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For those of you who have interviewed people. What do you look for in a candidate?

(93 Posts)
Only27 Sun 26-Feb-17 18:50:50

For those of you who have been hiring manangera or have been on an interview panel. What do you look for? How quickly do you decide if someone is getting a job? And what are the most/least impressive things a candidate has done?

I find that some interviews I absolutely nail it. I'm greeted with warm smiles as I walk in and the interview is more like a chat.

Other times I'm met with cold stares and everything I say never even raises a smile.

I don't think I act differently in the ones I did well at and the ones I didn't. feedback given has never been helpful.

So what did/do you look for?

mcem Sun 26-Feb-17 18:58:02

Relevant experience and qualifications.
Appropriate level of communication.
Ability to work in a team.

Anya Sun 26-Feb-17 19:32:40

All of those plus emotional intelligence. It also helps if they are telling the truth on their application. I asked four short-listed candidates to complete a very simple exercise on Excel (listed under 'essential' requirement) only one could do it, despite claiming efficiency on their application hmm

NanaandGrampy Sun 26-Feb-17 19:35:27

Experience, qualifications, good fit for the team I was hiring for.
Good communication skills, relevant skills.

And that certain indescribable something . I always liked to work with people I liked . It made for a good cohesive team .

Never been taken in by thinking your having a 'chat' , you are always under scrutiny .

Only27 Sun 26-Feb-17 19:54:47

Thanks everyone. Most times I feel like the moment I sit down they've decided whether or not to hire me.

I know straight away if I'm doing well.

I often wonder what on earth they decided it on!

stillaliveandkicking Sun 26-Feb-17 20:23:14

Someone I know will fit in with my team and i like. Not too fussed on mega qualifications to be honest.

Gagagran Sun 26-Feb-17 20:35:33

I recruited a lot of clerical staff for Civil Service positions in the 1980s and 90s. The worst candidate, who I very clearly recall, was a chap who, when asked what he liked to do in his spare time, leered across the desk and said "Oh I like to watch video nasties and blue movies. I bet you like them too". He wasn't offered a job.confused

paddyann Sun 26-Feb-17 20:45:25

we always say that its 80% attitude and 20% aptitude in our business so enthusiasm and people skills first someone who communicates well,then we'll check portfolios for technical knowhow and artistic ability .They can come straight from uni with a degree in photography and be clueless about dealing with the public ,wedding photography is all about how you control the day and keep to schedules while all the time getting the best results possible under the most difficult circumstances.We've had brilliant staff over our 40 years in business ,many who have gone on to fantastic careers and most keep in touch with us ,even the ones who moved to the other side of the world .Now we're winding down with a view to retire in the next couple of years so we're back to just the two of us ,just how we started.Its been fun ,wouldn't change a thing

phoenix Sun 26-Feb-17 20:48:22

I expect that as a Social Worker you have considerable experience of making interview decisions from the other side of the table, so to speak.

Could be wrong, often am.

Ankers Sun 26-Feb-17 20:54:14

Suitablility for the post.
How long you think they plan on staying at the job?

I think you can tell fairly quickly how suitable an applicant they are. 1/3 way through the interview?

Only27 Sun 26-Feb-17 21:02:36

For some reason I seem to find it's almost instant. They decided very quickly win me. When I'm not nervous I excel but when I am it really shows.

Thanks for the replies.

How soon do most of you decide?

I think part of the problem is how important cultural fit is. And all places have a different culture. Some will like you, others won't.

stillaliveandkicking Sun 26-Feb-17 21:02:57

Im also in the childcare industry and employ by the way I see them interact with the kids. It's something you can't get a level or degree in.. Its so simple. I can see it a mile off.

stillaliveandkicking Sun 26-Feb-17 21:05:05

I also believe that anyone that doesn't fit into our culture isn't to be employed.

MawBroon Sun 26-Feb-17 21:12:07

Depends what you mean by "our culture"??

GrandmaMoira Sun 26-Feb-17 21:22:08

Where I worked before I retired, there were strict rules and forms to be completed on the candidates' suitability and the one who came top overall in all the categories listed had to be the one employed. However, sometimes there is an idefinable something about the person that is either really wrong or really right and you know if they will fit or not.

stillaliveandkicking Sun 26-Feb-17 21:25:50

Message deleted by Gransnet. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MawBroon Sun 26-Feb-17 21:34:05

That sounds like illegal discrimination SAAK
I'd be wary of recommending something which breaks the law.

whitewave Sun 26-Feb-17 21:38:43

Wow saak that is illegal and might get zapped

suzied Sun 26-Feb-17 21:46:57

Would you refuse to interview someone if they had a foreign sounding name? People can be arrested for that.

NanaandGrampy Sun 26-Feb-17 22:37:29

When I talk of cultural fit I don't mean ethnicity I mean tge culture of the organisation.

For instance financial institutions culture is very different from a high tech organisation or even a not for profit.

JessM Sun 26-Feb-17 22:58:40

Only27 I've interviewed alongside a large number of managers. Some of them are good at interviewing. They Know how to set a candidate at ease, they know what questions help candidates to do their best and they treat everyone equally.
Unfortunately there are lots of hopeless, clueless, inept people out there who do just the opposite. It's not you. They are useless interviewers.
I think my particular favourite is the guy who veered off our list of carefully planned questions by chirping up, at the start of the interview "You say on your application that you have good attention to detail, but there are grammatical and spelling mistakes in your application. What have you got to say about that?"
Sometimes they are prejudiced. I once had a boss who was prejudiced against women who did not wear makeup - and people who did not polish their shoes And sometimes they have a favourite candidate lined up.
I remember years ago, when I was working in the health service a friend/colleague went for an interview as head of HR in a hospital. She was the best candidate but she didn't get the job. She felt she'd 'done a bad interview" The woman who did had a background in catering and my friend felt better when it transpired that the successful applicant had been having an affair with the boss of the hospital.
However some people are skilled at being interviewed if you are going to lots of interviews, treat each one as practice at improving your skills at being interviewed.
Look at the Person Specification and think of an example of how you meet each of the criteria
e.g. If one said "able to work on own initiative" think of an example (or make one up) and find an opportunity to talk about it during the interview.
Also try to manage your body language. Turn up looking suitable for the role your applying for. Clean and shiny from top to toe. Shake hands firmly Sit up straight, smile at the interviewers and try to appear energetic and cheerful.
Finally, remember that you don't want to work for an organisation that does not take the trouble to recruit carefully and respectfully. They've got to like you, and you've got to like them. So if they are useless interviewers shrug off the experience because you didn't want to work for them anyway, did you.
Good luck

Only27 Sun 26-Feb-17 23:10:23

Thanks JessM.

I think how friendly the interviewers are has a massive impact on me. If they're warm and friendly I will do well as I will feel at ease quickly.

But most have been very cold and rude, even looking at their watch mid way! And that makes me very nervous and affects my performance.

Where I'm only interviewed by one person I've NEVER not got the job/course place/internship.

Jalima Sun 26-Feb-17 23:30:16

They may need someone who has the ability to act calmly and instantly to unusual situations so questions could be unusual and not the type of routine questions often asked at interviews - they could be watching to see if you get flustered.

On the other hand, if you need someone to stick very strictly to the rules and not deviate from a prescribed course of action then a couple of questions which would tell you how they would carry out a certain task would indicate whether they would adhere to the rules or take chances (which could be a disaster in certain jobs).

Granny23 Sun 26-Feb-17 23:40:01

Over my working life I sat on a variety of selection panels and believe the most important attribute for an interviewee is that they are genuine. Nothing is more off-putting than someone who is trying to be something they are not and giving what they believe are the answers we want to hear. The hardest part, from an interviewers point of view, is when you have two or more excellent candidates and only one job available.

As to 'tick the box' interviewing, I was twice involved in interviews where none of the panel took to the highest scoring candidate. In both cases this was because they presented as overbearing know it alls. The first time we were only using a template borrowed from another organisation as an experiment, so we were able to add an additional 'Like-ability' category to the scoring which enabled us to appoint the previously second placed candidate who turned out to be perfect for the job. On the second occasion we were interviewing for a Local Authority funded post and had therefore no choice but to appoint the highest scoring candidate. This was for a 3 year Project Co-ordinator Post - she did remain for the whole three years but failed to engage meaningfully with the other agencies, or complete the work within the time scale. However representatives of the various agencies involved banded together and completed the Project successfully (and quickly) on an unpaid basis such that the time and public money was not entirely wasted.

Ankers Mon 27-Feb-17 07:02:18

If an interviewer looks at their watch mid way, I would say they are bored.

In some interviews, the interviewer can already have decided which person they are interviewing is their preferred candidate. The rest is about going through the motions.

This happens often in my opinion.