Identifying the ‘right candidate’

Hiring someone who’s wrong for your business can be costly.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that time starved businesses often concentrate on filling a gap right now versus finding the ‘right candidate’ who will add value and strengthen the business.

In this case, the future under-performance of an employee can often be traced back to the interview process where a candidate’s skills and knowledge compared to the job you need done is incorrectly matched… and whose fault is the future under-performance in that case?

Considering the impact an under or poor performing employee can have on a small to medium sized business (e.g. loss of business, negativity in fellow workers or worse, future legal ramifications of not handling the performance matter ‘fairly’) it’s important to get it right.

But how do you know who the right candidate is?

  • Clearly identifying what the successful candidate will ‘look like’ (e.g. professional background, experience, knowledge, passions and values, alignment to key tasks and similar characteristics in your other high performing employees).
  • Consistency in the process – asking the same questions of all candidates so benchmarking can be determined.
  • Recording the interviews so notes can be compared (and relied upon to show fairness and process if ever needed).
  • Actually talking to referees and treating this as a mini interview as well.
  • Oh, and lastly, never be afraid to push for the truth or examples of previous work during the interview… or even ending an interview if there is any hint of deceit. Better to do that at the time rather than undertake a performance management process with the candidate as a bona fide employee of the company.

If you rely upon an outsourced recruitment function, then much of this should already be taken care of. If not, maybe have a chat to them next time and ask why not?

Taking the time to map out these critical areas before you post your job ad will put you on track to identifying the ‘right candidate’.

Time remains a critical commodity for small / medium sized businesses and this will often dictate how much pre-planning and targeted interviewing will take place. But trust us on this, failing to do any planning will result in poor performers getting into the business.

For this reason, seeking initial advice or even outsourcing to HR and Recruitment consultancy can help avoid the poor performers from even getting through the door.

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