As a recruiter, I know how frustrating it can be to scan through resume after resume without finding a good one in the bunch. That's why it's so easy to get over-excited when you come across an applicant with a great work history who hits all the criteria on your hiring checklist.
This person may look good on paper, but before you consider extending a job offer, there are a few steps you should follow to make sure they really are the right fit. To minimize frustrations and wasted time for all parties, here's what to do once you've found an ideal potential candidate.
Conduct a phone screen. Whether you choose to do this yourself or entrust the task to a recruiter, your first step is to get the candidate on the phone. Speaking with a person directly gives you a lot more insight into their personality, attitudes and thought processes than going back and forth over email, but a phone call is much less of a scheduling commitment for both parties than an in-person interview. Knocking out some initial questions during a screening will help determine whether this candidate is worth that time investment.
Review any additional materials. You likely already checked out a candidate's social media profiles and portfolio website before you contacted them. But go back and revisit these materials after the initial phone call, this time with a keener eye. Does your impression of the candidate after speaking with them align with the image they present online? Is there anything surprising or concerning that you missed the first time around? Looking at these profiles and portfolios with a fuller picture of who the candidate is may change your mind, for better or for worse.
Ask for and check their references. Most career experts now advise job seekers not to include the words "references available upon request" on their resumes because they should already know to prepare one just in case. If a candidate can't supply any contacts, or is hesitant to do so, this should raise a red flag for you. Once you do have their reference list, reach out to any or all of the people on there (but do stick to the list: I have seen too many hiring managers compromise the trust and privacy of a candidate by reaching out to unauthorized "back door" references that they know personally). The hope is that you will receive glowing reviews about your candidate, but if anyone is surprised to hear from you or seems less than enthused about the candidate's performance, you might want to move on to another applicant.
Bring them in for the interview. If your candidate has passed through the first three steps and you still want to hire them, now is the time to schedule a formal interview. By this point, you should have a pretty good idea of how well the candidate could handle the job, so use the in-person meeting as an opportunity to evaluate their cultural fit and social skills. On Monster.com, writer Steven Hunt said to look at a candidate's self-awareness, sensitivity to others, social intelligence and self-control, as a deficit in these areas could indicate a "problem employee" who will cause interpersonal issues among your team.
Gather opinions from your team. After the interview, anyone who met with the candidate should be able to weigh in. You may think they're perfect, but candid feedback from the people who will ultimately be working with this person will ensure that you're not seeing them through rose-colored glasses. If your team approves, then go ahead and make that offer.
The path to finding the right candidate for a job can be a long and arduous one, but it's worth it to do your due diligence and not rush ahead with the first qualified resume you see. And don't forget, you can always make the process easier with a recruiter on your side. While the final decision is up to you, we can start your hiring process off strong with the right candidates, and guide you through all of the above steps. Learn more about what we can do for you on the Talented Recruiting blog.