For job seekers, especially those who are keen to move onto pastures new for a career change, applying for jobs can be frustrating. On the other side of the fence is the hiring manager, who is struggling to manage the influx of applications.
It’s no secret that the best candidates give your business a competitive edge and can help to drive forward your company’s success and profits. Conversely, making the wrong hire has been found to have the exact opposite impact, adding to the importance of getting the right person in place.
In order to make hiring processes more efficient, as well as providing a quality candidate experience, here are some simple steps for shortlisting the best candidates.
Define Your Criteria
If you could create the ideal candidate for the role and for the business, what would that look like? Consider factors such as skills, experience, education and personality traits when considering what the perfect applicant profile would look like. By defining a ‘holy grail’ for what you expect from applicants it will ensure you aren’t sidetracked if a candidate comes along who is of an excellent standard but isn’t fit for purpose when it comes to the position you are recruiting for.
It’s important to split out the criteria into essential and desirable to ensure that your expectations are realistic, achievable and of course, within budget!
The Importance of Cultural Fit
Throughout the interview process, it’s vital that the company culture, team dynamics and expectations are continually communicated. This should be considered at the interview stage, in terms of who the interviewers connect with and see as the best fit. Cultural fit bears a huge amount of influence when it comes to retaining top talent, if their own values and interests aren’t aligned with the wider company ethos, then they won’t be around for long.
Pay Attention to Red Flags
You’ve set the standard for what you expect from candidates, don’t budge on these just because you’ve been dazzled by an outstanding CV. If a candidate is unapologetically late, dressed inappropriately or expresses views which oppose or undermine your company’s vision then don’t put these on the back burner. If there are issues in the interview process, this is likely to extend to their work-life too.
The Process of Elimination
Each applicant on your shortlist undoubtedly looks really promising – otherwise, you wouldn’t have selected them to be one of your top contenders. Instead of trying to compare each candidate’s individual strengths and talents, a more productive way to evaluate each applicant is to even the playing field.
While a job seeker may claim to be stellar in a certain area, it’s always best to put this to the test. Setting a pre or post-interview task can really highlight who is up to the job and can put the skills they’ve listed on their CV into action. An aptitude or psychometric test can also offer the same benefits in terms of offering insights into whether an applicant is suitable for the role they’ve applied for.
While both task-based interviews and psychometric tests are hugely valuable in the process, another way to test suitability is to remove the applicant as the trusted source of information and assurances. Instead, verifying a shortlisted applicant’s education and experience claims in the form of a background check can provide far more valuable and comparable data. This will eliminate any candidates who have been dishonest in their application process – ensuring that only the most qualified and experienced are taken through to the next interview stage.
Of course, who better to talk to than a former employer? At least two professional references should be provided with reference to the applicant’s suitability for the role they’ve applied for. Aside from talking to former managers/employers, it’s also well worth having references checked and verified to ensure that you are indeed speaking to that applicant’s former colleague and not a personal connection who is aiding them in the hope of securing a coveted position that they may not be entirely suited for.
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