The number one reason an employee doesn’t work out, according to many employers, is poor fit. Jim Fearon, Hays VP of Western Canada operations, and The Headhunters president Cam Macmillan offer pointers on how to make the right hire


1. Know what you want

know what you wantVictoria ParkThe Headhunters has candidates fill out a personality profile to assess work style—for example, leaders versus followers. “You don’t necessarily want everybody as a leader or it makes for a bit of a dysfunctional team,” says Macmillan. Hays looks at where candidates fit in four categories: conformity, social behaviour, team versus individual, and work ethic. For example, says Fearon, do you want somebody who’s a workaholic, somebody who’s very laid back or someone who’s somewhere in between?

2. Mix things up

mix things upVictoria Park“We like to shake it up a little bit to find that real person,” says Macmillan. “We’ll ask what they do outside of work and accomplishments outside of the office and then loop it back into accomplishments within the office.” From a candidate’s perspective, the interview process is a sales pitch, so your line of questioning needs to be able to get through that façade, says Fearon. “You need to try and tap into who the person really is. That’s why the behavioural interview questions are so important.”

3. Take it outside

take it outsideVictoria ParkDepending on the position, inviting a candidate to a social event can help gauge how they might act outside the office, says Fearon. Macmillan takes candidates to a coffee shop or restaurant. “Sometimes the guard comes down there, and you get a better sense of that person,” he says. “We really like to see the people in different settings and see how they react. Sometimes they react differently to a server in a restaurant than they would in a formal interview.”

4. Take it inside

take it insideVictoria ParkBefore making a firm decision, Fearon gives the candidate the opportunity to meet with a couple of team members and ask them questions. “It’s obviously also an opportunity for us to see how that person engages with those team members.” After the first couple of interviews, Macmillan invites the candidate to job shadow in the office. “It really is a two-way street. It’s got to work for the person coming in, and it’s got to work for our team as well.”

5. Ask the team

ask the teamVictoria Park“We do a debrief with the team following the initial interview, and we ask our admin staff what are their impressions,” says Macmillan. “Because a lot of times they’ll put their game face on for the interview, but when they’re sitting down having a coffee waiting for the interview, you might see someone different.” The team doesn’t decide whether to hire the person, but they can have the opportunity to say what they think, says Fearon. “Because, ultimately, they’re the people who are going to be working with them.”