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Hiring the best vs. hiring the best interviewer

Many hiring managers will have come across this:

  • You interview somebody
  • You think they’re amazing in the interview so you hire them
  • Then you regret it

What went wrong? You assumed that because they performed well at the interview, they would perform well in the job. Equally, you may have dismissed other applicants for performing badly in the interview, assuming they would perform badly in the job.

This begs the question, is the traditional interview a true test of whether someone can do a job or not? Some candidates get very nervous in interview situations and completely mess them up even though they could easily do the job. Others are very confident in interviews but when they come to work they don’t have any of the skills or mindset they said they had and turn out to be a complete let down.

How can we address this?

Getting to know a candidate in an interview setting is a useful way of assessing culture fit, testing their knowledge and seeing how they respond under pressure but there are lots of other factors you can base your decision on to avoid hiring people who just happen to be good at interviews. Below are some of the different assessment tools you can employ to get a more rounded evidence-based view on whether a candidate is the best for the role rather than just the best at interviews.

Video applications

These let you ask candidates a few standard questions to get a sense of their personality and experience, but also lets them re-record their answers if they get nervous or mess up. A very useful tool to save time doing face to face interviews as they last about 3-5 minutes and help with that instant yes/no decision any hiring manager has made after meeting someone face to face.

Psychometric profiling

You can produce tests to assess a candidate’s abilities in multiple different areas and find out what kind of person they are. By using scientific tools, you can profile your current workforce and identify trends and character traits which your workforce has. This will highlight the qualities and personalities of your workforce and you can test for these traits for future employees to ensure your new recruit will fit the team they are joining and have the ability to do the job. These can normally be completed in about 10 minutes by the applicant and can be very revealing.

Assessment centres

This is an opportunity to get multiple candidates in one place at one time and assess them in a controlled environment. You can see how well they work with other people and how they solve problems under pressure and in different scenarios. You can also compare many applicants in one place at one time so you make sure you get the best people on the day so this can be a much faster way to evaluate the masses and make calculated recruitment decisions on who to employ whilst you are presented with all the applicants at the same time.

Work Task

You can ask the candidate to do part or all of a task that they will be doing in the role to assess how they get on. By giving them a realistic example of a task for the position they are applying for and then having them complete it this should demonstrate their abilities and skills by completing the task. Thus actually testing them on how well they could do the job or certainly part of it. You can also get the candidate to shadow someone already doing the job and see how they get on with them.

Skills Testing

These include verbal and numerical reasoning, computer skills and 100s more specific skills tests. They are useful for almost any type of role and you can even conduct a range of tests to qualify candidate’s abilities for different tasks. These are very useful as they offer excellent evidence based support to any hire and test specific skills which are relevant to the job being recruited for.

Telephone Interviewing

It’s always good as an early stage in any interview process to include a quick telephone interview. These can save lots of wasted time and help with roles especially where location may be a challenge. With a structured competency-based telephone interview you will be able to see how they conduct themselves on the phone and how they answer job-related questions on the spot. These can last from 5 minutes to well over an hour but it’s always worth setting a candidate’s expectations on this front upfront. A great way to gain some useful insights into a candidate and can save lots of wasted time conducting face to face interviews with candidates who would clearly not be suitable following a quick chat.

Panel Interviewing

These involve multiple interviewers (who can be made up of anyone in your company) asking questions in a structured format to individual candidates. It is always a good idea to have someone who is doing the job or the future line manager to sit on the panel as they can ask job-specific questions and also feel as though their input has been recognised which will help embed any new starter. These are useful as a number of interviewers can give their views of the candidate and you can get a more balanced assessment of the candidates, hopefully leading to better hires.

Not all of these options will be suitable for every position but the right combination can give you a much better understanding of who to hire, improving the quality of your staff and reducing staff turnover rates.



At staff-finda, we pride ourselves on the wide range of services we offer to help you pick the very best people for your business. You can find out more at on our services page or just call us on 01962 676214 and we will be happy to help!

If you would like to speak to the Finda team about this topic or something else, please get in touch.

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