behind the Interview Mask

Many of us have been involved in interviewing and recruiting that brilliant enthusiastic inspiring character who when they start is anything but that and you are left asking yourself "Do they actually have an identical twin who went through the Interview process for them?" Sound familiar ?

Yes, the hiring process can be fraught with failure and pitfalls and the costs of getting it wrong significant as recent surveys allude to. Recent research indicates that businesses are still a long way from 'nailing' this. A  Glassdoor commissioned report indicated that up to 95% of Companies admit to recruiting the wrong people each year and another report commissioned by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation highlighted significant costs in flawed recruitment processes resulting from a bad hire.

Whilst any prospective employer will understand that in the heat of any Interview process, candidates who are desperate to sieze this new 'life changing' opportunity, may twist or alter facts slightly, or project an image of themselves which isn't their natural disposition  to try and present themselves in the most positive light with the Interviewers, it is the role of the prospective employer to uncover the truth. It sounds almost like a game phrased in that manner. 

There is no magic wand but we believe there are 4 fundamental steps that can be taken to significantly reduce the risks for an organisation of failing to see behind the Interview Mask.

1- Perform detailed Social Media Checks:-

Social Media Profile-1

It is our belief that all candidates should be "googled" and any online information about them reviewed. This can be done either prior to, during the interview process but must definitely be done before any offer is made to a contact.

We have heard of circumstances where a candidate has started a new role only for a new colleague to uncover facts online about them which if those checks had been done by the Company, to not make an offer. So, this is definitely a key part of the process.

Download our Hiring Checklist

2-Incorporate Competency Based Interviewing:-

Competency-based interviews (also known as structured, behavioural or situational interviews) are designed to test one or more skills or competencies. The interviewer should have a list of set questions, each focusing on a specific skill, and your answers will be compared against pre-determined criteria and marked accordingly.

Competency interviews work on the principle that past behaviour is the best indicator of future performance. 

They differ from normal or unstructured interviews, which tend to be more informal. In unstructured interviews recruiters often ask a set of random, open-ended questions relevant to the job, such as 'what can you do for the company?' and 'why did you apply for the job?' to get an overall impression of who you are but don't probe enough into the skills and competencies.This allows the Interviewees to wing it. 

A competency-based interview is more systematic and each question targets a skill needed for the job.

3-Incorporate Behavioural Testing:-

In addition to Competency based Interviewing, behavioural testing is also an important process to ensure the right candidate gets the role. Various online assessment software tools can be used in this regard.

Employers should use personality tests or behavioral assessments during their hiring process to help prioritize their list of candidates and help guide a structured interview process. The testing ultimately tries to predict if your behaviour is a good fit for a specific role or the broader workplace culture of an organisation. Some assessment providers offer recommendations that essentially equate to pass or fail whilst other assessments aim to give employers objective data so they can make more educated decisions and ultimately better understand the person behind who they are hiring.

4-Take Detailed References:-


The reference check is your first and sometimes only opportunity to learn about a candidate from an outside source.

Not only do reference checks allow you to verify facts from CV, cover letters, and interviews, but they also provide you the opportunity to learn about a job candidate through the eyes of another professional. This can be a make or break moment for the job candidate. Ensure you have a list of questions you would ideally like to cover off at this point so you can gain comfort.


If you would like to evaluate your hiring processes as you seek to reduce the risk of a "bad hire" why not complete our Hiring Checklist exercise. 

Also why not schedule a schedule a call with one of our experts to discuss how we can help your recruiting needs and how we can help you your hiring process.


About the Author: Mark Woffenden

Mark Woffenden is a Director at Lucy Walker Recruitment and has an extensive knowledge of the issues and workings of the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Commercial markets developed over the last 20 years in the Industry