How to Interview Well Pt. 1, Recognizing a Good Applicant - Zupnick Associates

Your employees are one of your most important resources as a hiring manager. The challenges of the current job market demand that you’re able to recognize a good employee when you find one. In order to give the best candidate the best shot at landing the job, you’ll want to be prepared to conduct an interview designed to do as much. This article gives tips on how to interview well. We’ve broken the article up into a discussion of four components of an interview: body language, banter, resume, and presentation. In this part, we’ll discuss how to recognize a candidate who uses these effectively (and ineffectively), according to some experts.

Body Language

Body language makes up a significant portion of communication. In some situations (particularly when body language doesn’t match verbal communication) it represents more than 55%. In other words, you can learn a lot about a candidate, whether they’re being truthful, for example, by reading their body language, especially in relationship to their verbal cues.

Three things are particularly important to Dana Case, Director of Operations at

“Keep your eyes peeled (literally!) for candidates that make eye contact, smile, and gesture with their hands as they speak.”

Dana Case, Director of Operations at

On the other hand, Shawn D. Madden, so-called Ambassador of Fun at Underdog Sports League and, believes a lot of interviews are conducted wrong if you want to read body language properly. He believes candidates should be standing, at least during part of the interview, to read them properly. This is especially true for positions that involve public speaking, for instance.

“Most interviews are always done sitting down … huge mistake.”

Shawn D. Madden, Ambassador of Fun at

Green Flags

  • Leaning in to show interest in questions
  • Directly addressing you or the person who asked the question
  • Relax

Red Flags

  • Fidgeting
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Crossed arms/legs
  • Leaning back in chair


Often times during an interview, there are awkward moments during transitions. Banter is the type of conversation that happens during these transition moments. Good banter, even if peppered with a little unavoidable awkwardness, communicates positivity, enthusiasm, and interest. To interview well, provide candidates opportunities to communicate these things.

Good etiquette, according to Igor Avidon, President of Avidon Marketing Group, is to demonstrate that you’ve researched the company or to show an interest in the person conducting the interview.

“A good conversation starter is an observation that shows me the candidate researched me or my company. Anything having to do with my hobbies, industry, or my agency is a GREAT way to start on the right foot.”

Igor Avidon, President & Chief Strategist of Avidon Marketing Group

Green Flags

  • Interest in you as the interviewer
  • Positivity
  • Questions about the job
  • Complimenting the space
  • Conversation that shows the candidate did research

Red Flags

  • Negativity or complaining
  • Being tactless or rude
  • Distasteful jokes


In most cases, before an interview, you’ll have a nice summary of the candidates before they walk through the door. Better yet, the resume will be easy to use for reference during the interview, and will act as a springboard for your questions.

Bad resumes typically don’t get candidates as far as the interview, but if a candidate has a questionable resume, one with typos for example, it might warrant a question or two to see why there are problems, and if they’ll reflect in their work.

This is what Laura McAdams, HR manager at, looks for in a resume.

“In my experience, the best resumes are simple, easy to read, and use hard numbers to quantify their accomplishments. Ultimately, all I want to see is how much relevant experience a candidate has, and what skills they can offer. Decorative flourishes, fancy designs, and graphics — while sometimes visually interesting — usually just strike me as distracting and a waste of space.”

Lauren McAdams, HR Manager at

Green Flags

  • Clean, error free
  • Relevant
  • Specific

Red Flags

  • Superfluous
  • Error-riddled
  • Needlessly graphic-intensive


The presentation of candidates should meet the standards set by your company culture. At the same time, they should be unique to the individual. In other words, the person should not present themselves as someone else, but, instead, they should be comfortable and confident.

According to Le-an Lai Lacaba, Remote Team Builder at BLVP Inc.,

the candidates presentation should be honest.


If their outfit is making them uncomfortable, it means that they aren’t being truthful about the person they’re presenting to us.

Le-an Lai Lacaba, Remote Team Builder at BLVNP Incorporated

Green Flags

  • Comfortable in clothes
  • Close fit
  • In-line with expectations, dress-code

Red Flags

  • Tattered or unclean clothes
  • Clothes that don’t fit
  • Too much perfume or cologne


So now you know how experts recognize good candidates. But how should you conduct yourself during the interview? That’s a good question. Stay tuned for our next part in this series, which will discuss specifically what you should be doing to interview well.

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