How to Recruit the best Candidates

Reading the Resume

Finding Relevant Skills:

Have a clearly defined position before you post the job opening and look at resumes.  Unless you know specifically what you’re looking for, you will have significant pitfalls.  You can potentially get great candidates, but not for the right position.  That’s still a bad candidate because you are not able to utilize their real potential value.

With a bullet point list of the skills you need, scan through resumes for these skills and achievements.  Not every candidate will have all of them, but good candidates will have close to 75% of what you’re looking for.

Warning Signs:

There are many things to look out for in a bad resume.  This includes…

Job Hopping: The candidate stays at each job for no more than a year and appears to “hop” from job to job.  This decreases the likelihood that the candidate will stay at your company for an extended period of time.  For some entry level positions this might be ok.  Some jobs are even designed to be seasonal, but if you’re looking to keep somebody on for the long-term, it’s best to watch out for this trait.

Not working: Some candidates may take extended periods of time before working again.  This can be cause for following up on in a phone interview.  There could be good reason for the period without work.  Given the recent recession, it’s more likely for candidates to have increased difficulty in finding work, but it is always good to ask the candidate directly about the period of time without work.

Poor Writing: This is probably the most obvious thing to watch for.  If the resume is unorganized or as multiple grammatical errors, this is likely the type of work you can expect at your company.  A resume is a very important document.  If there are errors there, there is a very high likelihood that you will find significantly more errors in their work.

In the Interview:

1st Impression Phone Call:

It’s always good to have a phone interview before a one-on-one meeting.  This is advantageous for a few reasons.  Firstly, when you call the interviewee, they haven’t yet had the chance to prepare for speaking with you.  This will give you a partial glimpse at their authentic self.  In some cases the individual will be very nervous and this has to be taken into account.  But second, also consider how the person will act and behave in first time phone calls with your clients, employees, etc.  How well does this person interact with new people they have never met before?  In some positions this attribute won’t be as important.  In all cases, it is important that they are able to effectively communicate when under pressure and when they’re not.  According to, people are very effective at evaluating extroversion and sociability based on first impressions, so you can go on your gut instinct with some of that.  Not everything is revealed in the first interview though.  You’ll need to spend more time in interaction with this individual before you can be relatively sure about other aspects of their qualifications and personality.

2nd Impression 1-1 Interview:

The follow up interview is a great way to check for consistency.  It’s ok to ask some of the important questions from the first interview a second time because sometimes you’ll get a different response.  Getting a different response often can indicate there is something the interviewee is trying to hide.

Asking for both their favorite and least favorite aspect of their jobs can be very revealing.  You might be disturbed by how they talk about their previous boss.  This could be how they talk about you later on!  An authentic answer won’t overly preach how great their boss was either though.  A good authentic answer will provide constructive criticism of the former employer.  Employees need to be able to provide positive and negative feedback to others in a constructive way.  It is the only way to have effective communication moving forward with your prospective employee.

As well, asking questions that probe for how the employee plans to improve him/herself overtime is also important.  It’s equally important that the employee is able to receive positive and negative feedback in a constructive manner as it is for them to give that feedback.

Screening Your Prospective Employee:

You can’t expect to gain all of the necessary insight on your prospective employee in just two interviews.  It’s important to thoroughly check the background of every employee you hire in terms of criminal, credit, working, and even sometimes rental history.  Some people are very good at appearing authentic when you meet them, but in reality they have a secret past/present.  Screening is also a good tool to cross reference with the employee’s own story with their actual history.  Credit scores can indicate to you how responsible the employee will be in the work place.  All in all, while interviewing can be subjective, performing a background check helps to objectify your choice of employee with hard numbers and data.

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