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How To Differentiate Between Two Great Candidates

Let's assume that you have two candidates, who have both shown that they have the necessary skills to excel at the role for which you are recruiting. You will already have a whole set of questions that you ask to help the candidate reveal their interests, personality and hobbies and this will help you assess how well they will fit into the existing team dynamic.

However, we always like to have a deliberate left-field, curve ball of a question up our sleeve. For example, if we ask a candidate to explain the football offside rule, the one answer we are not expecting is a perfect word for word explanation of this rule. In fact, a correct answer would actually defeat the object of the question.

Answers such as "I hate football", "Dunno", "Not interested in sport" etc. are closed and could be perceived as negative answers. Far more impressive answers would be "Oh, that's tricky but I'll have a go…" or "I should know as I used to play 5 a side soccer when I was younger" or "Actually, I'm more of a cricket fan myself - could I explain the LBW rule instead?!"

In other words, how does the candidate react when asked an unexpected question outside their comfort zone or on a topic that has nothing to do with the post being considered? Obviously this has to be done in a friendly almost amusing way as you're not trying to catch the candidate out but are giving them the opportunity to reveal another aspect of their personality.

If you have any cracking left-field questions, do drop us an email and we'll feature the best ones in one of our future newsletters!

For quality candidates, who will develop within your organisation, call us for a chat on 01793 762026 or email Jackie and her team at:


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