Job seekers today have a wealth of information in books and online about how to best “perform” during an interview; how to answer interview questions that best fit a particular industry; basically how to give good, or rather excellent presentations during an interview. So that job seekers are well informed on how to “play the game,” I even teach job seekers how to present themselves. But how does an employer muddle through the numerous applicants and select the best one?
Successful small business owners, as well as hiring managers for larger corporations, are able to select the best EMPLOYEES, not necessarily the best APPLICANTS. I have gathered a few suggestions on how to do just that.
Be clear about the job description
A good starting point in the hiring process is to develop a clear and concise job description. According to The U.S. Small Business Administration (What Are You Looking For? Writing Effective Job Descriptions.), the job description should include an explanation of the position’s responsibilities, minimum background required and skills needed to perform the position. A good job description can also be used as a marketing tool for the company by including a brief synopsis of the company’s background and future plans.
Interview at least three to five people for the position
There is no magic number of candidates to interview; however, the more people you interview the greater selection of choices you will have. Of course time and expense plays a role in the process, but try to avoid stopping the interview process even if the first candidate you interview seems perfect for the position.
Get at least one personal reference in addition to professional ones
A personal reference will help reveal the true character of a person and what type of person he or she is away from the job site.
Shift the focus from past behaviors to more verifiable experiences and achievements
Job applicants are aware of what questions might be asked during an interview and unfortunately many employers have hired the best performer, not necessarily the best employee. According to Mel Kleiman in How to Hire Great Employees (Not Great Applicants), a majority of questions are based on certain past behaviors that act as a predictor of future behaviors; however, behaviors are difficult to verify.
“Tell me what you learned from your very first paying job.” This is a good question since our first learning experiences generally set patterns for later experiences.
Any salesperson, job seeker or hiring professional knows from experience that you get a small number of good leads from a much larger batch (on average, two interviews for every fifty resumes). But eventually the big sale, right job or job seeker is found. It just takes persistence.
You cannot clone yourself (at least not yet)
This is a good point to remember. You will not be able to hire a person who acts, thinks and works the same way you do. Instead, think of another person that might balance out your weakness or has knowledge and experience that you can learn from.
Hopefully by following these suggestions employers will be able to hire the best employee, not necessarily the best “performer.” After all, even great employees get a little nervous sometime.
David Spears is a member of the Workforce Solutions Navigator team for the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Combining training and education to real world examples, David brings personal and professional experience with disabilities to the table in order to help job seekers with disabilities realize their potential. David has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration with over 20 years of experience in the business world.