2 Key Areas to Know the Job Applicant’s Character



Job interview is all about impression management. On the one hand, the applicant must project his/her best image and impress the interviewer with his/her appearance and performance to get the job. On the other hand, the interviewer–knowing the limitation of the encounter–must exhaust all means during the interview to know the real self of the applicant beyond personal appearance and impression. S/he must get a glimpse of the applicant’s real character! But how? The interview encounter is too brief to understand the applicant’s real self!


Well, recruiters and interviewers of applicants must accept the fact that job interview is not in-depth discovery of who the applicant is in terms of character and personality. But when done wisely and correctly, one can still get a glimpse of the character of the person. Here are two tips:

1. Observe the body language, gestures and actions and know their meaning.


During job interview, the interview or recruiter must expect that the applicant will present their best image and impression in order to be accepted in the company. S/he can control his/her image in terms of clothing, demeanor or speech. If the applicant is wise, it is expected that s/he has rehearsed a lot on the possible questions the interviewer will ask during the interview. S/he had probably read a lot on how to pass job interviews.


But one area the applicant may not have a total control of himself/herself—the body language and involuntary gestures which come mostly from his/her subconscious. His/her eye movements during the interview, for instance, can tell a lot about the person’s capacity to focus. So, it is important that the interviewer must be observant not only of the applicant’s words but also of his/her gestures and involuntary movements of the body. Well, if the interviewer really wants to know more of the applicant, s/he must try to find means to observe the applicant before the interview, probably while waiting for the interview or interacting with others in the office.

2. Ask situational questions which can reveal the applicant’s value system.


The purpose of a cross-examination in a courtroom hearing is really to reveal the inconsistencies of the witness’ testimony. This can also be applied ob interviews. To know the integrity and honesty of the applicant’s character, the interviewer must find ways–beyond the prepared set of questions—to ask situational questions to reveal the applicant’s value system. Ask questions that concern dilemmas can be a good way to squeeze the applicant’s answer and reveal the what type of values s/he held as most important. Let’s say, the interviewer would ask questions to reveal the applicant’s priority between loyalty and career advancement, or between being honest or being fired by one’s manager if /she reveals his/her wrongdoing in the company.



Remember, recruiting is not only about hiring people with the best talent and qualification but also about recruiting applicants whose personality and character fit into the company’s mission-vision or corporate goals. A recruiter may have hired the best talent but his/her character and personality does fit into the corporate culture, s/he will stay in the company. It’s only a matter of time that s/he will leave because s/he is discovered that s/he not a perfect fit in the company’s way of life!

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