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Quite often, by the time you are looking at a shortlist of CV’s, the candidates on paper will look great, and it can be difficult to differentiate between them. As the skills are likely to be quite similar, the decision will often come down to personality and attitude.

No matter how right the candidate is on paper, there is so much room for error with personality. Is this person going to fit into the team? What will they be like day-to-day?  Are they a born leader or someone who is going to get things done? Are they going to have a positive input on your business?

How do you deal with this? At interview, outside of skills based questions, to find out more about their personality there are questions and routes you can go through, such as asking about why they have left jobs and get examples of how they overcame adversity or difficult challenges. These are quite traditional questions that can be prepped for, so it’s really important to dig below the first answers, and although it may be uncomfortable ask those difficult questions.

There are little signifiers that can really help to find out more, like do they talk about “we” over “I” which can suggest what their team ethic is like. You may have to look at their style of response too. Are they on the defensive, uncomfortable or unconvincing when asked about how they deal with stressful situations? Do they put blame on others? What’s their body language like? Are they stressed when you are probing? You can also find positives too, such as if they respond in a positive way to difficult questioning – this can really show someone who has a positive approach to stressful situations.

Outside of a probing interview, another great way to find out more about a person is through online personality tests. In modern recruitment, there are many different types of test.  Often, the main focus of these are mainly to identify candidate traits. For example, are they a follower or do they like to lead and how dominant a leader they might be.  These tests can show strengths, weakness and approach to work. They can show a range personality types, scales of personality traits and what their dominant traits are.

So as a hiring manager, not only can you see what they are really like, if carried out with every member of the team you can build a picture of your team and how they will fit into this.  The tests normally will give insight into managing these people and teams. Some also delve into emotional intelligence which can be really useful too. You should look at using scientific tests based on principles of phycology and in-depth research that can help take put the gut instinct of an interview and build a consistent recruitment approach.

No matter what, any help that can be used to make the right hiring decisions should be used as generating a great team and positive work environment has to be one of the key priorities of any manager.

Louise Reed is a recruitment professional and is passionate about matching people to their dream jobs.

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