Archives For Step 3 – Screening and Managing Candidates

We’ll save you hours of reading unqualified resumes! Our powerful Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) allows you to screen your candidate pool and identify candidates who meet your qualifications. We’ll coach and train you on the software so you’re a pro.

As readers enjoy the tail-end of summer, we hope you enjoy this popular blog from Leora reposted from a few years back.

The other day my mom sent me an email that didn’t include a family photo. Instead she asked this question:

What is the difference between phone interview (also called “phone screening”) questions and interview questions?

Here is the email I sent to her:

“Hi Mom:

It’s so cool that you asked! Here is how I think about it. The goal of the phone interview is to identify a few people who you would like to invite for a face-to-face interview. The goal of the face-to-face interview is to identify one or two candidates you’d like to hire. The different goals should drive the kinds of questions you ask in each setting.

About 10% of the total candidate pool (all the people who apply) will meet your minimum qualifications. Use the phone interview to identify the best available talent from that 10%. Don’t expect to learn everything about every candidate, but, find out enough information to decide whether or not to invite them for a face-to-face interview.”

This is a question we hear often at NewHire and here is how to handle phone and in-person interviewing process:

  • Start by emailing an invitation to schedule a phone appointment. You might not realize it but this is already part of the interview. Your goal is to confirm that the candidate can follow up professionally. It may sound silly, but setting and keeping appointments is a work skill for lots of job titles.
  • Limit your phone conversation to 30 minutes. I like to start by asking about the most recent position and the duties and responsibilities. Find out why they are looking for a new job. Confirm that they can speak appropriately and professionally. Listen for negative language about past employers, duties, or coworkers. Listen for language that suggests the candidate felt a sense of commitment and belonging in their last job. Using words like “us” and “we” instead of “they” is one way a candidate might express this sense of belonging and ownership.  End the phone interview with clear information about follow-up and decision making schedule.
  • Use face-to-face interviews to decide whether or not the candidate should be hired. Confirm that they have the right set of soft skills, the right experience and the right work behaviors and attitudes to be successful in the job. Learn about their work history (ask about every job they’ve had), education, hobbies, and volunteer work. Decide if they will be an asset to the organization. Ask tough technical questions. Don’t be afraid of silence in the interview; give the candidate time to answer.
  • Expect to spend at least an hour with the candidate. Use the opportunity to gather a variety of information to make a smart hiring choice for your organization. Find out if you like the person and would enjoy having them as a team member.

Most importantly, be patient. Hiring takes time and effort. Look for the right person. Happy interviewing!


A solid interview plan is one crucial step in hiring. Sometimes even with the best planning, interviews can cause hiring headaches! Sure, we worry about and guard against the big issues – like someone asking illegal questions. And sure, we are disappointed by poor interviews with candidates who seemed well qualified on paper. I want to share another scenario that can cause internal conflict: derailing, delaying or scuttling a hire entirely.

Consider this story, maybe it sounds familiar? After a full day of interviews, conducted by three teams, it’s time for us to compare notes and decide whether or not to hire the candidate. As the debriefing conversation proceeds it seems like we didn’t interview the same person! Each person presents a unique perspective on the candidate, and has a different take on their ability to bring value to the company as a new employee. Wait, wait, how can that be? I’m quite sure we all met with the same applicant.

My recent visit to The Heard Museum in Phoenix AZ provided me with a new understanding of this challenging phenomena. The special exhibit featuring works of the famous artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo (on exhibit through August 20, 2017) seems like a surprising place to find inspiration for understanding the challenges of interviews.

Check out these paintings (click for a full-size image). Three portraits, three artists, one model. The woman in each (think of her as the candidate you just interviewed) is Natasha Gelman. She and her husband Jacques were famous collectors of 20th century art. The Gelman’s were also friends with Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo.

Natasha Gelman by Diego Rivera

Natasha Gelman, by Diego Rivera, 1942

Natasha Gelman by Frida Kahlo

Natasha Gelman, by Frida Kahlo, 1943






Natasha Gelman by Ángel Zárraga

Natasha Gelman by Ángel Zárraga










Wow. It doesn’t take a an art critic or rocket scientist to see that there is something going on here. Three interviews, three perspectives, three opinions, and no consensus.

If we asked each  artist (interviewer) for their input on hiring this candidate you would NOT be surprised if they were unable to come to consensus. Each artist (interviewer) clearly has a unique point of view.  Maybe they aren’t even interviewing her with the same job description in mind!

Diego is portraying a gorgeous woman in a most flattering light – perhaps influenced by his benefactor, Natasha’s husband, who commissioned the work. In contrast, Frida’s portrait makes Natasha seem severe, distant, demanding and a bit sad. (Could Frida be expressing her own worries about all that time Diego and Natasha have been spending together?). And Ángel Zárraga’s Natasha, seems to be waiting, lacking motivation or self-determination. In the Zárraga portrait Natasha appears almost cherubic. It is impossible to tell if his description of Natasha is a reflection of his lesser artistic skill or his impression of the woman.

Are these portraits the result of personal perspective or is this implicit (unconscious) bias* at work? Or maybe both? When we are talking about a work of art, we typically expect to see the subject through the artist’s eyes, bias and all.  But when we are interviewing, and a candidate’s career, and the company’s ability to thrive, all hang in the balance, we might be more concerned about being inappropriately influenced by one interviewer’s point of view, or bias, whether it is implicit or explicit.

When it comes to hiring, we start worrying that implicit bias might lead us astray, causing us to miss an opportunity for a great hire. It can also lead to bitter arguments and political wrangling among team members about the appropriateness of one candidate over another. However, when we are talking about art we might call this bias artistic license, and enjoy the result.

We can protect ourselves and our company from hiring mistakes caused by bias during interviews by collecting and considering a variety of non-subjective information about the candidate. It is imperative to get a multi-faceted picture of the candidate, before we make a hiring decision. Effective hiring starts long before the interview and requires a thoughtful, well executed, multi-step process.

It’s safe to say that we’ve learned about interviewing from two famous artist Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo!

Notes and Links:

  1. *Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.
  2. For more reading on implicit or unconscious bias:
  3. Frida Kahlo web site
  4. Diego Rivera web site
  5. Ángel Zárraga on Wikipedia


The candidate experience should be a high priority to companies today with the increasingly competitive labor market. The candidate experience constitutes every interaction that a company has with a candidate during the entire recruiting marketing and hiring process.

According to CareerArc “Nearly 60% of candidates have had a poor candidate experience, and 72% of those candidates shared that experience online or with someone directly.” Therefore, it is important that companies keep the candidate experience top of mind at all times and keep yourself in the job seekers shoes with every step of the recruiting and hiring process.

In November 2016 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the national unemployment rate declined to 4.6%. With the lower unemployment rate this puts the candidate back in the driver’s seat which gives the candidate a wide variety of career opportunities to choose from when seeking a new job. One bad candidate experience with your company can make a top candidate not apply for any open positions with your company in the future.

Here are some important areas to focus on during the recruiting and hiring process.


Communication is probably the single most important aspect of the entire candidate experience throughout the recruiting and hiring process. Good communication throughout the entire recruiting and hiring process is key from the recruiting marketing to the final interview to the last step of making an offer or rejection is essential for the candidate to walk away with a positive experience. It is essential that your top candidates know where they are at in the recruiting process therefore a Hiring Manager needs to be consistent with their  communications. Once candidates have been phone screened let them know if they are moving on in the recruiting process to the next step of an in-person interview. If you have decided not to move forward with a candidate, politely send them an email letting them know that they are no longer being considered for the role and thank them for their interest in the company. Some companies will have multiple rounds of in-person interviews which will take weeks to facilitate the interview process so communicate the next steps after each interview if the candidate will be passed along to the next interview. One big mistake that many companies will make is not to follow-up with a candidate once they have reached the stage to the final interviews. This lack of communication will definitely leave a bad impression on the candidate in which they may no longer have an interest in working for your organization in the future. Remember that candidates are heavily invested once they get to the interview phase and the candidate’s time is valuable in which some candidates are taking time off of work to pursue this new career opportunity.

Positive candidate experienceOnce the candidate has been considered qualified for the role and is seriously being pursued by the organization you should make sure that you send the candidates customized emails. Communicate clearly as to what stage in the recruiting process they are in and always personalize the message.

Candidate Interactions

Each interaction that the company has with a candidate is very important and one bad interaction can leave a lasting negative impression. In the age of social media bad reviews spread faster than good reviews. Each candidate interaction over the phone and in-person is key to a positive candidate experience. Some candidates may have negative experiences if they are not greeted warmly by the receptionists, or if they are left waiting in the lobby too long before the interview, or if the Manager was distracted and not very attentive during the interview. Therefore, every company should think about these small things during the candidate recruiting process and ensure that every touch with the candidate is professional, timely and positive.

Candidate Drop Off

Every company has their unique recruiting process. Some companies recruiting process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to several months depending upon how many interviews, assessments, skill tests and background checks the candidate must withstand. Typically the candidate drop off can be anywhere from 60% to 90%. This will depend largely on how long the recruiting process takes, timely communication during the recruiting process and the number of people in your candidate pool. Also keep in mind that top candidates are in huge demand so they will not stay on the job market for long. If you have a large candidate pool expect that the drop off rate will be fairly significant. It is imperative that your company implements a streamlined recruiting process that takes a candidate seamlessly through the process in a reasonable amount of time.

Companies will invest a lot of time and resources recruiting throughout the year to meet the goals and objectives of the company. Lastly, here are a few recruiting statistics from that your company should consider when developing and streamlining the recruiting process. On average it will take 27 working days for a company to make a new hire. Keeping this in mind will help you plan accordingly for each role that you may need to hire for. When it comes to candidate experience 66% of candidates believe that all interactions with current employees are the best way to get insight into a company. Therefore, every touch that the candidate has with a potential employee should be positive because it will leave a lasting impression and will affect your employer brand and reputation.

Small businesses hire sales people. Big businesses hire sales forces. There’s a very important distinction there. Given that only 1 in 4 sales people have the competence, the behaviors, the beliefs, and the motivations to be elite in a given organization, hiring a sales force is a numbers game that small businesses can’t afford to play. And yet, everyday we see small businesses doing the same things as their larger counterparts. They throw out a job description, collect resumes, find people with experience and that “sales” personality, and make a hire based on unreliable criteria.

Here’s a good example. These are two real candidates for a sales job for which NewHire recently recruited. The employer needed a business-to-business sales representative to sell software to CEO’s and owners of small and medium-sized businesses. The position required a salesperson to do mostly over-the-phone sales, where some leads would be provided, but the salesperson would have to supplement via their own prospecting. I will refer to two of the candidates in their applicant pool as Candidate A and Candidate B, and describe their sales talents in the same depth that we discovered them:

Candidate A, according to her resume:

Selecting Sales People

  • Worked in sales for 8 months before leaving the company and taking a job as a social media marketing manager for a research consulting agency
  • Had a 3 month gap in her work history, and not much information on experience beyond that one sales job
  • Has a bachelor’s degree from a small liberal arts college
  • Describes herself as “talented and results focused”

Candidate B, according to his resume:

  • Been in sales for 7 years and has just recently taken a sales management role for a “burgeoning technology company”
  • His sales experience was mostly business-to-business with some business-to-consumer experience
  • Has a bachelor’s degree from a Big Ten school
  • Describes himself as “loyal”

Given the above information, you might take a guess at which candidate is the better sales representative. Candidate B clearly has more experience. He also fits the industry that the employer works in, and has even moved up into sales management, right? If you’re like most companies, you would phone screen Candidate B and toss Candidate A in the resume shredder. Luckily, NewHire didn’t rely on this information alone. When we took a closer look, the picture of each candidate became a lot clearer.

Based on their answers to our careful questioning and an OMG Assessment, here’s what we learned about each candidate.




After further review, Candidate A clearly has the competency, skills, and behaviors that fit the employer’s need and are correlated with sales success. Here’s the deal: given a phone interview and a few in-person conversations, the employer probably never would have hired Candidate B anyway. Despite the attractive resume, they would have uncovered that he was not a fit and moved on — wasting only their valuable time in the process. The problem is not that Candidate B would have been hired… It’s that Candidate A would have never even been interviewed given the contents of her resume alone!

She was the perfect candidate and ended up being a very successful hire for the employer. Had they relied on her resume, she wouldn’t have had a chance at even talking to the employer on the phone. That’s the impact that the average hiring process has on the ability for a small business to hire successful salespeople. In some jobs, you can get by just screening for experience (although I would argue that including behaviors, motivations, and skills in the early stages of any recruitment search is ideal.) In sales, failing to uncover appropriate information about your candidate before ruling them out of the process is the number one way to miss out on your next superstar.

Imagine the impact a salesperson from the top 10% could have on your business this year alone. Can you afford to continue hiring the same, dangerous way just because resume screening is how you’ve always done it? No matter how you do it, a small business in search of a sales superstar must find out about a candidate’s sales behaviors and beliefs before making a yes or no decision on the candidate. Setting up a process that is specific to your company by which you can learn relevant information about a candidate before ruling them out will yield better results every time. There are plenty of tools out there to help save you time in building a custom process, but clearly it must be built. The old guess and check method for hiring salespeople is unsustainable, as the example above shows.

Hire better salespeople NewHireLooking to hire your own sales superstar? Check out our roadmap on How to Hire Better Salespeople. You’ll learn the 3 job boards you have to be on to engage with sales talent, the assessment strategy you’ll never hire another sales rep without, and the best interview tips for hiring sales reps. Get it here…

Technology has drastically changed every aspect of recruiting in today’s job market.The social media revolution has bought many changes to the job search process of today. In the past the resume was the single focus for hiring managers in the recruiting process from the screening, to the phone interview, to the face to face interview.  Today social recruiting has become very prevalent among recruiters and human resource professionals alike.

LinkedIn and your resume both highlight you as a person and tell the world who you are but in very different ways. LinkedIn is used for multiple purposes but a resume can be used for one single purpose. So let’s examine how LinkedIn can be used more effectively in a job search over a resume.

Linkedin v resumes

Broader Audience for Your LinkedIn Profile vs. Your Resume

A resume is distinctly used for people who are looking for a new job. Normally a candidate will submit a resume to apply for a job and chances are your resume may never be viewed by the hiring manager if you are not selected as a viable candidate for the open position. However, LinkedIn is used for multiple reasons such as job searching, networking, connecting with new contacts, publishing articles, posting information, sales people communicating with potential prospects, recruiters reaching out to passive candidates, gathering information from industry leaders and many other uses.

According to the Pew Research Center 25% of adults use LinkedIn which is 22% of the entire adult population. LinkedIn is the only major social media platform in which usage rates are highest among the age group of 30 – 49 years old. With this social media platform 32% of users are employed compared to 14% of users who are not employed.  Therefore, the reach of LinkedIn users are vastly greater than the number of people a job seeker will send a resume to and who may view your resume posted online. LinkedIn will give you greater exposure than a resume ever will.

Professional vs. Social

A resume is a formal document that is professionally written to highlight a person’s employment history and past accomplishments. Your resume is a simple text document that is tightly formatted to highlight STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) bulleted points. However, LinkedIn is considered a business social site which allows a person to highlight more than just your skills and work experience. This format is less formal and more personable. On LinkedIn a person may highlight their accomplishments and skills by including media links on both your profile and positions. A person might include a portfolio, a professional presentation, a PDF e-book, pictures, links and videos to highlight your talent and work product.

Past vs. Present

A resume is a one to two page document of your professional history, skills, experience and career highlights. A resume shows your job history and past accomplishments. By comparison a LinkedIn profile is a person’s present and future professional life.  A LinkedIn profile consists of many more sections such as your career summary, experience, education, skills & endorsements, recommendations, honors & awards, groups, volunteer work and more. Status updates are part of your profile and a person can update their profile daily which will organically grow your profile each time you add a new skill, a new job, receive an endorsement, share information, and engage in a discussion and other activities on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Profile Builds Relationships and Continuously Grows

By using LinkedIn regularly you are able to build relationships with people through your daily interactions and discussions. LinkedIn allows you to connect with people in your industry of business and also connects you with group members who share the same interests or profession. A resume just sits on a desk or the inbox of a hiring professionals email. However, with your LinkedIn profile each time you post an update it is shared with all of your first-degree connections. These updates will put you in front of an audience repeatedly which is what candidates need when looking for a new career opportunity. Your status updates can now appear on your Twitter feed which is one more avenue for exposure when looking for a new job. In addition, to these updates you can include links to articles, videos, websites as well as pictures.

Recruiters and human resource professionals now practice using LinkedIn once they receive your resume and may be interested in pursuing you as a potential candidate. They venture onto the social site to gain more information about a candidate’s personality to determine if they would like to initiate a phone screen with you. Lastly, with LinkedIn a person can separate themselves from the competition better than using a resume. The LinkedIn profile will allow a person to demonstrate and articulate what value you can bring to an organization and why you can become a valuable addition to the team.

broadcast drawingWant to know more about the changing world of recruiting and hiring? Check out our Webinar series, where you will learn to take complete control of the 6-Step Hiring process that defines who fills that next open seat. 

This is a true story about a mid-sized manufacturing company in Oklahoma that needed some help finding the right person for their job…


For any company, recruiting can be a daunting task. From putting the ad together and advertising to managing a large pile of applications and resumes – the entire process can be a headache for business owners or hiring managers who don’t have the right tools in place before they start. Especially when you are stuck handling the process single handedly or on a small team, screening alone can dominate your time. Much of this is true for companies in the manufacturing industry – companies like Progressive Stamping, who reached out to NewHire.

When Dave Younge, President at Progressive Stamping, initially contacted NewHire, he expressed interest in establishing a recruiting process and getting assistance filling an Account Manager position.

“I wanted a person that would be a good fit to our organization’s culture.  I did not want a person who had great skills and experience but was a poor person with whom to work.  I shared this concern with Sean Little (Account Manager) and asked how NewHire could make that happen.  He demonstrated the technology and explained how they could customize the application.” – Dave Younge – President of Progressive Stamping

He needed the framework to get started, and then he would be able to drive the hiring process forward on his own. With these things in mind, he purchased our NewHire Elements service.

Continue Reading…

Assessing CandidatesThe goal of any recruiting process is to select a candidate who is likely to be effective on the job and contribute to the company’s overall success. While that sounds easy, if you are an owner of a small or mid-sized company, an HR professional, or a manager, and are responsible for recruiting and hiring, it’s likely you’ve experienced stress as you move through the recruiting process. Chances are good that there are several steps you take to learn about the candidate and predict their future success. One of the tools that many companies, recruiters, and HR professionals use are assessments.

There are several types of assessments available in the marketplace. Assessments fall into three general categories:

  1. Skills assessments – the goal of these tests is to uncover whether or not the candidate has the skills to perform the duties required for the job. Skills can range from typing or data entry speed, to knowledge of programming languages, sales skills, or other technical skills like welding or operating various equipment.

  2. Cognitive abilities tests – the goal of this test is to uncover the candidate’s ability to learn, apply logic, and to assess reading comprehension, math skills, and general knowledge.

  3. Personality  assessments (including behaviors, motivators, values or integrity etc.) – the goal of these types of assessments is to learn about how the candidate will interact to others, respond to stressful situations and determine if a candidate will fit in with the culture of the work place and the demands of the job.

You probably use other tools to learn about candidates. These include candidate screeners and interviews. Candidate screeners are often part of the initial application process. Depending on the system used, a screener might include questions about skills, work experience, salary, and even work behaviors like travel and work schedule. Interviews, when done well, can shed light on the personality, values and skills displayed by the candidate.

It’s important to use assessments in a way that will improve the likelihood of selecting a candidate who will succeed on the job. A recent article in Entrepreneur put it best by saying, “A behavioral assessment is only helpful if you understand what behaviors would be successful in that particular job.” If you don’t know what behaviors will lead to success, implementing this type of assessment won’t help achieve the goal.

There are three powerful ways to use assessments:

  1. Use an assessment that will illuminate characteristics or proficiency you would like to know about the candidate. If on-the-job success is dependent on a specific skill set, choose an assessment for those skills.

  2. Use a high quality assessment. Most high quality assessments are validated. Validation means that research tools were used to gather data to demonstrate that the assessment measures what it claims to measure, that cultural bias is not a factor in the results, and that the results are reproducible. Also consider cautionary information expressing ways that the test should not be used.

  3. Use the assessment results as one factor in the decision making process. It is easy to imagine that excellence in a single skill or behavior might carry a candidate to success. Serious shortcomings in other areas can be devastating for on the job performance.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, which discussed academic research on this topic, the assessments which correlate best with employment success includes multiple measures, “cognitive ability, personality and interests.” For example if data entry speed or typing speed is important, candidates should be asked to take a typing test. And if customer service attitude is important choose a behaviors and motivators assessment that uncovers how a candidate will respond to others. If the job requires logical thinking and an ability to learn new information quickly, try a cognitive abilities assessment. Gathering a variety of information that is important for success will help prevent bad hires.

During the recruiting process take steps to find out as much as you can about the candidate’s skills, experience and behaviors to predict their future success. Use a combination of information to make a smart hiring decision and to mitigate the risk. Choosing an assessment that’s right for the job, could mean that you are using a skills assessment, a cognitive assessment or a personality assessment, depending on job requirements. Use a combination of assessments including screeners and interviews. Sounds easy, right? But remember that it’s also important not to alienate candidates by prolonging the pre-employment process or by asking them to take so many tests that the feel like a guinea pig instead of a valuable prospective employee.

Quest Food Management Services in Lombard, IL recently utilized NewHire Professional services to hire for their essential Vice President of Operations role. The NewHire Professional service includes NewHire creating the customized advertisement and the screening questions, filtering for qualified candidates, conducting the initial phone screening of the applicants, and handling all of the interview set up and subsequent process follow-up.  This full service model was right for Quest’s recruiting efforts for the Vice President position because it assigns the bulk of the work to NewHire, while providing a consistent and dedicated partnership between NewHire and the client.

Our work with Quest’s President Nick Saccaro before the advertising campaign was created was strategic, focused and comprehensive. We spoke with Nick to establish a clear understanding of the Vice President of Operations role, as well as the type of individual that would be best suited to the role, and to the corporate culture. Quest was hiring for an excellent opportunity that met or exceeded similar Full Service NewHire Testimonialpositions in the industry and it was critical to highlight the unique attributes of the role. Once these priorities were established, we were able to craft an advertisement and application questions that targeted the type of high level candidates who would succeed in the role. As a result of the thorough preparation done at the start of the process, the position received a total of 233 applicants, allowing Nick the opportunity to speak to a variety of candidates.

The NewHire Professional service is well-suited to executives who are short on time or experience to do the bulk of the recruiting work themselves but it is even better suited for those who can make the time to be involved and are committed to the recruitment process as a whole, especially for key positions.  Despite Nick’s extremely busy schedule, he was dedicated to the process and focused on our continuously driving the process forward. He spent time searching through the NewHire software to identify candidates, utilizing the sort and search filter to save time, then he prioritized interviews in his schedule, and gave quick feedback about candidates. As a result, Nick spoke to the candidates that he wanted to speak with, and made the decision to hire within 4 months of advertising.

The NewHire Professional service is not a quick fix solution, and it should not be. We understand the immense need for the right person in key roles. NewHire Professional is for those who are looking for a supportive partner who will be there during all phases of this significant search.

Our Quest Food Management Blog Series:

Part 1: Overview

Part 2: Analytic Results Infographic

Part 3: A Professional Case Study

Part 4:  NewHire Advantage- Conclusion


Want to learn more about how NewHire can help your company hire better? Request a demo here, or give us a call at 877-923-0054.

Recruiting Q&A


During a conversation in May with some of the top executives at small and mid-sized businesses nationwide, NewHire asked them to write down what questions they had about recruiting. Many of the questions we received in response fell into categories that we define in our 6 Step Recruiting Process.

Below is part one of a two part blog series outlining answers to those pressing questions.

Step 1: Preparing to recruit

Q: When making a new hire do you think hiring for experience is of greater value or lesser value than their potential?

A: This is a question that recruiters have argued over for years. When hiring, I think about four things that really define the candidate I want to hire:

1. Work Behaviors
2. Motivations
3. Skills
4. Experience

You will notice that experience was last on that list. Most of the time, we hire people for what they can do and fire them for who they are. A good way to look at the experience vs potential dichotomy is to use the 80/20 rule. I want to make my target candidate the person who has the behaviors and motivations that the job needs and around 80% of the skills and experience necessary.

Here’s why: in order to get someone to leave what they’re doing and come work for us, we have to compel them to make a change in their lives. We have to show candidates how they are going to earn more, learn more, and do more at our company TwitterLogo_#55acee than they will at any other company. Most of the time, we’re better off hiring someone who can perform the job well enough to start and can grow into the more difficult parts of the role and expand it as they get comfortable.

Q: How do you determine current salary/wage range for a given job/position in a specific region of the country?

A: One of the NewHire Staffing Coordinators, Conor Roach, wrote a blog about this question recently. You can find that here. There are a lot of online resources for this that are inexpensive. A final note in that blog is that you can be broad in the way you list salary on your job advertisement. In doing so, you can ask your candidates specifically what they think this type of job ought to earn. Jotting down their responses in a central location is a good way to benchmark whether the salary you were thinking of paying is competitive.

Q: How do we get our hiring manager and others in the interview process not to hire themselves? (understanding that differences create stronger teams)

A: This boils down to how you prepare to recruit. If the hiring manager is a part of the conversation in which the target candidate is identified, you’ll be able to challenge that person to think about which behaviors, motivations, and skills are important (and that they’re not necessarily the same ones that the hiring manager has). When it comes down to narrowing the candidate pool and making an offer to someone, the hiring manager will be more open to “others.”  Defining a process with your team and holding them accountable will trim some of these biases out of the process.

That being said, not all hiring managers are willing to drink the Kool-Aid. That’s something you’ll have to have a serious conversation with them about. Here’s a clip from a pretty mediocre movie that might help with that conversation.

Q: How do you overcome an undesirable location? (50 mile commute from the city)

A: A handful of ways. I’ll knock off “pay more” and “move” from potential solutions, because if those were options, I’m sure you wouldn’t be asking. Not to mention, pay is just one of the reasons people come to work each day. For certain people, it’s not even at the top of the list.

Still, if you have an obstacle like undesirable location to overcome, I encourage you to think long and hard about your value proposition to the candidate and put it in the job advertisement! More on this in a second…

Companies with built-in recruiting issues like yours also need to plan in advance for a more continuous recruiting process, hiring good candidates when you find them and not just when you need them.

Q: How do you appeal to the best people to get them to even apply for a job?

A: Employee Value Proposition. Write it down and put it in the job advertisement. Everything from compensation to work environment to how darn good your company softball team is will motivate candidates to come work for you. I asked one of my account managers what he likes most about working in the office, and he said this:

  • He enjoys the people he works with
  • There is a place to park his bike indoors
  • There’s a shower in the office

Having trouble defining your EVP? Ask your employees! And, request our EVP checklist here.

Q: How to hire not just for the current opening but for the potential to step into the next role?

A: I like this question, because I like the underlying philosophy it reveals. It is often cheaper and more efficient to hire for an entry level position and train your employees into bigger and better roles with your company. If you need to fill an administrative role now, but you want the candidate to eventually move into sales, make some of those sales competencies part of your hiring process today. Add those competencies to the list of skills that your target candidate ought to fulfill. Look at the cognitive abilities of your candidate (by testing them), and seek out their behaviors and motivations in order to identify future leaders.

Later in the process, ask the candidate where they think they ought to be with your company in 5 years. Often, they will tell you if they are motivated to move into a management role, or a sales role, or whatever.

Step 2: Recruiting/Sourcing

Q: Where do you find good qualified applicants?

A: Short answer: I often find them here, among a variety of other places (referrals, etc.)

Longer answer: You never know where or when the right candidate is going to be looking. Sometimes they come referred from someone you haven’t talked to in years who saw your posting on LinkedIn. Sometimes they come from Craigslist. Sometimes they come from Indeed. The point is, the only way you’ll know if your job is competitive enough to appeal to those qualified candidates is if you put it in as many places as you can. If you’re still not finding those qualified applicants, maybe you need to take a few steps back and redefine your Employee Value Proposition or your target candidate. Problems later in the hiring process often stem from problems with the first step: Preparing to Recruit.

Q: Do you recommend different venues for advertising a job based on the type of job that it is?

A: To an extent. LinkedIn and are great places to find sales talent, because that’s where sales talent is motivated to go. I often hear, “We don’t want the type of candidate that comes from that website.” I want to combat this line of logic up front.

If you have a tool for sorting through candidates so that you don’t waste time on candidates who are unqualified, what does it matter where they come from? There are CFOs who search for jobs on Craigslist just as there are CFOs who search for jobs on Indeed. No one website is guaranteed to provide only specific types of candidates. My suggestion is always to get the job out to as many places as is feasible and narrow the pool from there.

If the job specification is narrow, industry job boards, LinkedIn groups and association websites may be helpful. These won’t produce large quantities of candidates however they could yield the right one.

Q: How do I train future and current leaders to be good at selecting talent?
Q: How do we train and educate hiring managers to look beyond skill to rather looking at competence and job fit?

A: This is something that NewHire often helps our clients do. You’ll have to lay out a hiring process that you believe in, make it clear and logical so that your current leaders understand it, and hold people accountable on following through on that hiring process.

Our own 6-Step Process is no secret, and it works very well. Most of the time, getting those leaders to understand how to select talent falls into the first step in recruiting, preparation.

Step 3: Screening: Identify Top Talent

There were no questions on Screening talent. That concerns me! Because having an efficient and objective screening process that relies on information about the candidate is important when there are a lot of candidates to sort through. Trusting your intuitions about a person’s resume can often lead to mistakes. Even the President of NewHire misspelled his first name on a job application once upon a time. Are you passing up the perfect candidate because of something small and insignificant?

For more questions and answers on pressing recruiting questions, see Part 2 of this blog post here.

Time Management“I don’t mind doing interviews. I don’t mind answering thoughtful questions. But, I’m not thrilled about answering questions like, ‘If you were being mugged, and you had a lightsaber in one pocket, and a whip in the other, which would you use?’ ” – Harrison Ford

Though Harrison Ford wasn’t referring to job interview questions, but rather questions he receives from entertainment reporters, the sentiment is still the same. The finite time that you have with a candidate during a job interview is extremely valuable. It is vital to make sure that time is spent wisely. Any time that you are able to spend with the person who could potentially fill your organizational need is an opportunity to learn valuable insight.

In addition, in the current employment climate candidates are not as plentiful. They will be scrutinizing your job interview strategy as much as you will be scrutinizing their answers. Below are some tips to steer your job interview in the optimal direction.

Will the person in the job interview meet your need?

There are a variety of ways to ascertain this information. You will never know for sure until that person is working in the role, but you can utilize the job interview process to develop an excellent guess. Is it a position where they have to have excellent Microsoft Office skills for instance? If so, have them create a spreadsheet in your office or dictate information that you need them to capture it in a Word document. Need an excellent Outside Sales person? Take them on an appointment with you, and see how they interact with the clients. There are a multitude of things to do in order to see first hand if they can produce the kind of work that you want in your organization. Some of these things can’t be seen in a traditional job interview.

Can you afford to work together?

It is a candidates’ market now. And candidates are quick to negotiate or even turn down an offer that does not meet their financial needs. Though the topic of money and benefits is traditionally found to be uncomfortable or inappropriate in the beginning of the job interview process, getting the compensation out in the open early can save an immense amount of time for both parties. You may have someone who is the right skill fit but is expecting twice as much as you are offering. It is key to be on the same page regarding deal breakers such as this, in order to move on quickly to those that are more aligned for the position.

Will it be a mutual culture fit?

A key issue to determine probability for a long term relationship is whether or not the company embraces the new employee and whether or not the employee will embrace them. A way to uncover that is to ask how the candidate enjoys spending their leisure time, and allow them to ask you questions as well. Have some additional staff interview your candidate, or invite them to a staff meeting so they can get a clear picture as to how your business operates.

These are a few ways to think about conducting your job interviews to get the information that you really need to make a successful hire. What are other things that you think are important to understand during the interview process?