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Finding the Best Candidate

The people who work for your company, in essence, are your company.  It is challenging to find the best person for each position, so I want to share with you some tricks I have found to finding the best candidate.

Despite the country’s current economic situation, we have been fortunate enough to have done some hiring over the past couple of months.  We have chosen to go with the “path of most resistance” and do the hiring ourselves, as opposed to using a recruiting agency.  We figure, “Who knows what we want and need better than we do?” Our hiring process has evolved over the past few years by learning from our successes and setbacks.  In today’s blog, I am going to tell you what I have found to be the paramount hiring process.

Step 1: Posting an Ad

There are many places you can advertise for a new position.  I personally like using a site like, or where there is a lot of traffic of prospective job hunters, so you are sure you are getting the largest possible audience.   It is crucial that your job posting is specific and also attracts your target candidate.  The posting’s title should be representative of the job at hand and should not be company specific.  For example, if the job title is really called, “Lead Field Manager III,” you should use a generic title that your desired candidate will be familiar with like, “Operations Manager.”

In the ad itself be sure to include a short segment on your company’s culture, environment, and location, so they can quickly determine if they fit in with your company.  Next, list the requirements needed and then the skills required for the position as this will automatically motivate or deter job searchers from your ad.  If they have determined that they would be a good fit for the job and they obtain the desired requirements and skill set, they will want to know exactly what they will be doing.  Now list the actual job duties relevant to the position, so the candidate can evaluate if they would be able and happy to complete the duties.  

Step 2: Screening Resumes

You will probably get hundreds of resumes a day during the lifetime of the ad, and you don’t want to spend hours sorting through them, so you need a system.  For example, scan for education.  If they don’t qualify, automatically put them in the “no” pile.  If they pass the education requirement, immediately look at their work history.  If they don’t have a consistent and relevant job history (holding each job for at least two years), toss them to the “no” pile.  If they do, look deeper into their resume, and see if they address your company in their cover letter and if they have done research on your company.  Do they have grammatical errors and a poorly designed resume?  If so, toss them.  If all things match up, put them in your “yes” pile.  Once you have a stack of “yes” resumes, reduce them even more comparing the “yes” resumes to each other.

Step 3: The Interview Process

Now that you have narrowed down viable candidates per their resumes, you must put a voice and a personality with the resume, as well as find out if they are still interested in your position.  Ring each of your “yes” candidates with a five-minute impromptu call.  If they sound like a good match, come across well, and are still interested, invite them for an interview.  Keep your first interview to 30 minutes, and only evaluate their character, personality, and overall fit with your company.  Your questions are very important.  As the interviewer, do not do ANY talking except for your questions.  They have 30 minutes to show you who they are.  In the second interview, have two to three decision makers from your company present during the interview to ask tougher questions that are more relevant to the position.  Make the candidates think by asking them job-specific scenarios and situations.  In the final interview, invite back the top two to three candidates to give a presentation on a topic you ask them to research that is relevant to your company.  This will show you how they think, present, relate to an audience, and will show you if they are able to shine.  After the presentation, have them take any relevant tests (computer tests) that are related to the position to make sure they have the skills and knowledge needed.  Once you have chosen your top candidate, review their references and ask them for their relevant degrees (many people may lie about education).  Before you give them the position, invite them to a company lunch to make sure they fit in with your company.  

Now that you have gone through all the hard work to find the best candidate, you will be pleased with few surprises, but remember that you have already seen the BEST that they can be, as they have put forth their best.  They may not be as amazing as you think, but they should still be a good candidate.  Even with the best selection process, people still may not work out, so be sure to monitor them for the first 90 days, giving them goals and expectations.  After 90 days, be sure to give them a thorough review.  Happy searching!

Copyright notice: 

© Joanna Scavo & Aberdeen Captioning, Inc. 2009.

This article can be freely reproduced under the following conditions:

a) that no economic benefit be gained from the reproduction

b) that all citations and reproductions carry a reference to this original publication on [online]

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