You’ve culled a group of possible hires from the virtual stack of resumes and cover letters sent in, and you think you have some good candidates. Now, bear in mind that resumes don’t come to work every day — you’re hiring a person. You could simply go on what you have in front of you, but how do you get the candidate who will do well long term, who has the best potential to add something significant to your organization? There are several steps to take both before and after the resume portion of hiring to get that employee whom you’ll want to keep on as more than just a temporary hire.
First of all, make your job expectations clear up front. A detailed job description makes it obvious to a candidate what they need to bring to the position and what they are expected to do. It makes the hiring committee’s job easier because it gives them a sort of checklist to work off of as well. Make sure that if you have a “Job Openings” or “Join our Team!” page on your website, you have the company’s mission, vision, values, and culture defined. This, in its own way, sells the company to the candidate and makes it clear what you’re looking for.
Secondly, use all of your resources. Have your current employees be on the lookout for potential hires. Networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can have surprisingly effective results when current employees reach out to their qualified connections. Utilize meetings at trade shows. Use industry contacts and association memberships. And don’t forget the traditional methods of recruiters and headhunters.
Finally, spend as much time with each candidate as possible. Start with a phone interview, asking questions that allow them to demonstrate their skills and potential (bear in mind that a candidate can find traditional questions on the Internet; try to ask questions that can’t easily have a preformulated answer). The best hiring managers tend to use this exploratory practice before moving to in-person interviews. Go for potential over experience and don’t be afraid to adjust the job to fit the right candidate — this can make for a longer working relationship in the end.
The bottom line is that you want to hire the person who has the most potential to improve his skills, add overall value to your workplace, and meet your highest level of qualifications. If you settle for nothing less than your ideal and take the time to find it, chances are good that you’ll get, and keep, that quality person you’re looking for.