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.

Using a recruiter can be a great way to save you time, energy and resources when hiring. We all know it’s not a quick (or easy) process, but sometimes you just need a little help. Is using a recruiter hurting you more than helping you? That scenario is definitely possible. Keep reading to figure out if your recruiter is a pro or a con.

using a recruiter hurting Quiet, monotone, unenergetic, negative, mean and even down right rude.  These are the perfect adjectives to describe the next Bond villain but maybe they aren’t perfect adjectives to describe your recruiter. If the aforementioned adjectives could be used to describe your recruiter, it’s highly likely using a recruiter is hurting your chances.

As a candidate who is interested in a position within your organization, I want to work with a recruiter who I wouldn’t mind seeing in the office every day. If your recruiter is kind, friendly, helpful and really organized, you can bet they are helping you hire. Remember, job candidates are screening you too. You need to put your best foot forward from the very beginning.

A recruiter within an organization can wear many hats, but their number one job is to present you with qualified candidates.  The recruiter was hired to hire!  Through a set of processes, they present qualified candidates to the decision makers of the company. There are a number of pro tips and tricks we’ve compiled over the years we’ve been helping small and medium businesses hire.

Let’s look at the things that will hurt you more than help you:

  • Your recruiter has a bad attitude or bad vibe
  • The recruiter isn’t excited about the company or position
  • The recruiter isn’t selling the opportunity
  • The hiring managers don’t trust the recruiter’s decisions
  • The hiring managers aren’t seeing qualified candidates
  • There is no recruiting process or organization
  • The recruiter isn’t following up with candidates

If any of those sound familiar to you, using a recruiter is hurting you when trying to hire. But don’t worry too much. Using a recruiter isn’t always bad, and it can actually be extremely efficient and helpful!

Here are the things that will making using a recruiter helpful to your organization:using recruiter helping

  • The recruiter answers the phone as if they are the one interviewing
  • The recruiter always has a positive attitude
  • The recruiter presents the company in a positive and professional manner
  • The recruiter keeps detailed notes in a database
  • The recruiter is excited about the job and company
  • The hiring managers trust the recruiter’s decisions
  • The recruiter gives the candidate feedback
  • There is an outlined and consistent process including follow up

Does that sound familiar? We hope so. Because that means your recruiter is absolutely helping you make the right hire!

Using a recruiter is something many people are on the fence about because they don’t want to find themselves resonating with the first list. The question isn’t necessarily whether or not you should use a recruiter, because clearly they can be very helpful, but it’s about finding the right recruiter. You want one that’s going to help, not hurt. They’re out there. You just have to be selective.


Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.-Voltaire

A recent article from the New York Times states that even though companies have open positions, many hiring authorities are delaying their hiring process due to the fear of economic instability, as well as the fear that they have not located the “perfect” candidate. The millions of applicants available, coupled with unrealistic candidate expectations have led to a hiring paralysis. This leads HR Professionals to chase what the article refers to as the “Purple Squirrel”, and what we refer to in our office as the “Flying Mermaid.”

A comprehensive search for the best fit for an open position is imperative, but the quest becomes troublesome when an interview process that stretches for months and is rife with piles of assessments still does not yield a hire. It is easy to blame the candidate pool, or to reason that even if a candidate is a star, there surely must be a brighter star out there. In reality that logic may be as futile as blaming a restaurant for having too many enticing options on their menu, or as a single person railing against a dating world for having all of the wrong people. You have a need, and at some point you have to look at yourself and make a decision. If you don’t, the consequences for hiring inaction reach far beyond the empty desk: Many recruiting dollars have been ill spent, your current employees become stretched too thin, and the lines of people you have interviewed that were once full of hope are now possibly demoralized and angry. In addition, they could take their frustrations to Twitter.

As a current recruiter, I have heard in depth from both employers and candidates about the perils of the hiring process. I feel as though the hiring process is an exciting journey, that may be full of twists and turns, and one in which successful completion is unique in that it is a win-win for both the candidate and employer. Here are some suggestions that will help employers move through the process more swiftly and with unwavering confidence.

1.      Trust your process.

Most likely your company has recruiting processes and procedures in place to locate the right candidate for your open position. At best, you have first hand experience that it works since you have been through it or you have a current favorite employee. At worst, if you feel your hiring strategies need work, there are a variety of experts that can assist you in creating a new method. It is best to invest your time up front, so when you are in the midst of the hiring process the right candidate will naturally be revealed.

2.      Make a commitment to hire.

Hiring is no different that any other challenging goal you set for yourself. You have to ask yourself the hard questions at the start, so you can remain motivated to keep up with the endeavor no matter what comes along.  Do you really have the budget for this person? When do you want them to start? What tangible things do you need to see and hear in order to know that you met the right person, instead of going with your gut? Hiring takes careful planning, support, and most importantly action. If these things are not worked out in the beginning your open opportunity will remain just that- open.

3.      Move the best available candidates quickly through the process.

If you see a glowing resume or meet a qualified person you like right away, move them through the whole process immediately. They are not too good to be true, and most likely they are the right fit! Be sure to know that others will feel the same way that you do, and this person may not be available tomorrow.

4.      Accept the risk, and take the chance

No matter what you do, and how secure you feel with your hiring strategies,there is always a risk involved. There is never a guarantee that your choice will work out. But that is inherent in the process. The most you can do is know that you did your best. There are many variables in the recruiting process, but that must not lead to a hiring paralysis. If you have a genuine open position, and you have a genuine candidate, take a leap! Just make sure you do it with your eyes open.



If you have any tips regarding moving through the hiring process, please share below!


Bizarre Candidates

The process of reviewing resumes occasionally rewards you with entertaining versions of the way people choose to project themselves. As an employer or hiring manager, certain resumes will have a way of keeping you on your toes. Here are some of the worst resumes I’ve ever seen — imagine seeing a resume with these unique features:

  • Graphics of Winnie the Pooh and his friends dancing in the margin
  • A picture of a woman with her prom date clearly cropped out (I like the ones headed with a glamour shot as well)
  • An email address under the name that was a little too personal: juicythighs@…..

Be warned, when the process advances to interviews, things can get melodramatic. One of the worst interviews a former coworker of mine had on a phone interview with a candidate for a management position. When the conversation turned to an inquiry into why the person left his previous position the conversation turned sinister: “I left because my boss was a jerk. It turns out he died recently, and while I had nothing to do with it, it shows that what goes around comes around.” He did not get the job.

A simple interview can spark a range of emotions from a candidate. I stopped into a coworker’s office for a chat and he told me that he had just gotten off the phone with an operations manager candidate who felt a bit restrained by his environment. When asked to describe himself, the applicant replied: “I’m a great operations manager…no, I am a good operations manager but I could have been great if I wasn’t in Jersey”. While it was reminiscent of a classical acting monologue, it was not exactly the way to properly wow someone in an interview.

Of course, it’s not always the interview that gets someone in trouble. Sometimes candidates forget that the review process doesn’t end when they leave the office. I will never forget receiving a call from a client who had just completed a strong interview with an admin assistant prospect. His opinion changed when he looked out his window and saw the candidate necking in the far end of the parking lot with whoever had driven them to the interview.

It’s not all bad though; the majority of interviews go off without a hitch, and while not every one will be perfect, they also are generally professional. It’s these rare instances of chaos and outright insanity that require an interviewer to be prepared for anything.

Do you have any stories to share? Please feel free to share your interview experiences with us below!

World Record Zombie Walk

World Record Zombie Walk

(reprinted from Halloween 2009, it was so nice let’s publish twice.)

This Halloween, make it a goal to see the resume for what it is: a zombie, a monster, a ghoul, and a ghost left over from the Industrial Revolution. We are now in the Information Age and the resume is outdated. Let’s put up a grave stone, “RIP. Here lays the resume, a nightmare for employer and job seeker alike.”

Why? They pile up like bodies and swamp inboxes worldwide. They lie to get their way. And worst of all, they can highlight irrelevant experience while hiding the stuff you really care about.

Few things are more terrifying for even the most experienced HR executive than a group of resumes. Who among us doesn’t dread their stench and their time-stealing ways?

Perhaps this is one horror story with a happy ending though.
The NewHire suite of software and service offerings is a stake in the heart of the resume vampire. Our HR Heroes have customized tools in the NewHire pre-employment application which instantly identifies the qualified candidates from the pack. Our clients access their candidates’ answers anywhere they have Internet access. Best of all, they can implement a fair and consistent screening process to identify the Best Available Talent while putting the resume zombie on ice – storing it away in case you ever need to access it in its original form.

So let the doom and gloom of the global financial talk end with Halloween. Sure, corporate layoffs are on the rise and hiring freezes are rampant, but thousands of companies are doing just fine, thank you. And the smartest companies have realized there’s no better time to identify and hire top talent than when the competition is struggling and the workforce is flooded with qualified people.

If you want see NewHire in action, check it out online or give me a shout (877) 923-0054 and I’ll take you on a private tour.

Hey! The Wall Street Journal is interested in the Zombie Walk too. Here’s the link to the front page article on Oct 22, 2009!


You’re not looking for a needle in the haystack, a flying mermaid, or even a 50 lb butterfly. You’re looking for your next great employee. You’ve done your homework; the job is designed to be accomplished by a mere mortal. You’ve run enticing advertising and you’ve built a solid candidate pool. Now your expectation should be to find the candidates who meet the qualifications in three key areas:

  1. skills and experience
  2. education & aptitude (talent)
  3. work behaviors and attitudes

In mid-market firms, where staffs and teams are small, every new individual added to the mix can have a big impact. It’s important to find people who have the knowledge and experience to do the job. It’s equally important to find people who will get along with the existing staff and will be an asset and pleasure to have at work. You can identify those people by asking the right screening questions. Typically only 10 to 15% of candidates who apply meet qualification requirements. Why waste time reviewing unqualified candidates?

It’s not too difficult to design questions that assess skills, experience or fact based knowledge. But when we try evaluating candidates’ work style, behaviors and attitudes, questions get a little trickier. Here are three different ways of identifying candidates based on what are often called “soft skills.”

This first example is a question that can help you determine if the candidates’ preferred work-style fits the position and culture of the company. Candidates can choose only one answer:

What is your preferred work style?

  • I like to do one project at a time until it’s complete
  • I like to juggle several tasks every day
  • I like regular daily duties that I do each week
  • Variety is the spice of life – no two days are alike

What’s the right answer? That depends on the position that is being filled. For example if you’re hiring an Accounts Payable clerk the best answer might be “I like regular daily duties that I do each week.” But if you’re hiring a Project Manager — responsible for delivering client purchases – the best answer might be “variety is the spice of life.”

Using NewHire’s searching tools you’ll be able to find the few individuals who select your preferred answer. Once you’ve identified those individuals, you can spend more time reading other information they have provided, including the answers to other NewHire questions, work history, education and resume.

Here is another way of addressing work style preferences.

Would you prefer to work for a supervisor who:

  • Coaches you through the tasks you do until the tasks are complete
  • Trains you and expects you to report back regularly with updates and questions
  • Provides the manual and expects you to figure it out on your own
  • Expects you to hit the ground running—providing some direction but expects you to handle tasks according to your best judgment.

The right answer depends on the position your filling and the work style preferred by the supervisor. My personal preference is to expect regular updates and questions, regardless of the specific duties of the job. Using the NewHire screening tools and the right question, I can find candidates that prefer to be supervised in this way. By selecting candidates that match these criteria – the chance that I can hire someone who will work well with me is improved.

Here’s a third way of getting at this same issue. Instead of asking candidates to choose from a pre-set list, you might ask them an open-ended question and read the answer. Here’s an example of a question with a “memo” style answer: Describe the behavioral style of the last boss for whom you had difficulty working; List his/her title and the specifics of the challenges you faced. How was the situation solved?

When a candidate answers this type of question you will get a writing sample, an example of how they prefer to problem-solve and you will learn something about the type of boss they don’t work well with. What’s the drawback of asking a question like this? It takes candidates more time to prepare an answer. It also takes the manager more time to review the answer. Limit the number of essay questions you ask, especially when recruiting for positions with smaller talent pools.

By creating attractive advertising and using commercial job boards to announce the opportunity, you get a snapshot of the talent that is currently AVAILABLE in the employment marketplace. By asking those same candidates to answer a set of questions, you’ll be able to identify which of those people best meets the key employment criteria. Let job boards attract the available talent and let NewHire identify the BEST talent from the available pool.

Click here to learn a little more about NewHire’s powerful Candidate screening tools. Or for a complete guide to writing effective NewHire applications (screening questions) check out this resource.

The Old World vs. the New World

Chuck Smith —  September 23, 2009 — 1 Comment

The fact that a multi-billion-dollar industry has made the Resume it’s stock and trade, does NOT make the Resume a good way to recruit top talent.

Resumes are an artifact of the industrial age, like steam engines and vinyl records. Taking the old paper document and turning it “digital” does nothing to improve the recruiting process.

Resumes lead only to frustration, for both job seekers and hiring managers.

Resumes, by their nature, can only speak to what some has done in the past. Resumes say NOTHING about the person for whom the Resume is but a poor metaphor. Nothing about a person’s behavior, attitude, aptitude, motivations, thoughts, dreams.

If you are interested in finding the Best Available Talent for any open position, find a way, other than the Resume, to pick the candidates with whom you are going to spend your most valuable resource… your time!