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While resumes have long been part of the traditional talent selection process, they are not the end-all when it comes to hiring the candidate that best fits the job. While a resume is a great place to start, it only gives you a basic overview of a person’s experience and skills. Relying solely on a candidate's skill set can leave out important aspects that may contribute to how well they align with a specific role. fourThe most effective hiring decisions go beyond this initial outline, with the aim of creating a much more complete picture of the candidate at hand. You'll feel empowered to make smart, lasting hiring decisions with these four tips! 

Ask Insightful and Open-Ended Questions

To dig into a candidate’s attitude, passions, limitations, and character, you need to prepare some astute questions. For example, asking about work tasks and motivation can help you determine how well the candidate’s professional experiences align with your type of corporate environment and the personalities at your own company. Consider some of the following questions:

  • What did you enjoy most, and least, about your last workplace?
  • What was your favorite job or task, and why?
  • Tell me about your favorite and least-favorite bosses.
  • How would you sum up an ideal coworker?

Asking candidates about their hobbies can give you even further perspective. For example, if you find out a candidate writes poetry, the person is likely to be highly literate and creative. If they compete in marathons, it is a good chance they are highly disciplined and persistent in their training, which could possibly translate into a disciplined employee with an admirable work ethic.

When asking these questions, pay close attention to a candidate’s responses. They can provide subtle insight into the person’s overall character. For instance, when asking about a past professional mistake or error, you may find out how the candidate handled the issue, but you may also see how the candidate handles being asked about their errors.

One of the most important thing to keep in mind is to not monopolize the conversation. Give the candidate a chance to ask questions. This can provide understanding into what's important to them, how perceptive they are, and possible concerns they may have about the position.

Put Skills to the Test

Comprehensive questions are ideal for gathering information but putting candidates into action can be just as revealing. Getting a sense of how they perform on the spot can reveal if a candidate is really prepared for the job. If the job involves answering phones, for example, have the candidate answer a mock phone call.

If you’re looking for a writer, throw out a topic idea and have the person outline how he or she would tackle such a writing assignment. You could even give them some time to complete an assignment to get a sense of their writing style. One thing we've found valuable at Birkman is asking our perspective marketing candidates to come up with ten different ideas for blogs. After coming up with a list, the candidate is required to write one of those blogs, giving our current marketing department a chance to see how the candidate writes. 

Assess if the Personality Fits the Position

While having the right skills for a position is important, the right personality for the company also plays a part. Skills can be learned and refined over time, but the core personality traits tend to be stable. While there are benefits of all personality types, look at the traits that would mesh well with both the company and the position.

The ideal candidate should have the personality and passion to feel at ease in their role. Just as importantly, they should have a real interest in the functions and tasks of their role. When people are passionate about their work, they are more motivated and satisfied with their jobs. In turn, this results in higher productivity, enhanced workplace morale, and candidates that turn into loyal, long-time employees.

Using a personality assessment as part of your talent selection process can be a great help in this area. Effective personality assessments can provide you with information about a candidate’s interests, strengths, and possible stress reactions. When those needs are met, and personality traits are aligned with a position, both the employee and employer reap the benefits. An employee who feels passionate about their job will put time and effort into their work, as well as bringing their best traits to the job. 

Read More About Using Personality Assessments in the Hiring Process.

Provide Opportunity for Multiple Interactions

While you may be impressed by a candidate when he or she is interacting with you during the interview, you may not know how the candidate will interact with other employees and potential team members. By introducing candidates to the office, you can gauge how they interact with their possible peers, superiors, and subordinates.

Some companies really put this strategy to test by inviting leadership position candidates to lunch with support staff as part of the interview process. Candidates may be quickly eliminated due to their dismissive and rude attitudes to their support staff despite being charming to senior managers.

Off-the-job interactions can provide you with another side of a candidate. Inviting candidates to happy hour or the weekly office lunch can help determine how a candidate will interact with his or her coworkers. Invite them to a company fundraiser or other event. These scenarios allow you to observe behaviors that can provide more awareness into how well candidates may fit with your company culture.

If you combine all these elements in your hiring process, you’ll end up with a solid hiring assessment, a solid sense of each candidate, and the information needed to make an informed decision on which candidate makes the best fit.

REACHING FURTHER: When interviewing a candidate, have them rate their possible job tasks based on their interests so you can then gauge what motivates them. This can also reveal the candidate's interest in possible day-to-day tasks. While a candidate might seem interested in a specific job title or description, there isn't always a way to tell if the day-to-day functions of the position is interesting to a candidate.

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