Just initially identifying great candidates can be a huge struggle and time commitment. Once you finally find an applicant that sounds good and looks good on paper, you might be tempted to just go with your gut and hire straight away. But not too fast! Keep in mind the following interview techniques to make sure that you’re getting the real deal, and not just someone who knows how to sell themselves well.

There are a lot of people out there who could be professional interviewers. These are people who are great at saying what you want them to say but who fall short when it actually comes to getting the work done.

Keep an eye out for the candidates who have a proven track record of success. This means seeing complex project through to completion, who have stayed with companies for long enough to have received promotions, and who have otherwise gone above and beyond.

Remember, this doesn’t always mean that they have the “right” background or education. Often, it doesn’t matter what degree a person has. Either they are an insightful and proactive employee, or they aren’t. Prioritize an individual due to their ambition and resourcefulness, not their alma mater.

The problem is, there are a lot of people who can do a great job tricking you into thinking that they are the right person for the job, when they are really just all talk. You need to outsmart these fast talkers and uncover the true candidate. You can do this by asking smart questions that will catch them off guard and review more of their real selves.

Here are some questions that you can ask during the initial interview stage:

  • What are you most proud of personally and professionally?
  • What qualities do you think are most important in a manager? An employee?
  • What are the skills that you think that you need to continue to develop in yourself?

Another good exercise is to do a bit of role playing. Present the candidate with a situation that they are likely to encounter on the job. Then ask them how they would engage with you – as their client, colleague, or manager. This will give you a sense of how they are at problem solving, as well as communication.

The hiring process is a delicate balance of having enough time to actually get a sense of a person’s potential, and going with your gut instinct. Your initial read on a candidate is incredibly important, but it is not infallible. In order to increase your chances of hiring success, it’s good to have multiple people involved with the hiring process, all who can weigh in with their initial impressions.

Collaborative hiring is becoming a more generally accepted “smart hiring” technique. Why? Because it just makes sense. After all, multiple people at your organization are going to be working and interacting with this new individual. The new hire needs to be effective on a variety of different levels – they need to work well with the full team.

It’s true that collaborative hiring can take more time and effort from the hiring manager, but it is typically worth it in the end. In fact, those brought on board as a result of collaborative hiring usually have higher retention rates and are more quickly accepted by the team.

If you want to make a smart hire, you need to approach the interview correctly. This means not being fooled by a smooth talker. It means asking smart and insightful questions. And it means involving a larger team in the process. Doing so will save you time and money in the long run, and strengthen your company as a whole.