Wednesday 31 August 2016 6:30 am

Five ways to weed out bad job candidates at interview

Tom Welsh is City A.M.'s business features editor.

Tom Welsh is City A.M.'s business features editor.

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Searching for the ideal candidate for a job can be a long and drawn-out process and making sure they are the right fit for the company is a challenge.

Once you have narrowed down the search process by looking through hundreds of CVs, there is still the task of meeting them face to face and deciding if that person is the one for your company. The person you hire can potentially cause problems for your business, so it is important that you get a complete understanding of a candidate before making your decision.

Here are some tips for companies searching for their perfect candidate:

Be realistic

Once you have invited them in for an interview, make sure you are realistic in your expectations of what the ideal candidate is. Have a clear outline of the role at hand and a set of criteria of what you are looking for.

You want someone who will blend in well with the company and bring something new to the table. By having these answers in your mind prior to the interview, you will be in a much better position to judge if someone is the right fit.

Build your way up to the tough questions

At the beginning of an interview, it always helps to ask the candidate about themselves to give them a chance to relax and feel more at ease. Once you have got them relaxed, move onto short, quick-fire questions to test the candidate’s general knowledge and get a snapshot of their interests – you can be as creative as you like.

Read more: The many Garys of 2013, and the UK's nine other hardest interview questions

By engaging with the candidate in a more personal way, you will be able to get stronger, more concise answers when it comes to the more probing questions.

Give them real-life scenarios

To gauge a candidate’s reaction to high pressured situations, it is always important to give them real-life scenarios.

In my company, I am forever multitasking and organising people, so if my mobile rings, I have to answer it – regardless of the situation I am in. I tend to answer my phone during an interview, as the reaction of the interviewee can be very telling. If they are taken aback and can’t recover, then they are not the right fit for me.

Ask surprising questions

When preparing for an interview, candidates rehearse their answers to the standard interview questions: what’s your biggest achievement? How do you work in a team?

Read more: How to nail a job interview: Why your first 12 words are crucial

To keep the candidate on their toes and to get an honest answer, try asking them questions that might surprise them. A question such as “What keeps you up at night?” allows you to take note of not only their answers, but their body language and reaction to pressure too.

Look beyond the CV

When people are determined to stand out on paper, they have to pick and choose the facts they put down about themselves. Try and look beyond CVs and ask them what else they can tell you about themselves.

You will be spending the majority of your days with this person, so you need to make sure that they have a personality that matches well with your team. By asking them about their interests outside of work and their role models, you will get a better picture of the type of person the candidate is and whether they will fit well with the company.