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5 signs you just interviewed a genuinely interested candidate

Posted on Thursday, Sep 21, 2017

How to recognize an interested candidate | Hays BlogHave you just interviewed a highly skilled candidate, one who clearly prepared very well for their interview, and had a strong interview technique; answering all of your questions fully? On post-interview reflection, however, you couldn’t tell if they really wanted this opportunity, or if they were just putting on a good performance?

It’s a tricky thing to gauge, especially as most candidates know that showing enthusiasm is basic interview etiquette and will do their due diligence; from researching the company, to preparing some great questions about the opportunity. If their interest isn’t genuine, however, you could make the mistake of hiring a disengaged new recruit who could take or leave this job, as opposed to a truly enthused one who will give it their best. Here are some sure signs that you just interviewed a genuinely interested candidate:

1. They didn’t just recite your company website
Think back to one of the first questions you would have asked the candidate, “So, what do you know about this organization?” As they replied, did they just recite lines from your company website, or did they answer in their own words, showing a genuine interest and passion?

Moreover, had they looked beyond the company website, at your social media pages, and even your own professional profile, as well as company press releases or product launches? Did they know where you stand compared to your competition; moreover, did they know who your competitors actually were?

If the candidate was able to describe various aspects of your organization, and in their own words, this indicates that they took the time prior to the interview to truly grasp what your company is about, because they like the prospect of being a part of it.

2. They knew exactly why they wanted to work for you
Another strong indicator that this candidate did their research, and liked what they found, is how well they answered the question, “So why do you want to work here?”

Was the candidate able to relay specific aspects of the opportunity which appealed to them, relating these aspects to their skills, experiences and ambitions? This proves that the candidate has already identified this opportunity as being right for them, and the reasons why they are a good fit.

3. They asked you the right questions
The questions a candidate asks during an interview can reveal a lot about why they are sat across from you. If the candidate’s questions focus mainly on this role at this company, rather than generic aspects like holiday allowance, pension and so forth, then this is a good sign that they’re genuinely interested. The right types of questions could include the below:

Question:  “Could you tell me a bit more about X aspect of the role, and what my responsibilities would be?”
Translation: “I read the job description properly because I am interested in this role, but I just want to be clear on X aspect.”

Question: “Could you describe the day to day life in this role?
Translation: “I am already trying to picture myself in this role because it sounds good so far.”

Question: “Is there much room for progression and growth within this role?”
Translation: “I want to meet my career goals within this company and role, I hope you can support me with this.”

Question: “What are your favourite aspects of working for this company?”
Translation: “I’m pretty sure I would be happy here, but I want to double check.”

As I said in the beginning, most people know that they need to prepare questions ahead of their interview, but only a genuinely interested candidate will ask the right questions, questions which reflect their enthusiasm for this particular opportunity.

4. They “closed” you
You are leading this interview, and of course it will be up to you to wrap it up and lead on the communication thereafter. With this in mind, appreciate how bold it is for a candidate to “close” you. Did they make any of the below “closing” moves?

  • Reiterate that they enjoyed meeting you, and that they are still interested
  • Give a last minute pitch about why they think they are right for this opportunity
  • Ask whether you have any more questions about their skills and experience
  • Ask about the next stages of the process or when they can expect to hear back
  • Phone the recruiter straight after the interview to feedback and express their interest
  • Sent you a thank you note via your recruiter, stating again, just how interested they are
  • “Closing” you takes courage. Not every candidate will take the initiative and summon the confidence to try and “close” you, but a genuinely interested one will.


5. You have a gut feeling
A truly enthusiastic candidate will display subtle behaviours which give them away, whether it’s sitting up straight and leaning in when you speak because they are paying close attention, or gesticulating excitedly when they answer your questions. These types of behaviours will slip into your subconscious throughout the interview and help you to form a gut feel. Therefore that gut feeling you have, is your subconscious telling you that the candidate really is genuinely interested in this opportunity. I would advise that you listen to it.

The above signs indicate not only that the candidate is genuinely interested, but that they also possess the strategic thinking, strong preparation skills, and inner courage needed to prove this interest in an interview. These are all attributes which, when combined with a genuine enthusiasm for the job, make for a great new hire.

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