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4 Psychological Tips to Hire the Right Candidate

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Recruiting qualified candidates requires more than just the use of technology and tools. If you want to hire the right person for a job, the steps you take in the hiring process should account for candidates’ motivations, desires and goals. Otherwise, you won’t be able to make the proper assessment of each applicant and might end up with a bad hire.

That’s why recruitment psychology is so important. Recruitment psychology for employers and recruiters is simply the process of understanding the mind and behavior of job seekers. With a deeper understanding of candidates, they’ll know how to act and think during the recruitment process to hire the best person. 

Follow these four recruitment psychology tips to increase your chances of finding the right candidate for the job:

1. Avoid Falling into Interview Pitfalls

According to research, 74 percent of recruiters prefer the structured interview technique because it allows for data-driven decisions. It’s not based on a recruiter’s “gut feeling.”

Dismiss conventional questioning if you want to land the perfect candidate. The question “Can you tell us something about yourself?” won’t allow you to gauge whether a person has ambition. That’s a question a candidate probably already practiced for. You’ll probably only get a canned response.

Instead, ask out-of-the-box questions such as behavioral and situational questions.

When candidates are asked behavioral interview questions, they are asked to describe how they acted in the past in particular scenarios. “How did you adjust when your company was going through a transition?” is an example of this type of question.

Situational questions, on the other hand, look into interviewees’ responses to hypothetical scenarios in the future. “How would you act if you discover an unexpected mistake that could jeopardize your ability to meet a project deadline?” is an example of this question. 

The answers to both behavioral and situational interview questions won’t just help you adequately gauge a candidate’s communication skills. More importantly, they reveal a lot about their traits and who they are as people. 

2. Create a Concise Job Description

People tend to perceive the world through the lens of their personalities and life experiences. That means that for many people, the phrase “a great team player” can be interpreted in many ways. That ambiguity is something you don’t want in your hiring process. You don’t want people thinking they’re that person you’re looking for and applying for that job they’re not actually qualified for.

So, applying recruitment psychology in the hiring process, make sure the job description you produce is as concise and straightforward as possible. Use plain language so it can’t be understood in different ways.


You can make your job description concise by making it explicitly state the prior experience or the skills a person qualified for the job should have. But don’t just say you need someone with “good experience in Adobe Photoshop” or someone who “can write.” Make sure you specify the years of experience you need them to have and the types of content they should be able to produce. 

The more accurate your job description is, the better. That saves you the time from having to go through so many applications because you filter out the unqualified individuals from the get-go.

To attract as many qualified candidates as possible, be sure to write inclusive job descriptions as well. The language and words used in your descriptions should not show any form of bias, as this could discourage qualified candidates from applying. Go through your descriptions keenly looking out for any words that may discriminate against gender, race, age, and ableism.

3. Move away from the Usual Resume Pick

Although they help you know an individual’s qualifications (such as their education, work history, and awards), resumes don’t necessarily reveal much about a person’s character.

Plus, you have no way of knowing whether the information on a resume is actually accurate. Let’s face it. Some people exaggerate what they know or can supposedly do. Others even just make things up along the way.

As such, it’s essential to implement alternative methods of evaluating applicants so you can get the perfect fit.

Check if the job applicant has a strong LinkedIn profile. Do they have an online portfolio? You can leverage the Gmail mail merge feature and send personalized messages to ask for these portfolios.

You can also gain a more detailed understanding of individual talents by giving them a skill test. So, if you’re looking for an editor, you should ask them to answer a test that’s similar to this one:


The point is, don’t just assume what you see on paper is true. Use recruitment psychology to weed out the applicants who look good on paper but won’t be able to deliver the goods when hired.

4. Outsmart Your Cognitive Bias

With cognitive biases, you run the risk of favoring a candidate for the wrong reasons. That may result in a terrible hire that ends up costing the company a lot of money. The thing about these prejudices is that they can manifest without you even knowing they’re already manifesting. That makes it all the more challenging to overcome them. 

Here are some of the most frequent cognitive biases that might influence recruiting decisions.


Hiring the right employees ensures an efficient workflow creation process in an organization. So, you must find ways to reduce these prejudices and make decisions based solely on merit. 

You can do this by asking someone else to help you with the hiring process. By comparing your opinion about a candidate with those of fellow interviewers, you can formulate a more accurate conclusion about that person’s suitability for a position. 

Additionally, you can resort to blind hiring. Remove any characteristics that might influence a hiring decision from a resume. That can include names, gender, pictures, age, among others. 

You can invest in a tool like Blendoor, which automatically obscures the names and pictures of applicants in a resume. Or you can do this manually yourself. Use a spreadsheet to filter out the details you don’t want to see. You can also create a standardized application form that only asks applicants about their skills and experience.

Recruiters and employers are humans, and all humans are biased. The least you can do is try to reduce this bias so you can level the playing field for all applicants. Ultimately, you increase your chances of picking the best person for the job.

In closing

The role of psychology in recruitment is to make it easier for recruiters to grasp applicants’ personalities and motivations. That way, they can ensure the steps they take in the hiring process suffice for an accurate evaluation of applicants’ suitability for the job.

Follow these tips to apply recruitment psychology in the hiring process.

Avoid falling into interview pitfalls. You should introduce behavioral and situational questions in your interviews. If you move away from the usual resume picks and give tests, you can also correctly assess the contributions candidates can make if hired. Also, make sure you come up with a job description that can’t be interpreted in different ways in the first place.

Implementing these recruitment psychology tips will go a long way in helping you perform a more efficient hiring process. Ultimately, you’ll recruit the best person for the position.

Plamen Popov is the content and communications specialist for Writer, an AI writing platform designed for teams. Plamen has previously worked to develop content marketing strategies for brands like MFG, Kinguin, Acronis and Metrilo.

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