The hunt to secure quality talent for your small business is grueling. In fact, according to a recent study, 42 percent of small businesses listed hiring new employees as their biggest challenge.

So once you’ve gone through the stress of even sourcing candidates that might be a good fit, how do you determine which ones are the real deal? What behaviors should you look out for that make qualified candidates stick out?

Two of our Talent Acquisition Managers offered their insight below. If a candidate carries themselves in these ways, don’t let them go.

Advice for your future employee:

Talent Acquisition Manager Erin Murphree says this -

Avoid asking 'yes' or 'no' questions.  Ask a question where the interviewer can tell you detailed information.

Here are some examples:

  • What’s a percentage breakdown of the role for each task?
  • How will I be measured for success in this role?
  • Ask about company culture and also department dynamic.
  • How long is the average tenure in your department/ company?
  • What type of training process is there in place?
  • Are there any hesitations on moving forward with me in the process?  If so, what are they?

Behaviors & actions.

When you first arrive to an interview, be welcoming to the receptionist. Show your interests in the company and the role. Have small talk.

Listening is a key part to any interview process for both the candidate and interviewer.  The candidate must be prepared to listen and answer all questions.  Try not to go off topic and to steer completely away from a question that is being asked.

Not only show that you did research on the company but on the interviewer as well. Most business professionals have a LinkedIn page.  Connect with them and do your research on the person. Note during the interview something specific that you saw on their LinkedIn profile. This will impress the interviewer.

Sometimes an interview process can be long, but make sure to come to each interview prepared with questions for the interviewer.

Close the interview. Explain why you are the best candidate for the role (if you think you are).  Go off of what you learned from the job description and the interview.  Point out certain attributes that they described that they are looking for and what you have. Always follow up with a thank you email to each individual.  Ask for a business card.

Advice for you, the employer:

Talent Acquisition Manager Daria Wick says -

During an interview process, I believe that attitude is everything. While having adequate work experience may be important to some, it is much more important to hire someone who brings drive, positivity, and enthusiasm to the table. 

Does the candidate want just any job, or do they want the one I have to offer?  This is crucial to look for. Having a nice balance of professionalism and personality is so important, especially in customer-facing roles such as sales or customer service.

Three key things.

I look for three key things while interviewing candidates for an open position.  If a candidate takes the initiative to do these during an interview process, it is sure to set them apart from the rest:

  • Is the candidate familiar with our company and what we do here? 
  • Did the candidate prepare relevant questions pertaining to the company, position, environment, etc.?
  • Did the candidate close me on their interest in the position and follow up with a thank you note?

It’s truly important for the candidate to focus on why they are a rock star and what they can bring to a new organization.

Focus on the positive.

Listen closely to the candidate. Instead of going into detail about the shortcomings of each company the person left or why they are unhappy in their current role, they should focus on what made them stand out. Examples of that may include how they’ve exceeded quota consistently, closed a large deal, took on a leadership role within the team, or even how they’ve grown professionally from each experience they’ve had.  

Whether you’re a small business owner with no hiring expertise or an HR professional who needs a refresher on killer interview skills to look out for in today’s market, there’s something everyone can take away from this.  If you come out of an interview with a potential new employee and they’ve asked thoughtful questions, impressed you with knowledge about your business and done it all with a great attitude, you’ve got a great candidate on your hands.

Ready to hire? Let PrimePay’s HR Advisory answer any of those questions you might have and help you with policies to run your business more efficiently. PrimePay payroll clients get HR Advisory for free, but upgrading to the advanced version is only $25/month. Fill out the form below to get started.