How to Pick the Star Candidate

By: Iwalani De Los Santos

This summer, we encouraged candidates and job seekers to take actionable steps to sharpen their skills and gave advice on how to set themselves apart from the competition. But how can hiring managers best prepare themselves and their team to make the best selection for a new hire?

recruitmentRecruitment Strategy

First, define the job you are looking to fill. A well-crafted job description will serve as a great reference when you begin to sift through applicants. It will provide a clear outline for what you desire in a new hire as well as keep you focused on requirements and preferences. This is an advantageous occasion to critically analyze the duties, responsibilities, necessary skills and education that you seek in a new hire.  To go deeper than the basic job requirements, consider the individual attributes of a person who excelled in that role in the past. Contemplate and identify what kinds of individual strengths you need to add to your team.

Next, create a panel of team leaders, human resources personnel, or others whom you respect to have good, professional judgment. Assemble a team of people who represent your company’s values and are skilled at identifying those values in others. This team will provide support and balance throughout the hiring process. They may be integral to an interview panel or a post-interview meeting.

Tap into your Network

You may be more connected than you think! Utilize word-of-mouth to spread information about position availability to your industry contacts, employee referrals, social media outlets, and industry leaders. Even if someone within your company is not ready to shift into the open position, they may know of someone who is ready. Reach out to your college buddies or professional organization members who are in a similar industry and can help you source for potential candidates. Professional recruiters can offer a highly-specialized approach with their own industry contacts and pool of quality candidates.  Recruiters can be an invaluable resource in finding passive candidates who are not actively searching for a new role, but whose skills may be a perfect fit for your hiring need.

Interview Strategy

Ask behaviorally-based questions to get a sense of how the candidate would respond in different situations. Some of the best indicators of future behavior is shown through examples of how someone handled themselves in the past. Ask for specific examples of how they handled a confrontation in the workplace or how they solved a difficult challenge with a customer. Preparing questions ahead of time is just as important in this process as it is for a candidate to come to the interview with questions prepared to ask of you.

How do you determine if the interviewee is the right fit for the job? At this point in the process you should already have a good idea if a candidate is capable of executing the job duties and has the necessary skills to be effective. However, you still need to consider their presence and personality to see if they will be a good match for your existing team. A top-notch candidate will present themselves with confidence and will clearly convey their interest in the position. Assess whether they are comfortable discussing their strengths and have a keen knowledge of the expected performance. Now you need to tune into your sharp, discerning executive mind to accurately read the candidate for compatibility with your team.

There are many options and new approaches you can try as you make your hiring decisions. The best piece of advice we can give is to continue nurturing your professional relationships. As you continue hiring top-quality talent, you reinforce your team’s success and gain a reputation for acquiring the best.