Talent Acquisition

Time to Get Personal: How to Get the Most Out of a Candidate’s First Interview

Traitify was founded in 2011 after my co-founder had an awkward blind date. We realised just how much first interactions rely on intangibles like “chemistry” for conversation and relationship-building to occur. But what if the parties were pre-equipped with information before that first interaction to ensure relationship-building could happen? Wouldn’t that set a better foundation for chemistry to develop over time?

Fast forward to 2013 and I watch as the same reliance on these intangibles surface in job interviews across around the world.

The mere fact that job interviews are difficult to navigate is baffling given modern technology and science. Today’s employers have access to a candidate’s confirmed work history, social media profiles, references, and a host of other data by which to make informed decisions. Yet most employers still choose to use one-size-fits-all interview scripts. No wonder second dates aren’t common in the interview world.

Last week, we discussed how employers can engage in conversation with job searchers much earlier in their application process. Why not build on the information gathered there to tailor-make interviews for applicants you’ve spent so much time screening?

Modern personality assessments like the Big Five Personality Inventory can accurately measure a person’s Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Emotional Stability. These dimensions map directly onto core work competencies, giving interviewers a sense of who the candidate is before ever speaking to them.

[Related: Behavioural Interviewing Questions & Templates]

Putting this into practice, if your candidate scores high on Extraversion, ask for examples of times they’ve needed to work by themselves on an important task. If they score low on Agreeableness, place extra emphasis on exploring their interaction with teammates.

It’s important to note that scoring “high” or “low” does not mean “good” or “bad”. For example, a “low” score on Conscientiousness simply means a candidate prefers a flexible work style, and should be prompted to highlight how they go about problem-solving. Those scoring high on Emotional Stability can be asked to describe their resilience through tough situations.

Bypass cookie-cutter exploratory questions and allocate precious time to dive deeper into an applicant’s preferences, strengths, challenges, and ideal work environments. Enter the interview with a plan to explore their individual and unique personality (feel free to use our interview guide as a resource).

Employers who do this right are explicit about having done their homework. Do not shy away from statements like “Your results suggest you prefer…” This transparency not only allows for more engaged conversations, but gives interviewees a sense that the employer took their time to get to know them.

Naturally, none of this information will be at your fingertips unless you’ve started a job seeker’s experience with an assessment. If you’re curious, try Tratify’s Big Five assessment for yourself and discover what kind of insights you could be gathering on your next candidate.

Dan Sines is the chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Traitify, the world’s leading provider of visual personality assessments. An entrepreneur to the core, Dan is driven to create unique and personalised experiences in all aspects of life. Traitify is the pioneer of visual personality assessments, allowing for psychology and big data to mix via quick, accurate, and accessible personality science.

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