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7 Ways To Spot If An Interviewee Is Right For Your Team


by Phil White, Managing Director at Novell Coffee


Whether you’re sitting in the hot seat or interviewing your next prospective staff member, interviews can be tough. Unfortunately, there isn’t one clear-cut method for finding the perfect new addition to your team and everyone has their own methods when it comes to perfecting the process.

Each business has its own definition of “Googleyness”, but essentially, an interviewer is looking for candidates that for candidates who fit in with their team – and today, we’re taking you through ways to spot them.

1. Take time out with the team.

You need to know what it is your current team has to understand what is you would want from a new addition; so take time out to talk with your team before the interview. This will allow you to get a real understanding of what the business needs and make sure you’re clear on the qualities you would like to see before diving into the interview process. How can you make sure somebody is right for the team if you’re not even sure what ‘right’ looks like?

2. Look beyond the questions.

We mean this literally. Look up from your interview form and look at the interviewee. Body language can tell you a lot from a little, and can indicate whether the interviewee is ready for the role. Do they seem genuinely enthusiastic? Is their body language open and honest, or closed and evasive? Look beyond confidence and instead think about what qualities your current team have that make them shine.

3. Don’t limit yourself to a one-to-one.

As informative and worthwhile as it can be to have a one-to-one interview with a candidate, restricting yourself purely to this format can be risky. We’ve all been in the situation – a candidate performs well in their interview, but as soon as they start their job, it becomes clear that they weren’t suitable for the role from the get-go. Before you make the final decision, why not consider having the candidate meet with the team or department? Grab some hot drinks from the office coffee machine and take the chance to get to know them on a personal level. By setting them a few tasks from the job spec, you can build a better image of the candidate and be confident they’ll fit into the role and your team.

4. Ask informal questions.

No, that doesn’t mean you have to ask for their favourite colour Starburst. It does mean that you can ask questions that aren’t traditional, to give you a chance to build up a better picture of what they’ve done, where they’re at and where they’re going. This is a chance to round your perspective and decide if this person will be a good fit for your current team before you make any final decisions.

5. Ask around.

This might seem like a simple piece of advice, but the way a person interacts with other people will say a lot about whether they’ll be suited to your company. Did they have to sign in through reception? Did somebody make them a cup of coffee? Although these interactions might seem minor, they can provide an interviewer with insights beyond their own experience with the candidate. If the interviewee was rude to the receptionist or blunt and unfriendly to the coffee-maker, is this person going to fit in well with your team?

6. Discuss your company culture.

There’s no harm in discussing your culture with the candidate, as doing so can be beneficial in that it gives you the chance to find out if your culture ‘aligns’ with their views. Whether you ask about team interaction in their previous role or talk to them about your business’ social events, this will provide you with insight into their thoughts on spending time with the team.

7. Call the references.

When it comes to checking in with a candidate’s reference, it’s often easier to just pick up the phone. You should inform the reference that you would like to speak to them regarding the candidate and try and set up a 5-10 minute call to chat through any questions. Speaking to a reference over the phone allows you to hear their tone of voice, which can be more indicative than the words themselves. Take the chance to find out how well the interviewee worked in their team and how they contributed to the overall business objectives.

Ultimately, it’s up to the individual business to implement the interview tools and techniques that are suitable for the role, as there’s no one way to spot if an interviewee is right for your team – but with these 7 steps, you can keep risk to a minimum.


phil white

Phil White is Managing Director at Novell Coffee – bringing Nespresso compatible capsules to coffee lovers across the UK and beyond.

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