4 Ways To Reveal True Applicant Behavior Before They Wreck Your Office!

So, you’ve interviewed someone for a position within your company. Their behavior seemed great, and you’re confident they will be a good cultural fit. Later, you find out they got fired because of numerous altercations with their supervisor. You might think to yourself, “Did I miss something about that person that I should have spotted?”

The answer can be simple. The interview process might not have been thorough enough, or the candidate was never made to feel totally comfortable during the interview. What do I mean by “feel comfortable?” Obviously, most people put their best foot forward during the interview process, and that’s what they’re supposed to do. However, there is something to be said for creating an environment wherein the interviewee feels so comfortable that they, even in small ways, reflect their true personality and behavioral propensities. This might not expose violent tendencies, but hopefully it will reveal some things about their personality that wouldn’t have been noticed had the interviewee not been made to feel comfortable in the first place. This will help you, as the interviewer, more accurately gauge whether your interviewee will be a good cultural fit inside your organization.

How do you create that environment? Here are just a few of my thoughts. My objective is simply to get your mind thinking more about this issue to promote your own innovation and personal genius.

1. Create Relaxation In The Interview.

If you want to break down the behavioral front that most job seekers display, then create an interview environment that’s more relaxed. Come out from behind your desk and sit directly in front of them, with no barriers. If your office isn’t big enough for this, go elsewhere, maybe the conference room perhaps. If you’re in a high-volume environment, it may be impossible to get up and go elsewhere with your candidates, but think of something creative to accomplish the same objective of breaking down their behavioral front.

A lot can also be done by what you say as you start off the interview. For example, say things like, “Now, I want you to be totally comfortable” or “Before we get going here, I’d like you to take a deep breath, and don’t worry about trying to impress me during our time together.” Or, if you have time, begin the interview by asking the candidate about themself and what they’re passionate about. The candidate will respond one of two ways. Either they will take what you’ve just told them to heart and not try at all to impress you, or they will continue to maintain professional behavior throughout the interview thus, hopefully, reflecting how they really are, even when given the opportunity to be more relaxed.

Another tip would be to get them engaged during the interview. Cause them to break the formal hand clasp on their lap and straight posture and see how they naturally respond to that. If they maintain professionalism through that, that’s simply one more indicator that maybe they’re the real deal.

2. Ask penetrating, thought provoking behavioral questions.

There are common questions used such as, “What do you do when someone cuts you off in traffic?” and such. Those are fine, but you should ask even deeper questions that help draw out an honest answer. We all lose our cool every once in a while, that’s normal. But, by asking questions like, “When was the last time you got really upset at something or someone, how did you respond, and what did you do to solve/repair the issue?” This question, and others like it, will help reveal whether the candidate tends to get angry at things, or people, which may shed light on how they might behave in the workplace and how they get along with others.

3. Act It Out.

Role-plays can be invaluable during the interview. During a role-play, play the part of an angry customer or a difficult co-worker and see how the interviewee responds; create a little bit of stress then watch carefully to see how the candidate reacts. The role play should be relevant to your workplace, the job duties they’ll be performing, and the environment they can expect. The entire purpose of the interview is to identify candidates that will be a good cultural fit inside your organization, so you want to do whatever it takes, inside legal parameters of course, to weed out candidates that will only bring you grief after they’re hired.

4. Be A Detective.

About 80% of employers use Social Media as a way to weed out candidates through discovering their behavioral traits out of the office that might find their way into the office. Check out your applicant’s Facebook page. If anyone still has a MySpace page, check that out too. You may be surprised to find photos and other preferences that may sway your decision to hire that person or not. Use these tools to your advantage in order to discover true personalities and behavior propensities.


If you haven’t already established a proven system for conducting interviews, hopefully these few tips get you started. As always, for further advice, connect with me via LinkedIn and let’s have a chat!


Happy Interviewing!

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