key hiring and interview criteriaWhen you have great candidates waiting for the thumbs-up from you, making the right selection can be quite a conundrum even with a tried-and-trusted interview process. It’s natural to wonder if there’s an easier way.

But is there an exact science to hiring the smartest recruits, or even how to identify them at an interview? Are we, as human beings, wired to rely on our naturally ‘instinctive’ primal judgment – and is that the way forward?

In recent years, Google (whose recruitment processes are becoming the stuff of legend) adopted a questionnaire with 300 brain-teasers to identify any correlating or ‘scientific’ patterns that highlighted the attributes of a great employee.

However, after much crunching of numbers and random questions like ‘How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap?’, it turns out that the answer of whether hiring is an exact science may be a decidedly inexact ‘not yet’.

Going with your gut

If there are no scientifically proven metrics to predicting the success rate of any candidate, then we fall back on trial and error.

The best candidate chosen for the job is not always a guarantee for success in the workplace – and that’s the fear. That’s why making an instinctive assessment and professional evaluation are skills that you need to hone.

Are you asking the right questions?
This is key to revealing the candidate’s reliability, from their past and current employment, to ‘scenario’-based questions which gauge their level of responsiveness to any work situation.

Carefully chosen questions can also reveal a candidate’s values, ambition, and self-motivation – but be mindful that you’re looking for ways in which the candidate’s values align with your own, and with the wider company’s.

Read the book, not just the cover
As much as we stress the importance of presentation for interviews, we’ve had a few who steadfastly follow their own style rules (or lack thereof) no matter what.

Top candidates don’t always come wrapped in a fancy bow; it’s easy to give a candidate the boot when their appearance may undermine their credibility, but wait until you’ve fully assessed their abilities.

Not all hires work out – and that’s OK
It’s one of those sad realities of life we have to accept as employers. Despite our best efforts to make the right choice, we’re only human.

The ‘best’ candidates reveal their true colours over a period of time; if this happens, then it’s a simple case of learning from the experience and moving on. You want a recruit who will add value to the workplace, not make it a living nightmare!

Smells like team spirit
Introduce candidates to your team –after all, that’s who they’ll be sharing 8 hours a day with! It’s a great idea to get your team’s feedback at interview stage; if you’re judging on instinct it’s worth seeing if anyone else shares your fears or enthusiasm. You’ll know that you’re not dropping anyone wildly incompatible into a tight-knit team.