Making the right hiring decision is both a stressful and an exciting experience. If you’re lucky, the star candidate shines through as an obvious fit for the role. But with the current job market so volatile, it’s easy to feel like the right candidate will never come along.
Chances are, they’re right in front of you. As a hiring manager, you have to make sure you have the most accurate way to parse amazing candidates.
It takes effort to find the right candidate. Through careful review of the job description, intentional interviewing, and inclusion of your team, you’ll be able to make the best possible hiring decision.
Before You Begin Interviewing
- Review the Job Description: Make sure that the job description you’re using is as accurate as possible, including an absence of typos. You’d be surprised how many jobs are passed over because the candidate found a careless typo in the job description. When looking for an ideal future employee, it’s important to consider the chemistry, soft skills, and personality types. Consider mentioning what team the candidate will be working on, perhaps even the team size. Ask yourself: what weaknesses need to be addressed? Find someone to keep your team’s positive momentum, someone who aligns in terms of temperament and conflict management.
- Get Creative With Reach-Outs: Great resumes are passed over too often! Make sure to use proper, accurate keywords to flag resumes. Think of what top three skills will be needed for this job, and make sure that every candidate you consider interviewing has these three things. Don’t wait for people to apply, either! Census data shows that the vast majority of people who accepted jobs last year weren’t actively searching, but rather, recruited. “Passive candidates” are the future of recruiting and hiring, and in order to snatch ‘em you need to make sure your hiring process is well-thought-out. While searching, you can also look for companies with similar work cultures. And, don’t forget employee referrals! Reach out to your employees and ask them to search their network for an old friend or former coworker.
- Narrow Down the List: When interviewing for a position, you typically don’t want more than 8 solid candidates in the pipeline at a time. That way, they remain top of mind and you aren’t overwhelmed. Make sure before you schedule an interview to prescreen the candidates. It can be a brief, 15-minute phone call to check off the top 3 skills or a 30-minute phone interview – whatever works for your company!
During the Interview Process
- Interview Intentionally: During the interview process, you want to make sure that you’re interviewing intentionally. This means crafting strategic questions, checking internal biases, and doing research into the candidate amongst other things. No one said finding the perfect candidate would be easy.
- Ask Strategic Questions: Everyone asks about a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, so get creative with the questions you ask them. Some examples include:
- Who do you look up to the most? What qualities of them do you admire?
- What’s the biggest misconception people have about you?
- What was the biggest mistake you made in your last position, and how did you go about fixing it?
- These questions help gauge a candidate’s self-awareness, which is a very important quality for business growth & development. Make sure any answers they give you match what they said in the prescreen interview – if a candidate says they manage pressure well, but left their last position due to pressure from upper management, then you know they won’t be a good fit.
- Learn as much as you can about the Candidate: Understand how the candidate’s career aspirations align with the job. When you’re hiring someone on, you’re not just gaining a new employee, you’re also helping an individual with the next step in their career progress. Make sure that this position is a great fit for them, too. Although it’s a more common question, it’s important to gauge why the candidate wants to work for your organization specifically. If they’ve read the job description and checked out the company website, it’s easy to tell with this simple question. It helps gauge their actual interest in the position.
- Don’t forget to Check with References: A good reference can make or break your opinion of the candidate. Talking with former coworkers of supervisors helps evaluate how well they would fit in, and what kinds of strengths they’ll bring to your team. You could even go beyond the references they provide, checking out any LinkedIn recommendations or posts on their pages. Extra, informal reference checks can give you a candid picture of how they treat colleagues.
- Push for Diversity: Finally, an important part of the hiring process is to make sure that you push for diversity. If you value innovation and creative problem-solving, then you know that diversity is an integral part of any team. Find people with different perspectives of your own, who will offer a wide variety of solutions you may not have considered. Hiring a diverse team requires pushing through the implicit biases we all have, so make sure you check yourself throughout the screening process. Ask yourself, “How does this candidate’s background differ from the rest of my team? How are they bringing something new and diverse to the table?”.
Mistakes to Avoid
Now that we’ve gone over best practices, it’s good to keep in mind some common hiring mistakes to avoid. The first of which is obvious – don’t jump on the first great candidate that you see! Make sure you look through enough people to get an accurate view of the candidate pool.
On the other hand, don’t take too much time to make a decision. You have to remember that your candidate is likely job searching elsewhere, and you want to make sure that you have the opportunity to hire them before they get swept up by a competitor.
Lastly, make sure you trust your intuition! The hiring process can be stressful, but it’s also an exciting time to be able to build up your team and add an asset to your company. We wish you the best with your hiring process!