All businesses want to attract top talent; the perfect-edged puzzle piece that fits the company like a glove. I’ve heard many interviewers complain that they can’t find the ‘right person’ for the job. In truth, you might have, but unfortunately didn’t ask the correct questions or even more importantly, listen properly to the candidates’ answers. In this article, we’re going to analyse why ‘traditional’ interview methods may not reveal the true forte of the person sitting on the other side of the table. To remedy the problem, we’ll introduce techniques that will draw out revelations that will ensure you view candidates from a different perspective.

Traditional methods 

We’ve all experienced the following scenario: you’ve received a call to come in for an interview. Soon, you find yourself sitting in a room being asked blanket questions by the interviewer from a piece of paper that simply require a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. A few of the questions may provide you with a chance to subtly scrape the veneer of your character…and then it’s over.

 To all potential employers out there, an interview process shouldn’t mirror a courtroom cross-examination; when you’re looking to hire a new staff member, it’s vital to be cognisant that you’re investing in the person. There is no way that a litany of ‘Yes’/’No’ questions and direct, side-by-side comparisons of their answers against their CV is going to provide you with the necessary insight into the candidate’s personality to make the correct decision of whether or not they are a good fit for the job role and company as a whole. This misguided ‘cold-call’ approach needs to be scrapped from your recruitment policies and procedures

What you should do… 

Consult a professional human resources company that is dedicated to drawing out the character, traits and overall personality of the candidates sit in front of you.

After speaking to Fio’s Head of Human Resources, Rory Theron, I was able to glean valuable insight about the RIGHT way to interview a potential staff member. The proceeding summary of the discussion is based on initially asking one simple question, ‘How should a potential employee interview be conducted?’

From the outset, forget about ‘the glove either fits, or it doesn’t’ mentality. In fact, start with a metaphorical blank canvas so that you can have a well-rounded idea of the big picture by the end of the interview; based on that outcome, you should have enough evidence to make an informed decision.

 The point of the interview is to get to know the person behind the CV. Conducting an interview is an art; questions should be designed to directly, indirectly and subtly elicit responses that uncover whether the candidate has all the correct attributes to fulfil the job role successfully.

An example of a veiled question that is asked to determine a trait without the candidate even realising they’re telling it to you could be, ‘What does your house look like?’ Clearly this question is way out from left field, but that’s it’s beauty. If they say that everything is always neat, clean and all items have a designated spot for a specific reason, the interviewer can gather that the individual is meticulous, ensuring that no item is overlooked. This is a fantastic trait for a job role largely based on research. It can further be confirmed by asking him/her to explain a random topic in 30 seconds; if he/she becomes flustered, finding it difficult to articulate a coherent explanation, it’s an indication that they are not the type of person that likes to be put on the spot and talk to an audience, entrenching the notion that he/she is a strong candidate for a research position. If this is what’s being offered, he/she should be considered seriously. 

The questions should cover a spectrum that allows an interviewer to determine the candidates’ comfort zones all the way to aspects that may be stressors for them. As mentioned above, questions shouldn’t require a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ response, but rather be leading questions, guided by the candidates’ responses to the previous questions. This essentially continues a drill- down deeper into understanding the attributes of the individual.

Understanding body language

A skilled interviewer also needs to be a master of deducing answers based on body language (also known as non-verbal communication.) There are three main branches that should be monitored. In an article from the Maiberger Institute, published on Medium, they define the following non-verbal communication cues


Proxemics describes an individual’s perception of and use of space, both personal (how much space do they take up) and social (distance from another).


Kinesics describes an individual’s use of body language including the study of postures, gestures, facial expression, and eye contact.


Paralanguage refers to non-linguistic components of speech that are related to verbal communication. Paralanguage includes voice volume, tempo, pitch, intensity, emphasis, timing, and use of pauses in speech.

Each of these cues ought to be built into the questions. For example, a candidate may have a CV containing all the preferred education and experience but if he/she continually looks at his/her watch, seldomly makes eye contact and is hunched over during the interview, it can indicate they he/she isn’t really interested in the questions and/or he/she is extremely uncomfortable – these are strong signals that the individual is not suited for the position.

Conversely, an individual may not have a CV that ticks all the perceived ‘perfect’ boxes, but they are eager, demonstrate in-depth knowledge, as well as convey positive body language, then he/she is a much better candidate for the job. This is a classic example of interview techniques working well to peel back the layers and see the person beneath.

It cannot be reiterated enough that employers need to understand that investment in the person is a critical step; revenue generated from his/her job performance is a result based on aptitudes identified in the interview. If you need assistance and/or education about how to conduct effective, professional interviews, speak to Fio’s Human Resources division.