Being able to select and hire outstanding professionals into your organization defines the future of your company.  Not only is it important for the employee to be competent, but the individual also has to be the right match for your company’s culture. In an effort to help you streamline your hiring process so as to reduce the time it takes to conduct the search, as well as provide recruiting tips to enhance your probability of bringing in that Star Candidate, we’ve developed a fantastic checklist that will help you recruit and hire the very best.

1. Read into the Resume

The resume is typically used as a straightforward index of one’s professional history. However, a Star Candidate would have taken the time to tailor that resume for your specific position.

You should never get the impression the candidate broadcasted his resume out to 100 different companies.  The applicant’s objective should be in alignment to your position, the tasks and responsibilities listed should speak to the job requirements listed in your job description, and in a best case scenario you should have received a cover letter explaining why working for your company in this position will enable him to grow and meet his career goals.

Additionally, by reading into subtleties you can determine important qualities such as seeing a pattern of supervisory positions providing an indication of leadership abilities and initiative, overlapping jobs and volunteer experience which indicate exceptional time management skills, or unexplained and/or chronic employment gaps indicating a lack of work ethic.

Lastly, look for measurable accomplishments to be listed on his resume, not just job functions. It is much better to see a statement like “through the use of Lean Six Sigma managed a team that drove process improvements into the division resulting in a cost reduction of 24 million while improving customer satisfaction by 10%” rather than “managed Lean Six Sigma team”.  This subtle difference in phrasing will show you if the candidate is results driven.

2. Don’t Skip the Phone Interview

I have clients who go straight from resume review to a face to face interview.  Face to face interviews are a huge benefit in many ways, and I definitely recommend them where they make sense; however they take a lot to coordinate and pull valuable time away from the team members who will participate in these sessions.

Don’t waste your or your team’s time by going straight into the face to face interview.  Always start out with a Phone Interview.  I typically eliminate about 90% of my candidates through the phone interview step which means the 10% who are awarded the face to face interview have already been qualified as strong candidates.

3. Use Behavioral Interviewing

Behavioral Interviewing is an exceptionally effective method of determining true experiences, character, and personality throughout an interview. The reason Behavioral Interviewing is so effective is because you ask open-ended questions about the candidate’s true experiences.

For example, using the traditional interviewing method you may ask “Please describe your experience managing other people”.  The response will typically be in terms of years’ experience, size of team, and maybe a little about the project or operations overseen.  The answer doesn’t tell you if he was an effective manager, what challenges he overcame, his accomplishments, how he communicates or handles conflict, etc.  When using the behavioral interviewing method, you could ask a similar question about his experiences:  “Tell me about a time where you were managing a team and you had someone on your team not doing their fair share of the work…and please tell me how you dealt with it.

Now, not only is the candidate going to tell you about the dynamics of his team, but his response will give you an idea of his management style, how he handles conflict, and if he is appropriate in the way he deals with issues and problems.

Using a behavioral interviewing approach will give you a better idea of what the candidate has truly experienced and how he reacted, which will be an indication of his future performance.

4. Conduct both a Background Check and Reference Check

I would highly recommend you do both a background check and a reference check.  While most Hiring Managers understand the importance of conducting a background check, many Hiring Managers overlook the value of reference checks.  Don’t assume the candidate has evaluated himself properly and has selected references which will shed him in the best light.  Warning signs for references include: references from close relatives, unprofessional relationships (boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.), an unfavorable response from the reference about the candidate, noticeably out of date references, or the candidate is unable to provide references quickly.  Take a look at this article for more on Reference and Background Checks.

5. Make Prompt Decisions and have Scheduled Communications

Making well-timed decisions in regards to recruiting a fantastic candidate is an overlooked necessity. If long gaps of time occur in communications with a candidate, the candidate may feel as if you have moved on or are not interested. Avoid losing the candidate to a different opportunity by making timely decisions and establish a system of communicating status to the candidate. Also, enhance your company’s credibility by notifying all candidates of their status within the recruiting process, even those who are rejected! Those released will be grateful for the honesty, and those still being recruited and interested will know that they need not accept another job.

Written by Leah Brooks

Dedication to Every Client’s Success,

Angela Roberts


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