Are You Making It Too Easy For Candidates To Toot Their Own Horn?

Blog located in Hiring & Employment posted on

When you’re busy and have only a limited amount of time for each interview it’s easy to either rely too much on only a candidate’s answers, or only on your gut feeling. The best hires are made when you look at the whole picture: how an individual answers your questions, their behaviour, how you feel about them as well as how they answered to the assessment questions.

Here are a few techniques you can use as a guide to help you gain insight on a candidate beyond his or her ability to toot their own horn.

The Curveball

The curveball interview question helps you determine the flexibility of the individuals and how they handle surprise situations. After all, things don’t always go as planned and you need to hire people capable to react fast and well.

During the interview, you can choose to arrive late and see how the candidate reacts. Or you can keep silent a few seconds after the candidate answers your questions. That silence will most probably make that candidate feel uncomfortable. How he fills that silence can provide insight as to how confident the candidate is in his or her response.

Try to balance that curveball behaviour with being very professional the rest of the interview. You don’t want to give the wrong impression of your business.

Listening Carefully To The Candidate’s Questions

Another indication of whether a candidate is the right fit for your business can be found in their questions to you. Questions can express interest or disinterest, excitement or cynicism, critical thinking or inattention. For example, if they ask questions to which you’ve already provided answers, then it might suggest they don’t pay attention or are not great with details. However, it could also mean that they have a bad memory, which isn’t (always) as serious. Analysing candidates’ questions can provide valuable insight into their professional character, but use your judgement as to what their questions signify.

Be Attentive To Their Behaviour Before And After The Interview

Most candidates are at their best behaviour during an interview, but not all are aware that the interview begins the second they walk through your door and only ends when they leave the building. How he or she treats the receptionist or any administrative staff they meet can indicate how they treat their colleagues. How early or late they arrive can indicate how reliable they are. Do they remain professional even after the interview is formally over, or do they become too casual? Their behaviour after an interview can give you insight as to how they might act in your business.

Beware Of The Distortion Range When Reviewing The Results Of An Assessment

Most candidates will try to distort their answers when asked to complete an assessment. This is why there is such thing as distortion “within an acceptable range”. When considering the answers provided by the candidate and measuring him or her against the job profile, beware of the distortion. If the distortion is beyond the acceptable range, it might mean the candidate did not respond honestly and tried to manipulate the assessment. If this is the case for a candidate you interviewed, it might translate into not being authentic at his job and you might not be able to trust him or her.

An interview is a dynamic meeting that grants you multiple opportunities to evaluate a candidate. A candidate’s answers to your questions are important, but are only one opportunity for assessment. Candidates’ actions before, during and after an interview as well as how they answer to questions assessing their ability to do the job, also tell you a lot about their personality and professionalism. Use every tool you can to make the best possible hire; look beyond the actual answers to your questions. Don’t make it easy for them by allowing them to toot their own horn.


If you are a small business and would like to stop losing time and money on future hiring mistakes, tweet me on TWITTER, like me on FACEBOOK join me on LINKED IN – and let’s talk. Check our Human Resources Consulting services . We are Human Resources Specialists.


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