You may learn about a job candidate during an interview, but you’ll get a lot more insight by getting out of your office and taking finalists on a tour of your workplace. The candidate will see what your culture is like and you’ll have a chance to observe how he or she responds to your environment. Here’s what to look for:
• Interactions with employees. Is the candidate interested in talking only to upper-level people? How did the person’s attitude change when meeting people at different levels? Observe how much attention the person pays to what others say—is he or she really listening, or bored?
• Optimism or pessimism. Pay attention to how the candidate answers basic questions like, “How are you today?” A reply like, “Not too bad” may be a sign of a downbeat attitude. Similarly, listen to how the person talks about the people he or she meets: “She certainly seems to work hard,” suggests a positive personality; a comment like, “Why does she have to work so hard?” may indicate a negative outlook on work.
• Clarifying questions. Your organization will have new or different technologies, processes, and work practices. Does the candidate ask questions to clarify his or her understanding of the surrounding workplace? Listen for questions or comments that show how quickly the person grasps new ideas and how well he or she asks questions to solve problems.
• Unprompted actions. If there’s a piece of paper on the floor does the candidate pick it up and throw it away? Does he or she hold the door for another employee whose arms are full? These kinds of actions can tell you whether or not the person is a team player.
• Supporting statements. Listen for any statements that support what you know about the candidate from his or her résumé and interview. Does anything seem to contradict what you’ve been told?