How to Choose the Best Applicants for Job Positions

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Choosing the right candidate for a position is a critical decision. A good hire can make a company run that much more smoothly. However, a bad decision can result in disruption in the working of a company, plus the added expense of going through the entire hiring process again. The steps below can maximize the probability of getting the hiring decision right the first time.

Things You'll Need

  • Signed release for background check
  • Resume for each candidate
  • Interview notes

Choosing the Best Applicants for Jobs

Sort and rank candidate resumes. This ranking will be based on the most important criteria for the job. The resumes that most closely match the requirements or job descriptions should be ranked higher. Details such as the appearance of a resume and spelling errors can provide valuable clues about how a potential employee will perform once she is on the job.

Conduct pre-screening interviews of the most promising candidates. This is most commonly done through a telephone interview, but it can also be done by email. If your company has a Human Resources department, this is an ideal task to delegate. Candidates who pass the pre-screening interview should be considered for face-to-face appointments with a hiring figure.

Schedule and conduct interviews. Focus your interview questions on the critical aspects of the job. Ask questions that determine whether the candidates have done their homework on the company. Obtain more details about significant achievements of each candidate that are related to the job. This is the time to ask about the details of each job or achievement or to question gaps in the resume.

Check the candidates' credentials. Obtain a signed release to do a background check to verify a candidate's education, references and past employment. If applicable, include a criminal background check and a credit check.

Assess whether candidates would be a good fit with the culture of the company. Determine whether you felt at ease with a particular candidate during the interview. Also observe canddiates' dress and grooming. If you have support staff, ask them about their interactions with different candidates.

Tips & Warnings

  • Psychological testing can provide an added tool for assessing the general fit of potential candidates. Candidates who present strong cover letters, along with detailed job descriptions in their resumes, and who project genuine enthusiasm will likely perform well on the job, assuming they are qualified for the position.
  • Avoid asking illegal questions, such as those referring to age, national origin or whether a female candidate has or is planning to have children. While credit checks are legal, they may result in screening out well-qualified candidates, especially during difficult economic periods. Use them with discretion. Do not automatically assume a candidate with a disability will be unable to handle the requirements of a job. Unless a job involves heavy physical labor, accommodations that would make it possible for a disabled person to perform the job can be relatively simple and inexpensive.

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