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There’s far more to this than offering big pay cheques. In fact, you should beware a candidate for a position you’ve advertised, who seems to be more interested in the salary they’ll be getting than the actual job. True, first-rate labour usually doesn’t come cheap, especially when it’s a combination of exceptional talent and experience. But the best of the bunch in business aren’t what they are because they’re driven by pecuniary concerns; it’s more often the case that they are passionate about what they do. Their love for the job spurs their desire to learn, and to be better than average. It fires them up the career ladder, and lands them at the top much faster than the regular guy can manage. How can you sift through the mass of applications and the countless faces and voices to pick the right person (or people) for the vacancy in your company? This question nags even more persistently as competiton in the jobs and product markets heats up, and the dearth of talent becomes more pronounced. Here, we’ll go through the steps you need to take as a hiring business owner or recruiter to scoop the finest employees from a mass of diverse options. The Pre-interview stage
  1. Understand the role you’re hiring for
You’ll be asking for trouble if you don’t do this. Maybe the position you’re looking to get filled isn’t in a field you know that much about. Why not settle down and do some research? Scour the internet, read material, ask people you know who are into it or understand it better than you do. You don’t want to take in a person who isn’t a good match for the job you want them to fill, simply because you have no idea what it’s about.
  1. Set out hiring criteria and work descriptions carefully
Having researched the position you want to hire for, you may proceed to detail the criteria by which you will select applicants. These will include qualifications, such as degrees, certifications and years of experience, as well as skills and leadership records. It’s important to specify these things clearly so that you’ll be able to use them to evaluate the applications you receive.
  1. Deploy appropriate recruitment strategy
Decide what channels you will use to get the attention of the types of employees you want. It’s quite common for businesses to outsource this task to HR and recruitment firms and consultants. Whatever the means you choose to employ, make sure it’s one that captures the demographic which you expect your potential employee to come from. Pick a channel with good reach, and set application deadlines. The greater the channel’s reach, the earlier the deadline you should set; eager candidates will find the open slot, regardless.
  1. Evaluate application using predetermined criteria
Screen off improperly written applications (those containing significant or numerous spelling and grammatical errors, wrong ordering, or lack of the required educational qualifications or professional certifications). It’s surprising how many applications drop out of contention at this first stage. The good thing about this is that you’ll be taking out people who have demonstrated subpar written communication skills or pay little attention to order. You save time, and you also weed out careless candidates. Interview proper
  1. Have a balanced interview team
Your interview team should comprise of people from the department in which the vacancy exists. They’ll know what a person with the proper outlook and attitude for the job would dress, speak or act like. They are likely to be able to tell when an interviewee demonstrates real knowledge of what the job requires, and when the applicant isn’t up to scratch. Balance the team’s composition with people from other departments. This is because the employee, when eventually hired, will almost certainly be working with people outside their department. The members of the interview team from outside the department concerned will decipher whether a candidate is the sort of person they can get along with.
  1. Ask the right questions
Begin in an unintimidating way. Make the candidates feel comfortable, ask the questions, and let them do most of the talking. Watch for the tone of their voice, how they answer your questions (you should be able to tell if their responses are genuine or rehearsed), and their general carriage. Don’t completely write off a slightly nervous person at first sight, but look out for people who are calm and confident, and show that they know the company and the job well enough. On the other hand, people who try to ‘cleverly’ evade your questions, display signs of arrogance or collapse under scrutiny, do not fit the bill. Questions could be asked about the applicant’s leadership abilities, management skills, interpersonal communication, decision making and conflict resolution skills. But a good part of the interview should be devoted to probing the candidate’s knowledge of the position they’re applying for.
  1. Hold multi-stage interviews at different settings
Perhaps this will take a bit more time than a single stage, single location interview; but it could reveal the staying power of the candidates you’re dealing with, and make plain any inconsistencies they may have. If they’re able to impress at different interview sessions and different settings/locations, they’re likely to be consistent on the job as well. Post interview
  1. Background checks
Background checks on your final candidates will help you further whittle down your options and get top quality recruits. This can be done by finding out more about the candidates from the referees they have listed (not including members of their families), contacting the company they previously worked for, and examining their posts on social media. 9 Evaluate the candidates based on criteria Score the candidates with respect to their performance at the interviews, and the information you gather about them from the post-interview investigations. Every member of the interview team should be involved in this process.
  1. Offer employment to the best candidate(s)
You may offer provisional or full employment. In the former case, hired employees work for the duration of a probation period after which their employers determine their suitability for the job. If they are found to be competent enough, they will be given full employment.

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This article was first published on 24th November 2017


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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