The hunt to find, attract, and secure quality talent for your organization can be grueling.

Once you have gone through the challenges of identifying and talking with 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 PrimePay’s Talent Acquisition Managers offered their insight below.

Advice for your future employee:

Talent Acquisition Manager, Erin Murphree, shares the following:

Avoid asking 'yes' or 'no' questions.  Ask a question where the interviewer can provide 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?
  • What is the company culture, and what is the 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.

If you are arriving to an in-person interview, be welcoming to all you interact with. Show your interest in the company and the role. If you are attending a virtual interview, be punctual, courteous, attentive, and confident. Dress the part as you would if you were attending an in-person interview.

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 address the question that is being asked.

Showcase that you did research on the company and on the interviewer as well. Most business professionals have a LinkedIn page.  Note during the interview something specific that you saw on their LinkedIn profile. This may 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).  Base this on 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. If virtual, ask for their contact information.

Advice for the employer:

There are three key things to look for 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 your organization and what you do?
  • Did the candidate prepare relevant questions pertaining to the company, position, environment, etc.?
  • Did the candidate close in on their interest in the position and follow up with a thank you note?

Talent Acquisition Manager, Daria Wick, shares the following:

During an interview process, attitude is everything. While having adequate work experience is important, it is equally as important to hire someone who brings drive, positivity, and integrity to the organization.  I’m a firm believer in hiring for attitude and training for skill.  Additionally, having a balance of professionalism and personality is critical, especially in client-facing roles such as sales or client service.

Second, it’s crucial to hire candidates who truly want OUR job, not just any job. How has the candidate proven their interest in the role and what they can bring to the organization?  Look out for candidates who do solid research on the company prior to the interview, ask detailed questions during the interview, and can clearly articulate their interest in the role after the interview.   

Lastly, listen closely to candidates as they’re reviewing their work experience. Instead of going into detail about the shortcomings of each company they left or why they are unhappy in their current role, quality candidates focus on what made them stand out or how they’ve grown professionally from each position. Examples of that may include details surrounding large deals closed, exceeding quota, taking on a team leadership role, or involvement in a special project.

Whether you’re a small business owner with no hiring expertise or an HR professional who needs a refresher on critical interview skills to look out for in today’s market, there’s something everyone can take away from the discussion.  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.

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Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding specific application of the information to your own plan.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.