10 Essential Stages of Hiring The Perfect Candidate

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One of the life skills any manager or business leader worth their weight should concentrate on is hiring good people. Even if you have the luxury of a HR department (or as they like to be referred to these days "Talent Management") they can't make a call on if someone suits your team. Here are the crucial steps to ensuring you gain a successful team addition:

1. Job Description

The first key step into hiring is to know what the role you are filling. This should include a background to the company, detailed job description and key competencies and skills you are looking for. These days it is important to sell the role to potential candidates. The good ones will be in demand. If the role description is vague, potential candidates will misinterpret their skill set and go for a job they aren't suited for. This is just a waste of everyone's time.

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2. Tell The World

If you are lucky enough to have a recruiter they will do it for you. Working with a recruiter who knows your business and the types of candidates you like is the best option. They are the perfect middle man. They know who is on the hunt, what they will want to move from their current and the candidate you have hired in the past. The good ones will work out your formula, what education background, previous job background down to the type of personalities you liked.

LinkedIn is powerful too. This does lead to a lot more filtering as candidates in the mind set to blast out their CV will apply for anything.

If you have your own powerful platform and social following that is a great way to do it.


3. Review Incoming Applications

A hiring manager has the the attention span of about 30 seconds. The CV must hit all the sweet spots very quickly. I go in the order of the following:

  • Overall look of the CV, do they care enough to want this job
  • Current job
  • Previous Job
  • Education
  • What money they want ? - is it even worth speaking to them.
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4. Short List Telephone Interview

Get to a short list from all the candidates that applied. From here on in it is all about the data. Set up a list of questions to qualify their previous experience. Ask questions about the job and score each candidate on their answers to each. This gives me a very quick overview of where the red line is. From here eliminate 80% of candidates. This is a timely process to set up but worth it. A fifteen minute conversation allows you to get through 4 candidates, where as an interview is an hour minimum.


5. Test

If you have the means a test at this stage is a good indicator of abilities and may rule out those you were unsure off. It is only part of the process to consider. Sometimes overlooking this score for a person with great passion can pay off but you really have to go with science sometimes. If two candidates are equal in every way except for score, pick the one with the better test score.


6. Short List Interview One

From telephone interviews select the candidates that scored well and arrange to meet them. The first interview has to be formalised. A fixed running order and questions answered in almost a robotic way. This again allows you to score all candidates fairly. Starting off with the question what do you know about us as a company and what we do will highlight the prepped and engaged candidates over them going through the motions. Allowing candidates to ask you a question will also highlight if they are switch on to what you are about. Beware of candidates who ask about sick days here!


7. Short List Presentation

When the list is down to single digits even if there is one outstanding candidate it is good to see them in a work scenario so get them to present to you on a fixed topic. It can be on a current business issue you have to see how their mind works. Case studies used over a long term basis are also a good way to judge candidates suitability. Make the case study relevant to the business you are in.

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8. Feedback

It is a good policy to offer candidates feedback after you have met them. Commit to getting back to candidates within a certain timeframe even to those that never made it to stage one. It is unfair to leave them hanging.


9. Offer & Formalise

Once you find your new hire and fall in love give them an offer quickly. Formalise this with a contract and agree on a start date. Agree and get all terms in writing quickly. Good candidates will be on the hunt for new jobs and potentially have a number of suitors.


10. Review Within 90 Days Of Start Date

Ensure you follow up with a challenge for the first 90 days and give the new hire a clear review at this point. If all the above is followed it should work out to be a beautiful relationship. If not then you need to fire fast.

This will be covered in a future article!


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Written By

Graham Kinsella

General Manager Lovin Group