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05.03.2016 : News

Background screening Tips – During the Job Interview

Job Interviews Tips


“The best fit occurs when a person’s capabilities – the combination of his skills, knowledge and behaviours – matches the job’s requirements and the organization’s culture.” We will add “personality” to the list of capabilities as while skills and knowledge can be acquired, personality is an inherent factor.


Every company experiences it, you have a position to fill in and the resumes keep coming in droves. Multiple candidates appear to match the required criteria, so the question is; how do you go about choosing the best fit for your company?

In our first blog, we are going to provide tips for one of the most used hiring techniques – interviews.

Prior to conducting a face-to-face interview, the hiring manager usually sieves through available resumes for a first level of screening, discarding those that do not have the appropriate skills and setting aside those that require closer scrutiny. This is often followed by a second level of screening, conducted by phone. These initial steps should allow you to select five or six candidates for the next step, the in-person interview.

Despite using the in-person interview, identifying the best fit during the hiring process remains a challenge. Usually, at least two interviews are scheduled prior to hiring in an effort to solve this challenge.

In 2012, franchises in Québec had more than 170,000 jobs*. This sector’s continuous growth results in an increased hiring need and it quickly becomes tricky to get to know a candidate in only a few meetings.

Even if different jobs require different skills, we suggest that three main areas be covered during an interview. These are: validation of the facts, situational interview and culture fit.


Validate the content of the candidate’s resume

  1. 1. Check the education and employment dates and locations, understanding the flow of events. It will also give you an idea of how settled or nomadic the person is.
  2. 2. Request the candidate to expand on former jobs so as to cross-check the duties listed in the resume. In addition, the order in which the tasks are described indicates the applicant’s ability to relate facts.
  3. 3. Validate skills mentioned in the resume: for a candidate who claims to be bilingual, conduct part of the interview in English or for a Health & Safety officer, ask questions like “how does this new law affect our H&S policy?”
  4. 4. Any other point that caught your attention in the resume? Comment on it or ask questions!


Situational Interview – evaluate how good the candidate will be at this job

The aim here is to observe applicants’ analytical thinking capacity as well as their problem-solving approach, among other tacit skills.

  1. 1. Provide the scenario of a real-life situation. For example
  1. ■      For a restaurant job as a supervisor, there are 10 customers who have been lining up for 15 minutes and are waiting to be seated. The 2 waiters present are already serving seated customers. What is the best thing to do?
  2. ■      As the Marketing person, you have introduced an improved version of a document to be used by the Sales team. You spent considerable resources working on it but you are facing a bit of an opposition. How would you handle the situation?
  1. 2. You can also ask the candidate to relate a past experience that required specific conflict resolution skills; “Relate a situation where you had to…”, “How did you…?”
  2. 3. If the position involves writing skills, have them write an article on a given topic or if it is about programming, have them prove their coding skills.

Determining the applicant’s culture fit

A candidate might have required skills and expertise but still turn out to be a poor match because he does not fit in the team or company culture-wise. This leads us to the third phase of the interview, which is getting an insight of the candidate’s traits – attitude, motives and goals. Short, open-ended questions are the best means to decipher this.


Have the candidate describe himself in a past context

  1. ■      How would your former manager describe you? – Get to know the candidate’s expectations
  2. ■      What motivates you at work?
  3. ■      And what upsets you most at work?
  4. ■      What kind of manager are you looking for? – Understand a situation that the candidate would have liked to improve and assess new actions he would have deployed
  5. ■      If you had one situation that you would have liked to start over, what would it be? – Consider the candidate’s most valued principles
  6. ■      How do your values match those of the Company?
  7. ■      Relate a time when you were particularly proud of your decision.
  8. ■      Describe a time when loyalty paid off for you. – Assess candidate’s ability to manage his career
  9. ■      What would you like to achieve in 3 years from now? – Evaluate whether the candidate has a good understanding of the job
  10. ■      What can you bring to our Company?
  11. ■      What else do I need to know to help me in making this decision?

There are no perfect questions. But based on our experience, those provided will generally lead to a better understanding of your candidate and allow you to make a better decision on moving forward in the process. Interviews are but one of the components of the hiring process. Typically, the next step is to conduct a background check to obtain additional high quality information. Several other tools exist to make sure that you are hiring the right candidate.

Follow us in our next post to gain a deeper insight of how your hiring process can be reinforced.

With the collaboration of Daniel Fallows, Executive Director of Mintz Global Screening

Special thanks to Patrick Dupuis, National Director, talent management and strategic support, GardaWorld and Chantal Bastien, Uniban Canada.

* Source: Conseil Québécois de la Franchise


Cohen David S., 2001

The Talent Edge – A behavioral approach to hiring, developing and keeping top performers.

Kador John, 1997

The Manager’s Book of Questions – great interview questions for hiring the best person.

Pettersen Normand & Durivage André, 2006

L’entrevue structurée – pour améliorer la sélection du personnel

Fyock Cathy, 2008

Hiring the Best – Get the best and avoid the rest


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