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How to More Effectively Gauge a Candidate’s Personality

How to More Effectively Gauge a Candidate’s Personality

A person’s resume and cover letter speak volumes about who they are as an employee, but in order to make an informed hiring decision, you need to be able to assess a candidate’s personality to get a sense of who they really are as a person. What matters to this individual? How will they get along with their co-workers? How can you help them to thrive at work? It’s tough to get a sense of all this just by reading their materials, so here’s how to gather this information more effectively:

Ask them deeper questions

Don’t feel limited by traditional interview questions such as “What’s your biggest weakness?” and other cliché prompts. Push a little further and you’ll be able to find out more about the candidate and their cultural fit. For instance, try asking them what they’re reading. Whether it’s historical fiction or a biography, this will give you some insight as to what they’re like when they’re not at work.

Talk to references

People who have worked with the candidate in the past can give you a good sense of what they’re really like. When the individual provides you with references, take the time to talk with these references in order to better understand the person you’re interviewing.

Meet them outside of the office

A formal interview situation makes most people very nervous, and can prevent them from showing their true personality. For this reason, some hiring managers enjoy meeting candidates in a more relaxed setting, such as a coffee shop. This way you can chat, but the candidate feels more at ease. When the individual opens up, you get a better sense of what they’re really like.

Make small talk

Some hiring managers gloss over small talk because they’ve got a lot of interviews to get through in a short amount of time. While this is understandable, small talk can actually be a key part of the interview process. It allows you to see how the individual interacts in social situations where they may not be totally comfortable. If they can hold a conversation well with you, they’ll probably do well with clients, colleagues, and management.

Gauge how they listen

When you’re providing information about the company, what is the candidate doing? Do they appear to be zoning out, simply waiting for their chance to speak again? Strong listening skills are essential for success in a business environment, so you want to be sure that the person you’re interviewing is focused on what you’re saying. If it appears as though they’re not really listening to you as you speak, make note of this.

How do you gauge a candidate’s personality when you’re interviewing? Let us know in the comments!

Image: djoronimo/

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.

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