Toronto Mike

The Top Qualities to Look for in an Interview

If there's a key position open in your organization, you'll want to fill it as quickly as possible with the best person out there. The usual process of finding candidates involves writing a job description, searching through the best resumes, checking LinkedIn profiles, and then narrowing down your list to the top candidates to interview.

Conducting interviews is a tough job. It's essential to look beyond the required technical skills of each candidate. The necessary skills are only part of the full picture when you're looking for the top person for the job. These technical skills (such as relevant experience and computer abilities) are often referred to as "hard skills."

It’s also important to consider the “soft skills” of your potential employee — his or her communication, interpersonal, and listening skills. Will this person get along well with the team? Are they personable? Work with Canada's leading executive search firm to filter through your candidates quickly and easily. Or work with a more boutique executive firm for that personal touch. They’ll help you find the perfect person who demonstrates both outstanding hard and soft skills.

In addition to the necessary hard skills, let’s take a look at what you should look for when interviewing for a top-level position.

A Positive Attitude

It's sometimes challenging to see an individual's true personality within an hour or so, particularly when the other person is deliberately on their best behaviour. Interviewees know they're being assessed, so they'll likely put on somewhat of a show.

However, the right candidate will come across as genuine, and most importantly, sincerely enthusiastic about the position and working for the company.

Are they familiar with the company’s history and can talk about various company facts with ease? Please take notice of the questions they ask you. Are they rehearsed or generic, or are they interesting and knowledgeable?

A positive attitude is more than just expressing how much they’d like to work for you — look for energy that is sincere and honest.


It's one thing to have "excellent communication skills" written on a resume, but how does the person communicate in a face-to-face situation? Now is the time to find out.

Ask some open-ended questions so you can gain a greater understanding of how the candidate will communicate with others on the job. Open-ended questions are a great way to evaluate communication skills. Many people begin with the good, old-fashioned ice-breaker: "Tell me about yourself, and why do you feel you're a good fit for this position?"

As the candidate responds, look for essential communication qualities such as eye contact and an open body posture — unfolded arms and legs and a slightly forward-leaning position. Once they've warmed up a little, you can start with more difficult questions. Asking a candidate to describe a problem with a supervisor and how they resolved it is a good example.

It’s critical to feel a strong connection with your future employee. If an individual has the right background and experience, yet you can’t envision you and your team working well together, move on to the next candidate.

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