The most difficult task for a talent acquisition expert is to hire the right candidate for the right job. It’s not as simple as posting job ads and getting them on board. If you make the mistake of hiring the wrong candidate, then they end up with the wrong job, resulting in wasting time, money, and resources invested in that particular employee, not to mention disruption in work processes.
So, how do you ensure you hire the right candidate for the job you want to fill? Here are some effective strategies you can adopt and adapt to your hiring process.
What to do before hiring
Every recruiter knows that hiring starts with a job ad. But did you know that your ad is the first impression a candidate has of your company, and based on that, they decide to apply? That’s how important the ad is, so you need to make sure you get it right.
To start, make sure your job title matches the work description, including roles/duties, skills required, deliverables, and reporting lines.
This is also where you make your company appear as a positive workplace by filling in information about the brand, business/service, and type of people who work there to motivate candidates to learn more about your company.
If your job ad doesn’t get the eyeballs, the right candidates won’t be able to apply. Some ways to do this is to post the job ad in forums, the company's social media pages, newspapers, networking sites, job groups, job listing sites, etc. For example, if your position is for graduate students, then connect with schools and colleges to post your ad on their job boards.
Effective strategies for candidate selection
You’ve got the job ad right and received tons of resumes. Super! However, the real job starts here.
1. Sifting resumes
It’s a mundane task, but somebody has to do it. As a talent acquisition officer, you must ensure that the job description and resume have at least a 70 percent match before you can shortlist the applicant. Sift and look for the right skills, education, past job roles, duration of work, and companies they’ve worked for. Keep in mind that some candidates might not appear to fit the bill, not because they don’t have the right skill sets but because there are gaps in their resumes, such as breaks to complete college degrees, running a home business for the time being, maternity/paternity break, or medical reasons. For such individuals, allow them to clarify during the interview.
Some companies use resume-sifting tools like
Some hiring managers benefit from the use of artificial intelligence in the hiring process. Each tool might use a different algorithm to identify the right candidate, so we recommend evaluating them carefully before integrating them into your hiring process entirely.
2. Initial questions
So, you’ve got your shortlisted applicants. It's time to zoom in and select the right candidate for the right job by getting them to answer some initial questions. These questions may be from the hiring manager or yourself and can be emailed. For a content writer, this could be asking for sample writing. For a software developer, it could be asking for a code repository like Github. Some major companies ask for recommendation letters, work permits, certifications, as in the case of hiring a CPA, and even criminal records.
3. Trial or test
Some hiring managers prefer to test the candidate hands-on, so a day’s paid trial or a short analytical test is an effective method. What you are looking for during the test is the right fit for the right job, teamwork, attitude, and mannerisms, and whether they have the required or can learn soft skills to carry out their duties.
4. The interview
Many talent acquisition experts consider the face-to-face interview the crux of hiring decisions, but that is not the case. Nowadays, conducting an interview is a formality for humanizing the recruitment process.
Both the candidate and the hiring manager already know each other on paper; they meet to ask or exchange ideas/beliefs/questions that can only be clarified at a face-to-face meeting. Some pondering questions that you may ask during the interview process include:
- worst-case scenario;
- problem-solving skills;
- recollection of awkward situations;
- career aspirations;
- candidate’s contribution to the organization
- what the company offers the candidate
5. Hiring decision
Finally, it’s decision time. Out of hundreds of applications, a tenth or less may have been shortlisted and interviewed, but there is only one open position (or maybe a few). The best way to select the right candidate is to review your job description again, review the interviews and profiles, and consider the following points.
Team player—Someone willing to work in a team is preferable in today’s horizontal organizations. Even if a candidate is used to working solo, some form of team interaction experience is better than nothing. Such a team member would adapt to all types of workplace dynamics, hierarchy, departments, and even outside the office, they are willing to adapt to relocated sites.
Self-motivated—A self-driven candidate, passionate about their work, can shoulder a project independently. Regardless of the size and breadth of the project, you can depend on them to achieve timely and accurate deliverables. Moreover, employers are keen on hiring people who can work on their own to save time and money on hiring supervising resources.
Progressive mindset— Candidates wanting to learn, progress, and grow are valuable prospects. A growth mindset is hard to come by because most employees get comfortable in their jobs as long as they feel secure. Training, workshops, and on-the-job opportunities are chances for growth, but it's futile if one doesn’t have a growth mindset. For an organization to progress, employers need people who can contribute to their growth and expansion goals.
The right fit for the right culture—Each organization has its own work dynamics cultivated by the pool of human resources. Getting someone new to join and expecting them to change themselves to adjust to the new culture is difficult and sometimes downright impossible in some cases. If a candidate has a personality and approach similar to your existing employees, chances are, they have the right cultural fit for your organization.
Have you got the right candidate?
When you have a candidate who checks all these above points, you have a winner. However, hang in there. They might disagree with what you put on the table regarding the whole package. What do you do then? You have two options—either pursue them with a better offer or go for the second-best candidate. For the former, you might want to woo them with convincing perks, prospects, career development opportunities, participation in company revenue share, flex hours for work-life balance, etc., as positive points for joining your company. If you aren't in a position to negotiate, or if you cannot come to an agreement with the applicant, then you would go with the second option, repeating the same process until you get the right person.
Once the candidate accepts your offer, it's now your responsibility to ensure that you have a solid onboarding process in place so that your new hire has the best experience and is in a position to make a positive impact on the organization.
Making good hiring decisions is an important aspect of leadership, but it isn't by any means the only one. Learn more about how to develop better leadership and management skills.
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