How to hire the right job candidate

Consider these tips as you strive to hire the right candidate.

As a hiring manager, you understand the importance of making the right hire. While the correct hire can potentially be a big benefit to your company, the wrong hire can negatively impact productivity, office morale and your company’s reputation. A study from CareerBuilder in 2013 revealed that 66% of employers in the U.S. reported being affected by a bad hire in the previous 12 months and that a bad hire can potentially cost a company more than $50,000 per year. Because hiring a job candidate is not something to be taken lightly, we’ve identified some basic and not-so-basic hiring tips to help you with your next hire.

Identify what you’re looking for

Before you can be sure you hire the right person for the job, you need to be sure you know what you’re looking for. Determine the top competencies and personality traits that are needed for the person you hire to be successful in the role and a strong fit with the company’s culture. To help figure out the ideal competencies, look at some of your top employees to see what they have in common and what it is about their work that makes them a good fit for your company. Assemble this information into a clear job description built specifically for the job.

Know what questions to ask

We’re all familiar with the typical, generic interview questions generally used during interviews (e.g. “tell me about yourself” or “why do you think we should hire you?”). While many of these questions can be helpful when it comes to identifying a strong candidate, consider creating your own open-ended and thought-provoking interview questions with the top competencies for the job in mind. Some examples may include:

  • “Tell me about a time when…”
  • “What did you like most about [a job on their resume]? What did you like least about this job?”
  • “What are your favorite types of projects to work on?”
  • “What is the best job you’ve ever had? Why?”
  • “Tell me about a time you had to make a difficult decision, and the process you went through to arrive at the decision.”

As a candidate answers these types of questions (that you’ve customized for the job), you’re likely to get genuine and unrehearsed answers.

Be consistent

As you meet with candidates, do your best to create a consistent interview process and environment for each of them. This way, you’re comparing apples-to-apples when it comes to comparing the candidates, the interviews and the responses.

Involve the department in the hire

The personnel in the department are heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the department and its culture. Consider keeping the department staff involved throughout the hiring process, as they understand what it takes to do the job on a daily basis and may offer valuable insight and opinions that can ultimately help lead you to the right decision.

Implement tests into the hiring process

To get a better sense of a candidate’s practical skills, consider implementing tests and reviewing portfolios during the hiring process. If you’re hiring a copy editor, ask them to proofread a flawed document. If you’re hiring a designer, ask them to design something and show you a portfolio of relevant work. Taking the time to see a candidate’s skills in action and to review their work can give you a stronger idea of their ability to be successful in the position.

Avoid the “charisma trap”

Keep in mind that sometimes the most charming and well-spoken candidate is not necessarily the best person for the job. It can be easy to become enamored by an eloquent candidate, but this doesn’t mean they necessarily possess the right skills or personality traits for the job. Strive to be as objective as possible as you analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.

Learn from past hiring processes

Perhaps the best resource you have during a hiring process is the knowledge and experience you’ve gained from previous ones. As you’re looking to hire a candidate, take some time to reflect on past hiring processes you’ve been through and reflect on what worked and didn’t work. Use these past experiences to improve the hiring process this time around.

What are some of your best tips for hiring the right job candidate?


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