7 Ways to Identify a Good Candidate in an Interview

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7 Ways to Identify a Good Candidate in an Interview

Finding a perfect candidate for your company is not an easy feat. A lot more goes into ensuring you’ve found the right person than just confirming they have relevant experience. That’s why recruiters need to keep some guidelines in mind to identify a good candidate in an interview. 
According to research, recruiters stated that their biggest challenge in 2021 was assessing candidates during the interview. They weren’t sure what to look for or what to base their judgment on.

Do you want to overcome this common talent acquisition challenge? We’re here to help you with seven effective ways to identify a good candidate in an interview.

7 Tips to Identify a Good Candidate in an Interview

The HR department doesn’t have it easy. They have to think about the existing employees, show the company’s appreciation through thank you cards or personal gifts and ensure everyone’s satisfied. On top of that, they often must find new team members to help the company grow. This is where it gets especially difficult. 

On average, 118 people apply for one job posting. Recruiters have to review each application to find potential candidates who could be right for the job. They then have to interview those candidates and see if they are actually a good fit for the company. 

If you’re unsure how to approach this step, we’ve got you covered.

1. Read their body language

Body language tells you a lot about a candidate. Non-verbal cues can be as powerful as the words they say. They can show how interested a job seeker is in the position. You just have to pay attention to their:

  1. Gestures
  2. Arm movements
  3. Eye contact

An interested candidate will display enthusiasm. The mere chance of joining your company will excite them. These individuals will bring positive energy to the rest of the team. However, be cautious about jumping to conclusions about a candidate’s body language. If someone touches their hair for a moment, don’t eliminate them immediately. Perhaps their hair just got in the way!

2. Assess their skills

Candidates usually mention their skills in their resumes, and companies consider these skills while screening job seekers. But this isn’t enough—you must assess their skills in person. During the interview, talk about a candidate’s hard and soft skills. The former tells you about their technical knowledge, while the latter shows their personality traits. You want to know what they bring to the table and how they would fit in with other team members.

3. Analyze their experience

One study suggests that 64.5% of employers prefer that the candidates have relevant work experience. This can help potential new employees learn the ropes quickly and easily, which is why you should zero in on the candidate’s experience. Start by listing all the responsibilities a specific job position entails. You can then ask them if they performed similar duties in their previous companies.

It’s also important to go over their achievements. It’s one thing to know what they did and another thing to hear about the results they produced. Increasing brand awareness or driving more website traffic, for example, give you a good indication that the candidate is a hard worker. 

4. Ask them to solve a problem

It’s time to put the candidate’s experience and skills to the test. You want to know how they would perform under stress, so how should you go about this? Come up with a job-related situation and present issues they would face. Then, ask them to solve those problems to determine how good they are. There is no right or wrong answer here.

The point is to see which steps they would take to resolve an issue. Their suggestions should be logical and backed with reasonable explanations. They shouldn’t recommend a solution without knowing why it would work. This step helps you separate good candidates from bad ones. If a candidate has no solution for a problem you mentioned, you shouldn’t proceed with them.

5. Determine if they fit your company culture

Another important step is to decide whether the applicant would fit into the corporate culture. Hiring someone who has different values and attitudes than the rest of the team can be a huge mistake. Avoid this mistake by analyzing the candidate’s personality traits and values. See if they align with the company’s values.

You can determine if the candidate fits your company culture by asking them the following questions:

  1. Can you work under pressure?
  2. How do you handle tight deadlines?
  3. Which environment motivates you and makes you productive?
  4. Do you know how to prioritize tasks?
  5. Describe a situation in which you had to work under pressure.


6. Involve the relevant team

Remember—you’re not alone in the recruiting process. Talking to other people in your organization who have interacted with the applicant can also help you. They might point out the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. You might not have realized them yourself! Getting a second opinion ensures you make the right decision. Don’t think ill of yourself when you ask for help.

7. Ask yourself five questions

Let’s say that you can’t decide between two candidates. They both seem promising and show a willingness to learn. What should you do? You can answer five questions to determine which candidate is more suitable for the position. Those questions are:

  1. Does the candidate have relevant skills for the job?
  2. Are they willing to learn new skills?
  3. Do they fit your company culture?
  4. Are they easily managed?
  5. Do they seem enthusiastic about the job position?

Don’t just focus on the candidate’s skills and experience. They won’t tell you all there is to know about the applicant. Look for traits that show the candidate has the potential to grow within your company.


You can’t identify a good candidate just based on the resume. The applicant who looks good on paper may disappoint you in person. That’s why you should focus a lot of your resources and attention on the interview. Use this stage to ask the right questions, assess skills and find out the candidate’s values. If they tick all the boxes, you’ll know they are a good fit for your company.


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About the Author: David Wachs is the founder and CEO of Handwrytten - Handwriting Services for Brands. David is also a frequent speaker on messaging technology and has presented for the Direct Marketing Association, South By Southwest, and others.

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