How to Use Psychology to Hire the Best Employees

The recruitment process is about more than just screening resumes and asking the candidates a bunch of questions. As an employer, the last thing you want to do is ignore the intent behind a candidate’s interest in your company.

Have they applied because the position is remote? Is this job just a stepping stone for them, or will they stay loyal to the company? Their experience is extensive, sure, but why were all these jobs so short-lived?

Here’s how Whitham Group, the headhunters for renewable energy firms, combines psychology with strategic recruitment to find the answers to all the above questions.

The Importance of Body Language

If candidates don’t pay attention to their body language, they might give away their innermost thoughts and feelings. If they are, however, watching their body language, you should expect them to:

  • Move their hands while speaking
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Assume the proper posture
  • Sit with their legs uncrossed
  • Try not to fidget

Read Handshakes

A good, firm handshake can tell you more than you think. According to Forbes, the perfect handshake should be initiated with the right hand, involve eye contact and a smile, and last no more than two seconds.

A friendly handshake gives the impression of trust, warmth, confidence, motivation, and ambition. If you haven’t noticed handshakes before, it’s not too late to start paying attention.

Two Faceless People Shaking Hands

Weigh Past Performance with Personality

You don’t have to recruit people for a living to know that personality is the key to human relations, personal or professional. As a recruiter, you’d never hire a candidate who wasn’t personable. Here’s where this gets a bit tricky.

Suppose a potential employee boasts skills and achievements that span two pages of their resume but doesn’t come across as warm or forthcoming. In that case, you might hire them anyway because, personality notwithstanding, they have a proven track record of teamwork, cooperation, and other things that define productivity in an organization.

That said, energy industry recruiters have to draw the line somewhere. If their client prioritizes a healthy work environment over performance, they might not recommend an unlikeable candidate.

Tell Schmoozing from Self-Promotion

A candidate must do their homework before applying for a job. They can’t just show up for an interview because they fit the description, and it pays well. Recruiters appreciate a candidate who does their research about the company where they’re applying for a job.

Making good with an interviewer by mentioning the company’s vision and achievements and complementing them is good. However, mixing this with self-promotion reveals ulterior motives.

According to Harvard Business Review, self-promotion is associated with poor performance. A recruiter has to read between the lines and tell when a candidate is schmoozing and when they’re lowkey self-promoting to recommend the right people.

 A Man Faces the Glass Wall of a Boardroom While Sitting a Job Interview with a Renewable Energy Executive Recruiter

Search for Initiative

A willingness to take the initiative is the hallmark of a valuable team member. Solar and renewable energy recruiters test candidates by presenting them with a hypothetical situation and asking them to solve it. They want to observe their attitude towards the problem rather than the solution.

A candidate that acts like they control the situation is better than a candidate who is controlled by the solution. The best way to tell this difference is to look for someone who doesn’t assign blame or sees how the situation came about, someone who completely focuses on a solution.

For instance, a candidate who doesn’t recommend going to a higher authority to solve their problems but is transparent and honest with their supervisors about the situation is worth hiring.

Detect Vulnerabilities

No one is perfect. As humans, we have strengths and weaknesses, so you can’t expect your candidate to be perfect, but you can expect them to be honest about it. The trick is to look for someone who is upfront and unapologetic about their shortcomings but is willing to work on them.

Recruiters can’t test for everything, so they ask candidates about the rest during the interview. They don’t expect a specific answer to their question; they want them to be honest.

Don’t Seek Standard Answers

Candidates who give unique answers when asked standard questions generally perform well, academically and professionally. You might see their performance in the CV and have a better idea when you interview them.

If you like a candidate’s answer to cookie-cutter questions and find their responses memorable, you could expect them to bring something new to the table. Think about it: imagine how sharp they’ll be when responding to situations if they’re this quick with their responses.

Differentiate Between Confident and Cocky

The line between confident and cocky can be quite fine. You could consider confidence that unsettles cockiness.

On the other hand, you can expect a confident and self-assured candidate to:

  • Be a good listener
  • Possess self-awareness
  • Reflect upon themselves
  • Be clear about their strengths and weaknesses
  • Be open about their successes and failures

Energy Executive Search Made Easy

Take the foot- and mind-work out of hiring the ideal candidate by joining hands with Whitham Group, one of the best renewable energy recruitment agencies in the Bay Area. Let their team of experienced solar and renewable energy recruiters apply a 24-step recruitment process to find you the loyal and high-performing employees you’ve always wanted.

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Written by Josh Harnet

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