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Unmasking the Interviewee

Effective Strategies to Ascertain Candidate Character

Delving Beyond the Curriculum Vitae 

Interviews have long been the traditional route to understanding a potential employee’s character. However, merely depending on generic questions may not provide the level of insight needed to make an informed decision. It is crucial to craft a strategic approach that focuses on revealing how a candidate’s personality may influence their work. 

In an era where soft skills are held in high esteem, it’s the way candidates apply their knowledge, their ability to collaborate with others, and their creativity that often provides the most significant insights into their character. These areas, when probed with tact and skill, can reveal facets of an interviewee’s character that might not be immediately apparent from their CV.

The Art of Questioning 

One proven technique is to ask candidates to explain how they have handled specific scenarios in the past. For example, “Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate on a project with a difficult coworker?” Such questions not only demonstrate a candidate’s problem-solving skills but also shed light on their teamwork and interpersonal abilities.

Another effective method involves presenting non-traditional or hypothetical situations and asking candidates to come up with solutions. This strategy probes their creative thinking skills and flexibility. For instance, ask, “Imagine you are stranded on a deserted island and have a smartphone with internet access. How would you use it to help yourself?” The responses to such queries can reveal the candidate’s ability to think outside the box and adapt to unconventional circumstances. 

Furthermore, to get a sense of how candidates apply their knowledge, ask them to demonstrate their skills practically. For example, if you’re hiring for a sales role, ask them to sell you a pen. This strategy helps understand their thought processes, persuasion techniques, and the way they handle pressure.

Observing and Interpreting 

Aside from well-crafted questions, a significant part of understanding a candidate’s character is observing their non-verbal cues. How do they react under stress? Do they maintain eye contact? How do they handle moments of silence? These subtle cues often provide a more profound understanding of a candidate’s character and confidence level than their spoken words.

In conclusion, ascertaining an interviewee’s character is a blend of art and science. It involves asking the right questions, interpreting answers, and keen observation. By focusing on revealing a candidate’s soft skills, problem-solving abilities, creativity, and interpersonal skills, employers can gain a deeper understanding of their potential fit within the organisation. This approach ensures that the hiring process remains objective, comprehensive, and effective, ultimately leading to stronger teams and successful businesses.

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