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Structured Interview Criteria That is Non-Negotiable Even Under Pressure In The Staffing Process

Structured Interview Criteria That is Non-Negotiable Even Under Pressure in the Staffing Process

The shape of the workforce is constantly changing. Just in the last two years, the majority of candidates have gained remote work experience. And many companies have adjusted their work models. Of course, this means there’s a parallel process to meet the shifting needs of evaluation criteria for each role as you look to place top talent in clients’ openings.

When clients are simultaneously faced with a talent shortage and a need to relieve stress on the current workforce, it’s important to stick to your structured evaluation criteria. We reached out to experts to find out what criteria they believe are non-negotiable in the structured interview process even when under pressure to fill roles fast. Here’s what they had to say:

Culture Fit

Genevieve McMullenThe top interview criteria, that are non-negotiable in all candidates, are culture-fit and ensuring the candidate’s core values align with that of the business.

While we believe you can train, upskill, and teach candidates the output and tools of any business, if a new hire isn’t a cultural fit then you’re not investing in the foundation and future growth of the company, hiring success (as it breeds positivity), teamwork, and client satisfaction. If your candidate is aligned to the goals and values of others within the business, and the clients you manage, the business will see a lot more of a positive uplift.

On the flip side, a bad hire can quickly turn a workplace toxic and produce disgruntled and unhappy clients. Hiring a candidate who may be fit for the job but isn’t a good culture fit will also likely not last within the business and quickly seek employment elsewhere, which can be costly in both time and money.

Genevieve McMullen, People & Culture Manager, TALK Agency

Brad CumminsThe top criteria for me apart from the necessary expertise is a willingness to blend into the company culture. We are an organization that focuses on a holistic effort towards growth. This includes giving back to society wherever we can, focusing on greener solutions to combat climate change, and opening up opportunities that invite diversity and inclusion in our organization.

I do understand that there are people who don’t care about these things, who refuse to acknowledge their privilege and the unjust lack of opportunities that several are facing, but I wouldn’t want such a person in my team.

Brad Cummins, Founder, CEO, Insurance Geek


Spark Hire LogoCulture fit is essential in any work environment whether fulfilling the needs of a clients’ in-office team or placing talent for remote roles. You need to know if your clients are hiring for culture fit or culture add.


Remote work skills

Tina HawkAmong our non-negotiable interview criteria are adaptability, communication skills, and respectfulness. These criteria are essential to hiring success because the nature of the workplace today requires a high degree of adaptability. Remote work is the norm, and this will only become solidified in the future. Remote workflows are inherently dynamic, and a good remote worker needs to adapt to technological developments as quickly as they arrive as part of our tech stack.

Furthermore, clear communication and respect are non-negotiable for us because these traits are fundamental to our success. Again, remote work means that clear, effective, and nuanced communication skills are a necessity. And conducting oneself with self-respect and respect for their colleagues, company, and ecosystem, is a trait we expect from all of our interview candidates.

Tina Hawk, SVP Human Resources, GoodHire


Spark Hire LogoRemote work skills have become increasingly important even if team members are not going to work remotely. That’s because adaptability and communication were critical for the resilience of companies coming out of the pandemic. 



Marilyn GaskellWhen interviewing a candidate, I am always looking to see how open they are to innovation and trying on different hats, regardless of what their qualifications might be. I absolutely need to know that the person I am hiring has the capabilities to adapt to adverse circumstances and reach out of their comfort zone for the good of the company.

Adaptability is a non-negotiable criterion for me for two reasons: one, we work within the tech industry, which is constantly shifting and evolving (and, consequently, employees should be expected to keep up with the same); and secondly, our company is a small startup with a handful of employees who are expected to perform a diverse range of tasks, regardless of their titles or past qualifications. I need people on my team who can adapt to the internal and external environment of the company we work in. If I fear that a candidate will not be able to mold to the circumstances present, I can simply not hire them.

Marilyn Gaskell, Founder & Hiring Manager, TruePeopleSearch

Trainability and desire to learn

Devon FataMy absolute bottom line in filling any position is that the candidate needs to show a willingness to learn, grow, and take on new responsibilities. While I’m often looking for someone with a specific set of design skills and industry experience, all of those things can come with time if I have a candidate who is ready and willing to work towards them. A willingness to grow and learn is something that’s hard to fake and will contribute to success in any role.

Devon Fata, CEO & Founder, Pixoul

Bob ScottHere’s my take: Initiative for self-education!

Skills development is a matter of consistent learning over time. Willingness to learn is critical for a new hire in order to adapt and thrive in any workplace. Being teachable, as well as being keen on self-improvement proves passion for the job, a characteristic that fuels perseverance in the long run. Even if they are not the most talented among the candidates, they are more likely to pour efforts into the latest innovations and ideas for the betterment of the business.

Bob Scott, Founder, Sell Land


Spark Hire LogoScreening talent for clients’ long-term success means looking farther than candidates’ immediate qualifications and identifying high-potential candidates who are eager to learn and grow with the company.


Self-motivation and enthusiasm

Thomas FultzThe most important criterion is self-motivation. Without self-motivation, the team gets instantly dull (it is infectious) and the entire work cycle is affected, which is something we do not want at any cost. It is important for us that our employees feel satisfied and not burnt out when they head back home. Having a self-motivated attitude goes far in this direction.

The most important reason is that we have a lot of client interaction and it is really important for our team to be pumped and ready to deal with each customer with renewed enthusiasm, even if that means that they are dealing with fewer clients. Lack of self-motivation is a major hindrance to this modus operandi.

Thomas Fultz, Founder & CEO, Coffeeble


Steven DuncanFor us, one requirement that is simply non-negotiable is passion. While that may sound cliche, as an online publisher, we are always looking to create new, amazing, useful, and engaging content for our readers.

And our readers simply expect the best and most informative written content for their specific needs. As we publish content regarding sports, the great outdoors, and healthy living, we expect all our hires to have a passion within one of those fields.

Not only does doing so help us to hire and recruit like-minded individuals, but it also ensures that any new hire shares the same vision and goal for the company. Although at times we may be desperate to fill a role, it is oftentimes better to fill the role with the right individual, than commit to an employer-employee relationship that is doomed to fail from the get-go. Similarly, having a structured, central tenant within your hiring process not only ensures a like-minded work culture but also helps to build workplace connections and morale.

Hiring for any role is never simple. But having structured requirements can make the process a bit simpler and can create a more long-lasting relationship for all involved.

Steven Duncan, Chief Editor, Ball Are Life

Ann MartinThe number one criteria that I look for in interviews would be a passion and determination for the role in which they are applying. If there is no drive present in the candidate, then they will not be driven to do their job when it gets stressful/boring/intense. You want to hire someone who will dedicate their time to the tasks at hand without hesitation or complaints. You can mitigate this attitude by hiring people who are actually interested and invested in the job. A simple “Why do you want this job?” will expose the answers you are looking for.

Ann Martin, Director of Operations, CreditDonkey


Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.