Hiring for Success – Part Three

It is not up to you to guess or read between the lines; It is up to the candidate to prove why you should hire them.”
Jeremy Heighton
 
Building on an understanding of the costs of turnover, and considering the composition of a great ad, its time to move to the process of hiring.
 
Screening resumes effectively requires a few considerations to be successful.
 
1) What did you ask for – in other words, did you clearly identify the responsibilities, skills, roles of the position, as we discussed in part one?
 
If you did, create a scoring metric from these qualities/skills etc. similar to the following:
 
 
The metric does not have to be really complex, it must, however, be consistently used to screen each and every candidate. This is important if you ever have a potential employee challenge a decision not to hire them. A clear, unbiased and consistently utilized process protects you, by creating a layer of due diligence. It also allows you to not be biased in your assessment, because it focuses on actual measures of skill or performance indicators.
 
2) Did you advertise in the places where your IDEAL candidate is looking?
 
We often get swept up in the online posting forums, seeking the widest pool of potential candidates. This often backfires as hundreds of resumes stream in (sometimes from all over the world) challenging the time required to screen all of these applicants. A smaller, tighter focus for posting an ad is always recommended. Examples could be associations, trade publications, personal networks, Facebook or Linked-in groups, etc.
 
The absolute best method for recruiting, is to set up a staff recruitment program, where your team bring you great candidates. This, however, assumes a few things: 1) you are a good employee/boss, 2) you manage your team well, so that you have great staff who recruit people like them, 3) you develop your team through training and mentor-ship, so they see the potential and upside of staying and bringing their network to you.
 
3) Did you define a process that you wish for candidates to follow. This is a hard pass point for me in any process.
 
Example:
 
Bill asked for a 2 page Resume with a cover letter clearly detailing why the candidate would be a great fit, emailed to a specific email address. Bill received:
  • multi-page resumes with no cover letter, but lots of experience;
  • single page resumes, which did not address the ad;
  • multiple page resumes with a very generic cover letter;
  • a dozen dropped off resumes,
  • 4 late resumes,
  • and 5 tailored resumes which outlined relevant skills, and a cover letter that spoke to what the company did, and how (they) could help.
 
In total, Bill received 325 resumes. We dumped all but the five which followed his process. Why? if they couldn’t follow simple directions BEFORE they were hired, how could Bill expect them to afterward?
 
4) Do you find you are biased by age, sex, religion, background, unduly?
 
If you find you are prone to unconscious judgement, ask a peer of team member to put a stick note over candidate identifying information. the better option is to have someone else screen and then you do the final sort.
 
Your goal with any screening process is to take the resumes down to a manageable number of candidates. Sometimes this may mean defining a “light screening level”, then doing a second or third round of screening, getting progressively more strident at each level.
 
In addition to all of the criteria mentioned above some real world examples of red flags I’ve seen included in a cover letter or email cover letter:
 
“I have a very high level of atention to detale….”
“feel free to email me at beerguzzler69@hotmail.com”
“I’ll drop in for a interview, if I’m free….”