Do you ever wonder if the applicant you are interviewing is really interested in the role on offer? It can be difficult to decipher the true motivations behind a candidate’s job application, but there are some methods that can help.

This may seem like good manners, however when a candidate arrives the expected 15 minutes early for a job interview, they are not only being courteous, but also demonstrating their eagerness to impress. A candidate who walks in as the interview is due to commence and is not at all perturbed by their eleventh hour arrival is signifying that their aloof approach to the job role is directly aligned with their lack of interest in the position. A small detail however a definite red flag that one should not ignore.

The conversation that ensues throughout the interview will reveal if the candidate came prepared. Are they knowledgeable about your company? Do they understand what you do and where you sit in the broader marketplace? Are they informed as to who your major competitors are? Do they know what makes your company unique? Did they read up on your philanthropic activities on your website? Did they ask any questions throughout or at the conclusion of the interview? The candidate who provides short, concise responses, has little knowledge of your company and fails to ask a question is a candidate that does not find your job role the slightest bit appealing. Or perhaps they did so until remuneration was discussed. If they shut down following this conversation, you know you have failed to meet their expectations. If you notice that this is the case, ask the candidate what they anticipated the job role would offer. For the right candidate, you may negotiate a favourable outcome for you both.

Another tell-tale sign a candidate is sitting on the fence where your vacancy is concerned is their correspondence throughout the recruitment process. Did they return your phone calls or emails promptly? Or did you have to follow up with them several times to gauge their availability for a job interview? Did they reschedule their interview time on several occasions without a valid explanation? Is the candidate delaying in committing to your company after being offered the job role? A truly interested candidate will return your communications at their earliest convenience. They will make an effort to shuffle their diary and meet with you for an interview. And they will always have a ready answer for all your queries. If you are getting the run around I suggest you ask your candidate direct questions as to their hesitation. If you make the first move, they may be more inclined to finally reveal what it is that is causing them to delay in responding to you. If they have a counter offer and are having difficulty in deciding which career path to follow, you can give yourself the opportunity to directly address their concerns and trump their counter offer.

A great indicator of one’s level of interest, in any situation, is body language.  Are your candidates smiling, nodding their heads in agreeance, maintaining eye contact, sitting up straight? They are clearly engaged and interested in landing the job. Add confidence and ready responses with a little humour mixed in you can be sure that your job applicant is ready and willing to represent your brand.

Of course there is one obvious method to determining a job seeker’s interest in taking up a role with your company and that is to ask them straight out, why do you want to work here?  While an applicant may appear perfect on paper, the job interview is where you determine the unknowns such as their personality, attitude and cultural fit. You can also gain an insight into the candidate’s motivations for applying for a job with your company. If the applicant’s responds with, “I heard you pay well”, you have to consider what their long-term dedication to you will be. If you think they will again follow the money once you have invested in training and developing them, perhaps they are not the best employee choice for you.

If you can understand a candidate’s motivations for applying for a job with you, you can identify how your position meets your candidate’s needs. With that defined, you can determine if the two of you will be a great and prosperous long lasting fit. And isn’t that what we are looking for? Know the signs of a sincere applicant and you will build an ambitious and successful team.

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