How to Discover if a Candidate Lacks Attention to Detail

A lot of jobs for our clients are in small, fast growing companies where employees wear many hats and really must pay close attention to detail.

How are you going to find out if a candidate really has that skill? Of course if you ask them, they’re going to tell you that they certainly have extraordinary attention to detail.

This is not something a candidate can tell you, this is something that you need to observe of the candidate throughout the entire interview process.


1.) Use an Online Application

I highly recommend that you use an online application. This is really for multiple reasons, one of the main reasons is that it gives you an opportunity to check the spelling, grammar and the completeness with which the candidate does their work while they’re filling out the application.

2.) Have the Candidate Schedule the Phone Interview

We like using a scheduling tool, such as TimeTrade, and invite the top candidates to schedule their own phone interviews.  When scheduling the phone interviews, instruct the candidate that they will be calling you.

You want to see:

  • Did the applicant pay attention to this detailed instruction that’s a little bit unusual?
  • Did they indeed call, call the correct number, and call on time?

An applicant who pays close attention to detail will successfully complete these tasks with no problem.

3.) Ask Compound Questions

The third way you can tell if a candidate pays attention to detail is by asking compound, or multi-part questions during the interview process.
In the interview, ask the candidate to walk you through their resume by asking,
“Tell me what you liked most, what you liked least, and why you left”

Then, as the candidate answers the question, let them talk and see:

  • Does the candidate stay on point?
  • Does the candidate address each part of the question?
  • Do they skip one part and not even realize it?
  • Do they forget what the third part was and then ask you for clarification?

All of these things are great ways to be on the lookout for candidates that do or do not have strong attention to detail.

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