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Often it happens that a candidate turns out to be just the opposite of what he sounded like during the interview session. Those times can be disappointing. So, what should one look for in candidates while interviewing them? How can recruiters fine-tune their recruitment process? Convention says to look for the most skilled and competent professionals out there. But, employers are realizing that skilled individuals are no longer a rare commodity — it’s the right individuals who are hard to find.

People tend to exaggerate things a little in order to sound impressive during the interview to get hired. It is the interviewer’s responsibility to read between the lines and use his judgement wisely. Having interviewed hundreds of candidates in my career, I can say confidently that a piece of paper (curriculum vitae) listing out a candidate’s professional achievements and credentials is not enough to base your judgement on.

Goal-oriented individuals

How much a person has achieved so far in his career has never been the biggest influence to me. I am always on the lookout for individuals who are driven by the need to grow. Let’s face it — it is the motivation that gets things done. If I am not motivated enough to make ends meet and grow as a person, I probably won’t even get up in the morning, dress-up, and go to work. Motivation is the life force that gets people going. If this is missing, there is no question of self-growth and development.

Ask about what drives the person ahead. One may expect to hear fancy and exaggerated answers to that! But when you hear a genuine answer, trust me, you would know it. In the end, go with what your gut says, because your gut usually tells right. Questions like ‘where do you see yourself in five years from now’, are cliches. People come prepared for such questions. The focus of interviewer should be to know how the applicant plans on achieving his goals; not just in theory, but in practicality. If I don’t have a roadmap prepared for something, it simply means I don’t really want that thing. If the candidate is really driven, he should be able to tell in a heartbeat, what practical steps he is taking to make his career dreams a reality.

Easy-going personality

Professionalism comes naturally to those who have a pleasing and friendly disposition. Friendly people are not only able to preserve harmony in their personal relationships, but they enjoy equally rewarding relations at work too. It’s because of this trait that they find it easier to stick with one company for a long time.

Look for people with easy going personality, because eventually they are ones who will create the overall work culture of the place. Those who think indifferently are not really going to make any positive contribution in creating a likeable workplace. Besides, such people often have a hard time adapting themselves in times of crisis. Professionals who are not difficult to deal with are always an asset for the company.

Willingness to learn

Learning never stops, and those who realize it can add a lot of value to the company as well as their own growth. So, don’t just look for what the person already knows about his field. I mean, experience and knowledge are definitely important, but that’s not all that matters. Look for the person’s willingness to grow and excel.

Compile a list of questions helpful in gaining insight on a person’s eagerness to learn and hone his skills. Anyone can achieve anything. They just have to want it bad enough. Find ways to look for that ‘want’ factor during the interview. A candidate may be extremely knowledgeable, but if he is not ready to grow, he would find it hard to process criticism positively. People unwilling to learn create a barrier for themselves that hinders their growth and the learning become stagnant. Look for people who are keen on their own betterment.


Imagination is more powerful than knowledge. I totally resonate with this quote. If a candidate lacks imagination, get this — he/she would find it hard to maintain originality in work. Today companies are in dire need of people who are capable of coming up with what we call ‘out of the box ideas’.

Ask questions that compel the person to come out of his comfort zone. It doesn’t matter how silly the questions are; as long as they help you gauge into a person’s creativity and ability to think differently, you are good to go. Come up with interesting and quirky scenarios and ask the person how he or she will respond in those situations. Not only such questions help break the ice, but they also allow the interviewer to see just how uniquely the person can think.

The only way to narrow your choices down to just the right candidates is to gauge the authenticity of their answers. Go for certain facial cues and overall body language to assess the overall genuineness of the candidate.

Eventually, just follow your heart!

Originally published at

Written by

Chief Marketing Officer@ProofHub. Featured writer on LinkedIn. Contributor at Elearning Industry, Dzone, Your Story and

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