Reading A Candidate: Will They Fit Your Team?


(By Laurie Kahn) Hiring can be a complex process. You need to hire someone you want to stick around, who can be productive and who will fit in with the team. Often, we get caught up in reading the prospect on incorrect attributes and being swayed to hire the wrong person.

To hire for the long-term, there are various steps to complete and things to look for in the interviews. First and foremost, you need a detailed, fully transparent job description to help you focus on your needed skills, experience, and expertise.  That is your road map to follow so you don’t get distracted by someone’s dazzle!

Regardless of whether you are interviewing in person or remotely, there are signals you can watch to give you an idea about the person.

According to Lesley Vos, from Talent Management, here are some things to watch for during the interview.

  • The ideal candidate sits on the edge of their seat, leaning forward to show interest and positivity. Those that slouch may come off as arrogant and those who lean back are seen as negative or arrogant. Pay attention to their shoulders, they should move with excitement, without any movement could mean uncertainty or lying.
  • If someone expresses themselves with arm and hand gestures it can mean they are a creative thinker. If they rub their necks, they could be frustrated or lying. If they play with their hair or touch their face could mean they feel uncomfortable or deceptive. We all know that crossed arms come off as defensive, so if they start out that way and then uncross as the interview progresses, that is a good sign!
  • Eye contact can be the most difficult, especially for shy people. While direct eye contact is ideal, if they look the other way or up and down for a moment, don’t discount them.

Other tips to help decide if someone is a fit for your team –

  • Most importantly, understand that interviewing can be stressful to many. Try to make the applicant comfortable by starting out with small talk. Break the ice and help them loosen up.
  • Have them meet with more than just the hiring manager. Often, they will open up more with a potential peer than a potential manager. Be sure to compare notes with all they meet with during the process.
  • Take them out for a meal. See how they treat the wait staff; watch how they conduct themselves at the table. Can you see them entertaining a client? Do they give and take in the conversation or is it all about them?
  • Conduct assessments. Many allow you to use your top producers or managers to compare the prospect with to see how they will fit with the team. Remember, assessments should never be more than 30% of your hiring decision and really is more of a tool on how to manage them if hired.
  • Keeping it legal, ask questions about their work style, how they interact with others, how they contribute, what they like and don’t like about current or past jobs. This will tell you a lot about how they will fit.

Bad hiring can be costly, detrimental to your reputation and hurt future recruitment so be sure to check all the boxes when hiring.

Laurie Kahn is the creator and founder of Media Staffing Network. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


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