7 Hiring Tips to Ensure You Find the Best Candidates for the Job

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The labor situation in the U.S. remains problematic for employers with around 6 million people for around 10 million unstaffed positions. It’s driven employers to do everything from boosting wages, sweetening benefits packages, and loosening advancement requirements.

The longer businesses leave those positions unfilled with new workers, the more problematic it becomes for the business to provide the same level of service or production it once did. Yet, businesses still want the best candidates for the job.

If you’re looking for great candidates for our business, keep reading for seven hiring tips that can help smooth out your hiring process.

1. Write Good Job Descriptions

You can still see them littering job websites. Job descriptions that come with extensive lists of skills that everyone knows do not reflect the actual skills necessary to do the job. These kinds of job descriptions are a kind of fantasy list that hiring managers wish applicants brought to the table.

They’re also a terrible recruiting tool. They often put off people who could do the actual job, but can’t possibly tick every box on the skills list.

Make sure that you create a job description and skills list that accurately reflects the work and required skills for the job in question. You’ll get more applicants and set more realistic expectations.

2. Pre-Screen

Another way you can find and focus on the best candidates for the job is with a pre-screening element in your hiring process. Rather than calling in every single person who applies, you have a brief phone conversation with each candidate.

Use that phone call to review the essential skills you need and confirm the candidate has those skills. You can also take the opportunity to cover some other essential ground, such as:

  • Salary expectations
  • Candidate experience
  • Their interest level in the organization
  • The candidate’s preferred work situation, in-office, remote, or hybrid

By covering this ground in the pre-screening call, you can often eliminate bad candidates and identify excellent candidates.

3. Skill Testing

There are a lot of jobs where you can legitimately train the right candidate to do the work, but that’s not every job. In some positions, the person must come into the workplace with some baseline skills. Skill testing can go long way toward weeding out those candidates who may have exaggerated their skills on their resume.

For example, let’s say you need someone to do some front-end development. You could ask that person to do some basic coding for you that includes HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and your preferred frameworks, such as React or Angular.

While skill testing isn’t a bulletproof process, you probably won’t watch them do the actual work, it can make people self-select out of the hiring process.

4. Consider Culture Fit

An often and unfortunately overlooked area of hiring that can help you identify good candidates is culture fit. Every business from brand-new startups to established Fortune 500 companies have a culture. Some of these cultures are evolving and some are firmly established.

Knowing what kind of culture your business has can help you pinpoint candidates with a similar approach. An accounting business that deals primarily with business clients may encourage a serious-minded approach and culture. Someone who comes in with a very laid-back, “Don’t worry, it’ll get done,” attitude probably won’t fit well in that culture.

It’s not that they lack the necessary skills, but they’ll likely find their co-workers and the overall mentality of the business frustrating. That will, in turn, affect their morale and productivity.

5. Embrace Technology in the Process

Most businesses now depend on candidate tracking systems to help them keep their hiring process organized. Yet, that’s the barest tip of the technology iceberg when it comes to leveraging tech in hiring.

You can often automate things like basic skills and personality testing, through online or phone-based processes. Even doing the actual interview in person is something of a holdover from a pre-pandemic mindset.

You can just as easily conduct a Zoom Job Interview, at least for a first-round interview. If you’re looking to hire only a couple of people for higher-paying positions, conducting Zoom interviews can make it more accessible for candidates located elsewhere in the country. This approach can help you find more and better candidates.

6. Background and Reference Checks

Some hiring managers take the attitude that calling references is a waste of time, as no candidate in their right mind will list a reference who won’t talk them up. While that is almost certainly true, it doesn’t make reference checks a bad idea.

Many candidates know hiring managers won’t bother, so they simply make up references to pad out their applications. Checking references is a basic but telling honesty check.

No matter how desperate you are for bodies, you should never forego basic or in-depth background checks if necessary for the job. Catching a serious problem in someone’s background early beats finding out about it when something goes drastically wrong.

7. Ask Meaningful Interview Questions

If you can, avoid boilerplate interview questions like, “What is your greatest weakness?” Everyone prepares an answer for that and you probably won’t learn much from the answer.

Instead, try to come up with questions that force candidates to think their way through a problem. It will give you a good look into how they process problems and give you a glimpse of their personality as well.

If possible, build these questions around scenarios the candidate might actually face in the open job position.

Leveraging Hiring Tips

Leveraging hiring tips calls for you to take those tips and adapt them to your own needs. Not every job needs skills testing or deep background checks.

Not every business cares that much about culture fit. While culture fit might matter a lot in a corporate job, it likely matters less at a gas station or fast food restaurant.

Take a look at the position you want to fill and focus on the tips that will help you the most in filling that position.

Looking for more hiring tips? Check out our Business section for more posts.

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Patty Souza, an accomplished education and career expert, leverages a wealth of knowledge to guide individuals towards professional success. Patty's insights are a beacon for those navigating the educational and career landscape, providing trustworthy advice that transforms aspirations into achievements.