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Ultimate Recruiters Guide: 4 Proven Candidate Evaluation Strategies

December 11, 2020 | By Jeramy Gordon

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Good hires begin with a good, solid recruiting strategy. While there’s no single recruiters guide that guarantees absolute hiring success, there are a number of tried and true strategies that, if consistently implemented, will speed up the hiring process, ensuring applicants get hired quickly and employers select the right person for the job.

Strategy #1: Create Your Must-Have List

Before you can start recruiting, you must carefully evaluate and define the specific requirements for the position. Asking and answering the following questions will help get you on the right track:

  • What are the basic requirements for the position? Your answers might include specific college degrees, professional certifications, salary parameters, willingness to relocate, and the like. This list should track closely to the job description. Defining these basic requirements will help you quickly narrow down the applicant pool so you only spend precious resources moving forward with candidates who meet this minimum threshold.
  • What are the essential skills and attributes necessary for success in the position? Customer services representatives need to have a good phone presence and be able to calmly handle contentious interactions, while salespeople need to have resilience in the face of repeated rejection. Likewise, managers need a specific set of skills in order to get the most from their teams and drivers need to have a solid record of safe driving. Identifying the skills required for success will help you know what to look for when reading resumes and conducting interviews.

Technology makes much of this easier. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) help you quickly sort through resumes and applications to find the individuals who meet your basic requirements.

Strategy #2: Focus Your Search

Once you’ve gathered the applicants who satisfy your basic requirements, you’re likely still left with a substantial pool of potential candidates. You can focus your search by considering the following:

  • Career trajectory. A good candidate’s career should show a steady progression of jobs with increasing responsibility. Don’t trust job titles; those don’t tell the whole story. Instead, consider what roles the individual has performed and the skills they have acquired.
  • Administer an aptitude test. If the job in question involves a specific set of testable skills, administering an aptitude test targeting those skills can help you narrow your search to candidates who perform well.
  • Conduct telephone interviews. Short phone screen interviews can help you focus your search and provide context to what is on the resume.  Twenty to thirty minutes on the phone is sufficient time for you to ask a handful of illuminating questions, such as:
    1. What can you tell me about yourself? The candidate should be prepared for this softball question and give an answer that directs you to their key accomplishments.
    2. Why are you interested in this position? If they indicate their enthusiasm for research but the role is largely creative, you’ll know it isn’t a good fit.
    3. What are your salary expectations? There’s no need to proceed further if there’s a significant gap between salary expectations and what you are prepared to offer.

Strategy #3: Hone Your Interviewing Skills

Interviews continue to be a highly valuable recruiting tool if done well. Interviews work two ways: They are a chance for you to sell your company to stellar applicants and a chance for applicants to put their best foot forward; everyone in the room should be looking to impress. You never want to lose good talent because of a bad experience in the interview. Conscientious preparation is important. Consider the following before going into an interview:

  • Do you have all the information you need to share with the applicant your company’s mission, strategy, structure, and culture?
  • Are you prepared to answer questions about benefits and perks?
  • Do you understand the responsibilities and expectations of the position being filled and are you prepared to explain them and answer questions?
  • Have you read the candidate’s application and resume?
  • Have you discussed your interview strategy with other members of the interview team to guard against unnecessary duplications?

Once you’re prepared, you can tackle interview questions. Yes, while interviews are opportunities for both parties to shine, they are also important opportunities for you to learn what the candidates know, how they’ve applied and tested their knowledge and skills, and where their goals and aptitudes lie.

Asking the right questions is key. Give the applicant opportunities to share how they’ve responded to challenges and discuss their experiences with the skills required for the job.  A great interview should feel like a conversation rather than a barrage of questions and answers.

Strategy #4: Conduct a Background Check

Regardless of how great the interview was or how excited you are by a candidate’s experience, you should never onboard anyone relying solely on resumes and conversations. Background checks are a critical component of the hiring process. Employment background checks conducted by professional screening firms can serve to verify an applicant’s identity, confirm education and professional credentials, corroborate work history and experience, provide criminal, credit, drug and or driving history, to name a few.

They can use e-verify technology to confirm that an applicant is legal to work in the United States. Experienced firms are able to conduct thorough, accurate, and reliable global background screenings efficiently and cost-effectively. Accurate Background provides all levels of background checks for employment, comprehensive compliance tools, and seamless ATS integrations that you and your applicants will appreciate.

It’s important to mention that background checks come with legal restrictions against discrimination. Your background check policy should be clear and make a strong statement about the purpose of your policy and why checks are needed. Background screenings should always directly correlate to job responsibilities and should be consistent across the board on how and when you run them. You cannot choose to background check applicant A, but not check applicant B; you must do both or neither.

In addition, a criminal history does not necessarily need to be exclusionary; criminal behavior on its face does not mean a candidate should be rejected. Weighing all the evidence and giving the applicant a chance to explain, and documenting it, is a best practice.

Strategies for Success

The average job opening attracts approximately 250 resumes and takes an average of over 42 days to fill. Implementing the strategies outlined in this recruiters guide will streamline your process and ensure that the time and resources spent on recruiting result in good hires each and every time.

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