Zero-In on Top Applicants for Job Openings

Finding the right people to fill in the roles in your organization is one of the keys to success. After all, human capital is your greatest asset. But how do you find the right one to hire and to trust? More than the educational background and skills that a great applicant could possess, you should be able to dig deeper and find out more about the personality behind the person. According to an article by the Harvard Business Review, a person with higher emotional intelligence or EQ has a higher rate of performing better at work.

It is not necessary to give your applicants a battery of tests to plow through. It would save you time and effort if you knew exactly what to ask. After the standard skills and IQ tests, invest time in asking questions that would draw the applicants out of their shells and allow you a glimpse into their behaviors and reactions to some scenarios that they might find themselves in should you hire them. The key to finding the right candidate is to ask the right questions.

1. Find out candidate’s ability to control his mood or temper, handle pressure and manage conflict.

Ask questions that would allow the applicant to explain how they resolved conflict with a colleague, a boss or a subordinate. Let them open up about any mood swings that they’ve had and how it affected their performance and relationships. It is also important to know how they handle pressure and maintain positivity despite problems and business threats thrown their way.

2. Find out the candidate’s sensitivity to other people’s feelings.

The ability to read a person’s feelings is important especially for positions that need to interact with people all the time. This sensitivity can be used to help them in offering options and assistance to customers. The ability to read situations and anticipate possible outcomes can help the candidate look out for challenges and prepare solutions or avoid an unpleasant situation entirely.

Ask the candidate to recall an incident wherein he offended a colleague and how he knew that his peer was offended. An applicant should be able to point out the changes in behavior of his peer towards him, and he should have been the one to personally recognize those signs.

3. Look out for the candidate who welcomes opportunities for learning.

Find a candidate who is open to corrections and new knowledge. It is not enough to want to learn new things; it is also important to have the ability to acknowledge mistakes and learn from them. A coachable person has endless opportunities available to him, especially when he has the positive attitude to turn a mistake into a learning experience.

Ask the candidate of a failure that he has experienced, what he would change to fix things if given the opportunity, and what he took away from the experience. The person that you should choose should be the one who was able to recognize the mistake, have thought of ways on how he could have changed the outcome, and took a positive attitude to become better despite the failure.

4. Find someone who is adaptable.

Business environments have gotten even more dynamic these days, and those who refuse to change are often stuck and become failures. It is very important to find someone who does not only recognize opportunities for change but also embraces it.  Ask for instances wherein the candidate was confronted by change or forced into an uncomfortable and unfamiliar situation and, if he was able to overcome it, how he embraced the situation. The right person would have been flexible and, despite difficulties, successful in adapting to change.

A lot of people may have great skills and stellar educational background. But a person with a positive working attitude and the ability to embrace challenges and changes will always outperform those who refuse to grow and think outside the box.


The success of your business depends highly on the type of people you employ. Our friends over at discuss how you can attract the best people to apply for your job openings.

Alisiana Peters

Author: Alisiana Peters

Alisiana is a senior marketing coordinator at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.