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We all want to hire the best candidates, but who are ‘the best’?

By Eve Vlemincx.

Hiring the perfect candidate for a job entails more than just impressive resumes and interviews. It extends beyond mere skills and requires a deeper understanding of our values and what we truly seek.

By making a few tweaks to your interview approach, you can significantly enhance your likelihood of discovering the ideal candidate.

First and foremost, it is important to remember that a job interview should not resemble an 'interrogation.' Instead, it should foster a conversation and a mutual exchange of information.

Here are some steps to consider:

Step 1: What do we value?

To effectively evaluate candidates based on their personalities and values, organizations must first define and articulate their own values beyond surface-level aspirations.

When companies have a clear understanding of what they genuinely value, they can better align their hiring processes to identify individuals who share those values and possess the desired personality traits.

Step 2: Establish Essential Job Competencies

Estabish competencies needed for the job at hand. It is crucial to approach this task with meticulousness and precision, aiming to minimize the influence of our personal biases. Relying solely on our intuition can be problematic, as it may cloud our judgment and hinder our ability to objectively assess candidates.

By clearly understanding and articulating the specific criteria and competencies we are seeking, we can accomplish two important goals. Firstly, it enables us to critically evaluate and refine these criteria, ensuring they truly align with our needs. Secondly, it empowers us to effectively identify and evaluate these desired competencies in prospective applicants. Taking these steps will pave the way for a more thorough and insightful selection process.

Step 3: Meaningful Interview Questions

Many job interviews tend to revolve around the information provided in the resume, merely scratching the surface. To truly understand the essence of the individual sitting in front of you, it is essential to go beyond that and ask more profound questions.

While it is important to inquire about the competencies as established in Step 2[1], it is equally important to delve into aspects related to personality and values. Often, we overlook these vital elements.

Ultimately, the goal is to paint a vivid picture of the applicant's character and principles. What truly drives them? People tell us who they are, if only we are willing to listen.

One of my personal preferences is asking about an impactful experience that shaped them. This still gives the applicant the freedom to answer as desired but questions like these also instantly tap into the personality and values of a person.

Behavioral questions, such as “Tell me about a time when…,” can be quite effective, since it’s difficult to prepare for such questions beforehand so you’ll likely get a genuine answer.

Here are some additional examples:

  • What types of individuals do you find challenging to work with and why?

  • Can you share a situation where you had to deal with a challenging co-worker. How did you handle the situation?

  • Share an experience when you faced a deadline that you couldn't meet. How did you manage the situation?

  • How do you personally define success?

  • What qualities do you value in your co-workers?

  • What motivates you in your work?

  • What brings you the greatest sense of satisfaction in your job?

  • What are the things that frustrate you the most, and how do you typically cope with them?

  • Nevertheless, by incorporating questions like the ones above, you can gain deeper insights into the interviewee's character, motivations, and values, facilitating a more comprehensive assessment.

Additionally, it is important to pay attention to nonverbal cues during the interview process.

Of course when evaluating the answer one must be aware of one’s own biases. If one prefers check the box answers it’s might be better to ask check the box questions.

Nevertheless by incorporating questions like the ones above, one can gain deeper insights into the interviewee’s character, motivations and values needed for long-term success.

Step 4: Ensuring Consistency

Maintaining consistency throughout the interview process is crucial. To do so it is recommended to use the same or similar questions as a framework for each candidate applying for the position. This allows for a better comparison between candidates and their interviews. Consistency should not hinder meaningful conversations.

In fact, the best interviews are those that resemble engaging conversations, fostering a connection on a deeper level between both parties involved.


In conclusion, finding the right person for a job is not just about scratching the surface. Resumes are important, but only tell part of the story. The true driving force behind the long-term success of our organizations lies in the people we bring on board and the values they exhibit. It's about diving into their character and values. By asking meaningful questions and engaging in genuine conversations, we gain valuable insights into the motivations and drivers of potential candidates.

By embracing these core principles and making informed hiring decisions that benefit both the candidate and our company, we lay the foundation for building a team that shines bright and can accomplish remarkable things.

[1] Questions targeting specific competencies can be useful.


About the Author Eve Vlemincx is an advisor on a broad range of topics regarding legal digital transformation – innovation – leadership. In addition she is an advisor for Harvard Business Review, Executive Course Facilitator at Stanford Graduate School of Business and 5 times Stanford GSB LEAD-Award winner.


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