Best Practices in HR

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  June 25, 2021

Identifying the Ideal Candidate for Employment

Hiring a high quality employee is sought after to avoid turnover within a position, which in turn saves the company money and resources. Most hiring managers and recruiters have faced the unfortunate regret of a hiring decision because the applicant appeared to be a good hire on paper, but was not able to meet the expectations of the position. There are additional, but still simple, methods to extend the effectiveness of the hiring process to better ensure the individual you choose to hire is a solid choice.

Ensure They Have a Solid Resume

Identifying the ideal candidate lies strongly with an effective resume. Resumes that are thorough and display keywords, such as with a marketing executive resume, show first-hand how the applicant advocates for themselves and displays effective written communication. You also want to ensure the resume closely matches the requirements you chose to list in the job description, because if they appear to be scattered or not tailored to the position, then you have a good indication of an applicant submitting the same resume to multiple companies. While it is not uncommon or frowned upon to apply to other companies, this also means they did not take the time to edit their resume to make it relevant to your position. While the work experience listed on a resume may be desirable, if they do not submit a top-notch resume then they may be showcasing effortlessness or a lack of written communication skills.

Evaluate Outside the Application and Interview

While every good hiring manager will carefully review an applicant’s resume and evaluate their performance during an interview, not every manager considers all interactions with the prospective employee when making their hiring decision. Qualities such as attention to detail, dressing appropriately and professionally, phone etiquette, and more can be observed through the interactions surrounding the hiring process. For example, if a prospective employee submitted their application materials via email but used incorrect grammar or sloppily named their attachments, then you have a good indication of their poor attention to detail. Every phone call, appearance, and email needs to be considered along with an applicant’s application. These interactions are opportunities for first-hand experience with their professionalism.

Make the Most of the Interview

When it is time to schedule an interview, you will want to make sure the applicant meets the basic criteria for a successful first impression. Applicants that arrive early to the interview, wear appropriate business attire, and are able to speak clearly and with good grammar have good indicators of professionalism. However, there are a couple of extra traits to look for during the interview to help take this meeting to the next level. Try asking questions that pinpoint valuable traits, such as being a self-starter with projects, or if they work well with minimal supervision. Do not be afraid to ask for specific examples! You will want an applicant that has already mastered these traits because they are not very easily taught, but are crucial aspects to a top-notch employee. Hiring an employee that can confidently make sound decisions and constantly be looking for innovative ways to improve the processes within the department are a jewel to find!

Remember to Look for Soft Skills

It is easy to focus so intently on an applicant’s previous work experience and skill sets that the proper emphasis on soft skills is neglected. Soft skills are classified as the employee’s personal traits in the workplace, and should not be overlooked because they are strong indicators of an applicant’s likelihood for success. For example, you may have an employee that is a talented website designer but is not consistent or reliable with their content. In the end, you may have to fire this talented individual because they cost the company money and potential clients.

See the list below for some highlights of Soft Skills from Indeed.com to give you a clear idea of what you need to identify in your applicants:

  • Teamwork
  • Organized
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking
  • Adaptability or Flexibility
  • Willingness to Learn
  • Empathy
  • Dependability

If you are unsure if the applicant contains these qualities based on their resume or interview, this is when performing professional reference checks should assist in filling the gaps. Taking the time to pursue a conversation with their references will provide first-hand experience of the applicant’s work ethic and well-roundedness.

Small Changes Add Up!

The ideas from this article are not necessarily new to the human resources environment, but are commonly looked over or not prioritized. Small steps such as identifying soft skills, beefing up the interview questions to extract more information about beneficial traits, or making note of interactions with the applicant outside of the interview will add up to make a large difference when incorporated throughout the hiring process. These methods may make the difference between having to encounter finding another employee to fill the same slot or being happy long-term with your ideal candidate!