How to Hire the Right Candidate: Lessons From the Election

Recruiting Tips
Friday, Dec 09, 2016
How to Hire the Right Candidate: Lessons From the Election

“Post-truth,” the word that Oxford Dictionaries has declared as its 2016 international word of the year, reflecting on what is called a “highly-charged” political 12 months. It’s meaning? Post-truth is an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. Many of Donald Trump’s supporters loved his big personality and cared less about if he was telling the truth, his lack of political experience, and behavior. As many political commentators have pointed out, Trump didn’t need to tell his supporters the truth, he appealed to their emotions instead.

This concept of post-truth and this year’s presidential election can teach us some lessons about the importance of objective hiring. Objectivity is the ability to view facts on their own, unaffected by your particular likes and dislikes. How can you avoid post-truth hiring and remain objective? Ask behavioral questions.

By asking behavioral or situational questions, recruiters can gain insight into the way candidates performed in the past and how they’ll apply their experience to the new job. Following your instincts and paying attention to red flags is important when recruiting and hiring candidates, however, recruiters must listen to their brain as well as their heart. Someone you interview could have a great personality and seem like a great cultural fit, but do they actually have the skills needed to get the job done?

In order to find out if the person you are about to hire has the right set of skills and core competencies needed to succeed at your company, here are nine behavioral interview questions around three important work attributes to ask candidates.


  • - Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.
  • - Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team.
  • - Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?


  • - Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. How did you get through it?
  • - Describe a time when your team or company was undergoing some change. How did that impact you, and how did you adapt?
  • - Tell me about a time you failed. Why did you fail and what did you learn from it?


  • - What has been your most rewarding accomplishment?
  • - Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.
  • - Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.

Asking candidates behavioral questions will often be the best predictor of the way they will perform at your company and help you avoid making the wrong decision. You want to listen for truthful answers about their knowledge, experience, and training as it relates to the open job. By making the right hire, you could be saving your company a lot of time and money. In fact, a Robert Half survey found that 41 percent of hiring managers and HR professionals who have made a bad hire estimated the financial costs of that hire in the thousands of dollars.