How To Find The Right Candidate For The Job

Finding great candidates is becoming increasingly more difficult as skills shortages become more apparent. Often, hiring managers find themselves interviewing people they might not have considered potential employees a few years ago. So as the quantity of available skills reduces, how do you increase your chances of hiring the right candidate for the job? We explain how minor tweaks to your hiring processes can increase your chances of hiring top talent.

Top 10 Tips for Identifying the Right Candidate


1 — Identify Your Ideal Candidate BEFORE Going to Market

Rookie hiring managers often don’t properly consider what their ideal candidate looks like until the night before a job interview. That’s too late when you consider that most of the battle is attracting the right people to your job advert in the first place.

The trick to attracting top talent is to identify what the perfect candidate looks like before you advertise. Once you have your ideal candidate persona, you can write a job description and job advert to attract that person.

In addition to the necessary technical skills, you want your new hire to have, consider why this vacancy has become available. For example, was the prospective employee’s predecessor a nightmare to work with? If so, then you’ll want to write a job ad that focuses on how well their replacement will work within a team.

On the other hand, they might have been fantastic, and you’re reluctant to see them go? In that case, think about the qualities that individual has that you want to attract more of.

Alternatively, this role might have become available due to someone taking a sabbatical to gain a college degree. Therefore, your ideal candidate might be someone who can hit the ground running with minimal supervision.

2 — Write Clear and Concise Job Adverts

Job adverts should be easy to understand, which means free of company-specific jargon and not too long. 300–500 words are about sufficient. It’s long enough to get the point across about who you want to attract, what you want them to do for your business and what you can offer them in return.

Don’t forget this last point; it’s crucial! Too many job adverts consist of a long list of expectations from the candidate but fail to mention what benefits the business will provide or their company culture.

Competition for candidate attraction is fierce. Therefore, employers who want the best candidates must focus on candidate attraction.

3 — Work on Your Employer Brand

Adding a careers page to your already existing website is a great place to start with employer branding. Quality careers pages explain:

  • The employee experience your existing workforce enjoys
  • What jobs you have available
  • How candidates can apply for them
  • How your business will reward people if they choose to work for you

A strong employer brand vastly improves the candidate experience and can increase the number of job candidates you receive applications from. It can also create a healthy stream of speculative applications, making life easier when it comes to recruiting and hiring.

4 — Ask For Referrals

Good people tend to attract people like themselves. Therefore, if you want to attract more great people, your existing team members could be an untapped goldmine.

The best way to tap into this valuable resource is to offer an employee referral scheme. Compared with job board advertising or agency fees, this can be the most cost-effective way to recruit.

5 — Use Talent Pools

Every so often, hiring managers come across a candidate who is the perfect culture fit for their business. However, they’re just not suitable for the role they’re interviewing for. While it seems a crying shame to let them go, companies can’t just create jobs for people they like.

This is where talent pools come in. Smaller businesses may find talent pooling easy to manage using spreadsheets and email. Larger organisations that receive a high volume of applications will find this process much more manageable with an applicant tracking system.

Either way, the principle is the same; ask if it’s ok to keep applicants’ details on file so you can contact them again in future. Whenever a new role becomes available, be sure to check the list of candidates from your talent pool first. This tactic can save businesses thousands of pounds in recruitment fees!

During the Interview

6 — Use Your Questions Wisely

In times of skills shortage, you may not find individuals who match your criteria 100%. Alternatively, you may be about to launch a project that requires knowledge of new technology. Either way, if you’re interviewing candidates who don’t possess all the skill requirements for the job, focus instead on identifying potential over technical ability.

For example, Do they have a willingness to learn and develop their skills? How well do they get along with other members of a team? Can they work under their initiative with minimal supervision? Do they have a growth mindset?

One of the best ways to identify soft skills is to ask competency questions, which require interviewees to answer based on their past experience. The theory behind these kinds of questions is that if a person has previously reacted to a given scenario in a particular way, they are likely to behave that way again in future. This enables interviewers to gain an insight into what kind of employee they might make before hiring them.

7 — Pay Attention To Interviewees

The questions applicants ask in a job interview can give you a great insight into what’s important to them and what they want out of their career. Therefore, you should always invite questions at the end of an interview and pay attention to the answers they give.

8 — Take Care With Culture

Hiring for culture fit is tricky. Of course, employers want to hire people who are a good fit for their existing team, but that doesn’t mean that they have to fit the mould exactly. Hiring diversity can introduce new ideas and ways of thinking to your team. In turn, this can accelerate problem-solving and improve creative thinking among your existing team.

Post Interview

9 — Run Background Checks

Candidate screening goes beyond the interview process. What’s more, the background checks your company runs on prospective employees shouldn’t just include reference checks.

If you haven’t already by this point, checking out their social media feeds is a must. LinkedIn offers a window into their professional world, whereas Facebook and Instagram will show you what’s important to them outside work. Twitter, on the other hand, will highlight any strong opinions they have.

10 — Conduct Probation Reviews

Probation reviews allow employers to review a new employees performance. If they’re not doing entirely as well as you hope by this point, this is the time to nip it in the bud. Once their employment progresses beyond this stage, it becomes harder to take remedial action.

On the other hand, if your new team member is doing great, this presents the perfect opportunity to motivate them to thrive in their new environment. While you’re there, it’s also the ideal time to mention your referral scheme!

A Few Final Thoughts on Finding the Right Candidate for the Job

The journey to hiring top candidates starts way before the interview and continues way beyond. Shifting your focus from filling empty seats to candidate attraction and retention can make recruiting and hiring a less stressful experience.

If you need help or advice with any of the above, our expert recruitment consultants can help your business devise a strategy for candidate attraction.

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