Interview tips: how to spot the ideal candidate for your team

Phil White
Managing Director | Novell Coffee
27th March 2017

When it comes to company culture, nothing is more important than the team that’s running your business. From operational staff to CEOs, every member of a working team plays an integral role in the success of the company - and your interview process will be crucial in helping you to hire the next employee for your business.

During an interview, it can be easy to become preoccupied with an impressive CV and great communication skills, but you this could lead to you hiring the wrong person for the job. Today, we’re exploring how you can look beyond qualifications and interview skills to help you spot the ideal candidate for your team.

Hold an informal interview

Formal interviews are a great way to assess a potential employee’s skills and have a professional conversation about the potential role in the business - but whether you hold a separate interview or simply extend your original one, it’s well worth considering a more informal approach. An open-forum interview within a working office environment will put candidates at ease and give them an opportunity to see how the team works - making this a highly insightful approach when it comes to finding the best fit for your team.

Give them an impromptu task

If you want to see how a candidate performs under pressure, prepare a task for them to complete during their interview slot and watch how they work. Regardless of your industry, you’ll be able to review the work they’ve carried out and compare it with their application form, CV and interview answers - allowing you to ensure you’re covering all areas when it comes to hiring the right person.

Introduce them to the team

It’s often the people in charge who make the decisions when it comes to hiring staff, and this means that your team generally don’t meet their new colleague until their first day in the office. One way to test the chemistry between existing and prospective members of staff is to have them meet as soon as possible. Whether you choose to go around the office and introduce each person and their role (which is likely to prove impractical in a large company) or sit the whole team down around the office coffee machine for an informal meet-and-greet, this is a great way to get your team’s perspective on a potential employee.

Ask insightful questions

All too often, interviewers focus on standard questions and gain little insight into the person they’re looking to employ. While some businesses go to extremes when it comes to finding out more about a candidate’s personality, it often pays to think outside the box and get creative when interviewing a potential team member. Whether you’re interested in knowing more about their previous job roles, why they want to leave their current position or what they see their job title being in five years time, use your face-to-face interview time with them to find out the things that will really benefit your business.

Open the floor to them

While most managers will ask candidates at the end of an interview if they have any questions, it’s an important not to miss an opportunity for candidates to raise any concerns or gain a greater understanding of the way your business works. During the application process, consider asking interviewees to come prepared with a handful of questions. This way, you’ll gain valuable insight into what motivates them and what they’re keen to learn about your business.

Let them join a team meeting

Now that they’ve had a chance to meet your current employees, why not provide further insight into the way your business works by having candidates sit in on a team meeting? While we’re not suggesting you go out of your way to fit in unplanned team meetings every time you speak to a new candidate, if their interview coincides with your team’s morning get-together, this is a perfect opportunity for them to see how the business runs on a day-to-day basis. This will also afford you an opportunity to ask questions afterwards and find out exactly what they took away from the meeting.

Explain your company culture

While some businesses take their culture very seriously, others simply leave their team members to their own devices. Whatever your approach, there’s no denying that company culture matters. From teaching applicants the protocol for calling in sick to filling them in on monthly team nights out, offering candidates an insight on team dynamics will help them to determine whether the role is the right fit for them. Don’t forget: while you’re assessing their skills, they’ll also be deciding whether this is the best career choice for them - so make sure you’re painting your company in the best light.

When it comes to choosing the next member of your team, it’s important you look beyond the basic skills in order to find the best fit for your business - and armed with these top interview tips, when you’re next recruiting, you’ll be ready!

About the author

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


Do you want to join the conversation?

Sign up here
  • Feeling inspired?

    We have helped hundreds of businesses to grow and succeed, now it's your turn! Discover what support is available and start your business journey today.

  • Subscribe to our enterprise newsletter

    Register today to subscribe to our monthly enterprise newsletter, filled with the latest news, events, blogs and guides for entrepreneurs and business owners in the South West. Just select 'starting a business' as your area of interest.