Four Tips for Choosing the Best Candidate for the Position

Jolene Pilgrim
7 Nov 2017

While many articles and blogs devote plenty of time to the job-searching, interview and offer process, far fewer take on the mission of education from the employer’s perspective.  If you’re a hiring manager or other decision maker in your company’s candidate onboarding program, you know just how much is riding our your ability to make a well-informed decision when it comes to selecting just the right candidate for your organization’s most recent job opening.

With ever-increasing concerns regarding the costs of candidate recruitment, employee turnover, and overall company productivity, it’s more important than ever to ensure you choose just the right piece for your staffing puzzle.  If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re in luck.  We’ve compiled four easy and simple strategies to help you choose the best candidate for the position during your next recruitment endeavor.

Experience Counts

When it comes t selecting an appropriate candidate for a callback, interview or offer, perhaps the biggest consideration will be their relevant and applicable prior experience.  This is often the easiest category for most employers as the information on interviewees can be found on their resume, CV or networking profiles.  Easy, however, doesn’t always mean simple and there are a few experience specific considerations to keep in mind to help with candidate selection.

Hiring managers should give more than just a cursory once-over to a candidate’s job titles.  While many labels are standardized across industries, you will occasionally run into vast differences in reporting hierarchies, day to day responsibilities and general sophistication across different industry employers.  Greater weight should be given to the description of prior work over the actual job title.  Keep an eye out for relative size of previous employers also.  Director of HR for a 10 person company has a much different level of sophistication than for a 100 or 1000 person establishment and the differences can affect a candidate’s ability to perform the job and potential compensation package.

So Does Personality

As the saying goes, experience is as experience does.  Okay, so we might have made that piece of sage advice up, but there is definite truth in the fact that education and experience should be far from the sole consideration when selecting the prime candidate for your open gig.  

Hiring managers should spend some time assessing the current personalities within their department.  Finding a good personality fit may mean taking into consideration details such as how outgoing a candidate is, how talkative they are and how engaging they appear generally.  If you have a quiet, reserved department the social butterfly of an employee may not fit in as well as someone who is a bit less chatty.  Likewise, if your team enjoys socializing outside of work, a team member who is reclusive but talented may cause waves or have problems properly integrating with the group.  If there is a personality mismatch, this doesn’t mean they are a no-go as a candidate but hiring managers should be prepared with a plan for integration or for addressing different working styles or points of view.

What about those Soft Skills

When it comes to choosing the best interview candidate for the position, another key area of qualification may be a bit harder to define but is infinitely valuable for ensuring productivity and performance.  We’re talking about that list of undefinable personality traits that make someone not only a good co-worker, but that also allow them to execute judgment and discernment in their decision-making process on the job.

Soft skills, as these traits are called, include personality traits such as intuitiveness, tact, professionalism and other characteristics that are hard to put your finger on but instantly recognizable.  Before interviewing your candidates, put together an “ideal quality list” you’d like to see in the soft skill department.  While you may not be able to snag an individual with each of these traits, a quality hire will possess at least several soft skills that will help them perform in the position.

Think Outside the Box

As far as closing advice goes, hiring managers should realize that the key to choosing the right candidate for their open job listing will often involve thinking outside of the box.  Take for example job title or experience.  If you’re in need of a sales professional your first inclination may be to hire someone who’s been working in the field for a number of years.  Depending on your individual company’s needs and the personalities of those already in the department, however, someone with customer service or HR skills who is outgoing and a quick learner may perform equally as well, if not better, than a seasoned professional.  Look for commonality in job duties more than matching job titles and be open to the idea of cross training.  This will help ensure that you hire the best available candidate with the highest likelihood of long-term contribution to the role.

Jolene Pilgrim