Tips on Hiring Great Employees: Before, During and After the Interview

You have decided you need to hire a new employee. You have written a detailed and comprehensive job description. The goal is to now find a great, if not exceptional, employee to fill the role.

Now comes the hard part, deciphering between the good, great and bad candidates. Below is a compilation of steps to take and questions to ask before, during and after an interview.

Before the interview

In a previous post, we described the importance of job descriptions and their value in the hiring process. The next step is posting those job descriptions where quality candidates are able to find them easily. Post the position as many places as possible. Tip - do not forget about social media and university career postings. The job description should do some of the preliminary the work of filtering mediocre candidates and attracting the right ones. 

Once you start receiving resumes, you will have to initially weed out the candidates that are not a fit. Every company will have unique warning signals, but here are a few common red flags that automatically say, “Do Not Hire!”.

Misspellings or Grammatical Errors

Misspelling and grammatical errors are an immediate warning sign. The candidate is almost doing you a favor and telling you not to hire him/her. Right off the bat, these errors can indicate laziness and a lack of attention to details.

No Cover Letter

Cover letters are an applicant’s first opportunity to showcase their personality, develop their resume and illustrate their skills. No cover letter should equal no hire. A candidate who does not take the time to write a meaningful cover letter immediately demonstrates low motivation and effort.

Long and Vague Resumes

Another issue to be handled with concern is lengthy resumes. Length does not correlate with amount of experience. Long resumes are often extremely wordy and do not contain actual quality information. The long winded resume is more likely to be found when a candidate does not have a lot of experience but attempts to fluff up their resume. An example would be a candidate who uses an entire page to describe an internship that only lasted 3 months. This could be a warning sign of an exaggerated resume or the the lack of ability to communicate effectively and efficiently.

During the Interview

A telephone interview, or even telephone conversation, is good place to start. A ten minute phone call can potentially save you hours of interview time. A phone interview helps to determine the candidates communication skills and can help stop lower quality candidates from making it to an interview.

When the face-to-face interview arrives, try to answer three main questions - Can they do the job? Will they do the job and do it effectively? Will they fit into the company culture?

During the interview, ask open ended questions, the more you let the candidate talk, the more you will discover about their experience and personality. It is okay to pry for specific details and examples. No questions should be unanswered when the interview is over. Give them the opportunity to ask questions at the end, it shows excitement and curiosity in the position and the company.

Simply observing the candidates actions and eye contact can also be very telling. Think about the personality traits that are ideal for the position you are filling, do they possess these qualities? Will they fit in with the company culture?

After the Interview

After the interview, it is important to immediately meet with the interview team and discuss the candidate. What did you like? What didn’t you like? Be specific about each and have reasoning to use as back up.

Follow up with references. It is important pay attention to what they say about the candidate on both the work and personal level. Also look at who the candidate chose as references

Great employees do not just fall into your office. You must take time and search for the candidates that you want.  Once you have found the perfect candidate, it’s important that you train your new hire to be a great employee.

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