Recruiters and HR managers have the sometimes difficult task of selecting an employee from a range of qualified candidates. Narrowing down the choice of employer depends on sophisticated interviewing skills, some investigative techniques, and feeling that a candidate stands out from the rest. Hiring the right employee also means asking thoughtful questions, listening carefully to the answers, and assessing whether or not the candidate’s professional characteristics are a good fit for your company.
Many jobs are for employees with previous work experience. Therefore, it is important that recruiters and HR managers validate a candidate’s work experience and background through well-constructed interview questions. Generally, the purpose of a phone screening is to review an applicant’s work history. However, at some point during the selection process – be it during the preliminary screening or the background check – the employer must determine whether the applicant actually has the experience claimed on a résumé or application.
Professional experience and professional knowledge usually go hand in hand. However, there are times when a candidate knows enough about a job to be able to carry out her duties and responsibilities even though she does not have the opportunity to be in the official capacity of that job. For example, a legal secretary with many years of experience in dealing with complex and increasingly content-related tasks may apply for a legal position. Since she has the requisite knowledge of legal process and court proceedings, and understands the terminology and nuances of working in a law firm, she likely has the qualifications needed to be promoted.
In some cases, employers often value core competencies above actual professional knowledge. These competencies consist of communication skills; analytical and critical thought processes; Negotiation and conflict resolution skills; and the ability to adapt to a range of different circumstances and to interact with colleagues at all levels of the organization. Candidates with the right combination of core competencies and professional characteristics may be exactly what your company is looking for. Core competencies are transferable skills that are useful in virtually any role, and it’s important to ask questions that allow candidates the opportunity to present them.
Not every job requires formal training and credentials, but when a candidate is claiming academic credentials or professional certifications, it is important that they check out. For job roles that require a minimum level of training and license, it is imperative that employers verify information through government licensing bodies and official credentials.
Where appropriate, recruiters or HR managers should seek consensus when they decide to renew a job offer. Formal approval from the applicant’s potential colleagues may not always be required or even feasible. However, giving candidates a tour of your facility and introducing them to people they would routinely interact with gives others an opportunity to meet and greet their potential colleague. In fact, employees who were not directly involved in the recruitment and selection process can provide feedback from a more objective point of view.
The job market shouldn’t be an afterthought as it can affect both the quality and the number of candidates who meet your requirements. In addition, the results of your procurement efforts can have an impact on your applicant pool. Depending on your company’s vacancies, the compensation you offer, and the skills and qualifications you want, the labor market and the availability of workers can be a critical factor in the hiring process.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s and has been an HR expert since 1995. Her work appears in The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry and she has been cited in numerous publications, including magazines and textbooks that focus on human resource management practices. She holds a Masters of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth lives in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC