • How would you envisage them making a contribution to the company?

At the end of the interview, it is common place to ask if the candidate has any further questions…

A good candidate will have listened carefully in the interview and have further questions.

And be sure to remember a candidate that is brave enough to ask a bold question, such as “why do you dislike about working here?”

Interview training techniques is one of our specialities. If you believe that you or members of your organisation would benefit from some coaching on how to better interview potential candidates, please call 0121 516 0299 or email info@cloverhr.co.uk.

Recruitment assistance is available to businesses in a variety of industries, such as architecture, manufacturing and it. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for more details.

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