How to Hire the Right Person for the Job

By Derek Ross, Human Resources Consultant, East Coast Risk Management

Hiring the right person for your company can be a daunting task. There are many steps to consider throughout the entire process, from properly writing a job description to getting all parties involved on the same page. Having the proper recruitment strategy and applicant tracking systems in place before you decide to hire someone can make or break the candidate’s experience as well as your ability to find the best available candidate for the job.

When planning your recruitment strategy, the first crucial step you want to take is identifying the hiring manager(s) or key personnel in the decision making process. This will allow everyone involved to be on the same page from the get go. The next step you want to take is defining the position in an extensive, well-written job description. A solid job description lists duties, responsibilities and essential skills needed to perform the job. It gives the job seeker a good indication of the duties and necessary requirements needed to help them decide if they think they would be a fit. In the job posting, you can also give a brief description about your company, pay range, work environment, physical demands, etc.

If you’re an employer who takes a more proactive approach to recruiting, you can actively source for the qualified candidates on paid sites such as CareerBuilder, Monster, ZipRecruiter, Indeed or even Glassdoor, to name a few. Another option is to utilize free sites such as your company’s website or social media pages. Social media outlets like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter allow you to organically post open positions.

Now, let’s say you are a smaller employer that does not have an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) currently in place. Not to worry. Rest assured that there is still an easy way for smaller organizations to track potential candidates. By keeping a simple spreadsheet using software such as Excel, you can keep your hiring process on track and make sure qualified candidates are not being overlooked.

After you’ve established your list of qualified candidates from your job postings and/or sourcing efforts, the next step is candidate screening. By pre-screening the most qualified candidates first, you can save the hiring manager valuable time. This is usually done through a simple 15 to 30-minute phone call or web conferencing interview. Remember to have a solid set of questions to ask each candidate. This will ensure you are asking each interviewee the right questions, and the same questions. That consistency will help you select the best candidates for the next step in your hiring process. Your pre-screening calls also give the candidates time to ask specific questions regarding the job, company, culture, etc.

Once you have established a pool of qualified candidates through your phone screens, schedule face-to-face interviews with the hiring manager(s) and/or key decision makers. Make sure you reserve a private room ahead of time allowing at least 45 minutes to 1 hour for the interview. Again, prepare specific questions related to the job at hand. You can use many different interview techniques including behavioral-based techniques, which evaluate the person’s strengths & weaknesses as well as past behaviors.

The “STAR” method is a respected behavioral-based technique. Here is how it might look to an interviewee:

  • Situation or Task: Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.
  • Action you took: Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did — not the efforts of the team. Don’t tell what you might do, tell what you did.
  • Results you achieved: What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?

There is also the competency technique, which evaluates the person’s particular skill set and knowledge of the essential functions of the job. For example: providing a typing test for a Data Entry Clerk or Excel test for a financial position you are trying to fill. Remember, the key is to match competency testing with the needs of your company and the position for which you are hiring. Implementing solid interviewing techniques like these will help you hire the best qualified candidate for the job.  That will save you time and money, as well as reduce turnover.

At this point, after having already performed the initial pre-screenings and face-to-face interviews, you should have either selected your top candidate, or at least two or three favorites; which means now it is time to perform reference checks on these individuals. Once more, having a template of pre-determined questions ready to ask the candidates’ professional referrals is always best practice. Depending on the position you are hiring, it may be best to give the candidates pre-placement screening assessments, otherwise known as skills testing. Skills testing is an easy to way for the potential new hire to prove that they actually have the particular skills and knowledge to perform the job for which they are applying. Another excellent assessment is personality or behavioral testing. These tests are designed to provide your business with information of an individual’s behavioral style that will have an impact on their performance at work. This type of assessment can also be used as a tool to promote internally or help with development of your current staff. Neither the skills assessment nor personality/behavioral tests should be used as a standalone decision maker, but rather as supplemental tools to help you better make an informed decision.

Alright, so after having collected as much information as possible on your top candidates, it is finally time to make that job offer! Create a formal offer letter spelling out the position, start date, salary or hourly rate as well as any contingencies there may be, such as successful passing of a background check, drug test, etc. This should eliminate any surprises when it comes time for your successful candidate to sign and accept the position.

Lastly and also very important, once that offer is signed by the candidate, stay in constant contact with your new hire regarding any needed pre-employment testing and carefully communicate expectations for their first day of work. This will ensure that they arrive fully engaged and ready for their new job and possibly, new career.

If you are an employer with questions about this or any issue relating to safety, human resources or workers’ compensation, contact East Coast Risk Management by calling 724-864-8745 or emailing us at hrhelpline@eastcoastrm.com.

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