Getting the candidate selection process right is potentially the most important aspect of any organization's long-term success. To have a successful company, you must have the right individuals working to keep it afloat, and the only way to acquire said individuals is to have the best candidate selection process possible.
This guide will cover all the crucial elements that go into developing a good candidate selection process. So, read on to learn what easy tactics you can utilize to start hiring higher-quality candidates.
What Is The Candidate Selection Process, And Why Is It Important?
The candidate selection process involves all the steps leading up to hiring an individual for a job. It's a process vital to any successful business, as a robust candidate selection process is necessary for hiring the most qualified candidates for a particular position.
Many people assume that the only things which go into a hiring process are applications and interviews. However, many more elements than those two are essential. A great deal of planning must happen for all the elements to function together seamlessly. Otherwise, you'll have a hiring process that's messy and flawed.
Arguably the most crucial aspect of creating a successful hiring process is developing it with a specific purpose. This purpose can revolve around the position candidates are applying for or the company's broader goals. Both will help you hire individuals who will be valuable assets to the company's growth.
While every company should have a well-thought-out candidate selection process, you may not know all the essential elements that make up such a process. To help with this, the following section covers the core elements you'll find in most candidate selection processes.
What Elements Make Up The Candidate Selection Process?
Here are some key elements that make up the candidate selection process.
Because the application is the initial form of contact between an employer and a candidate, it's where employers have to make an excellent first impression with candidates by pitching their job openings. Given that those looking for a job are usually scrolling through page after page of job offerings, it's crucial for you to make your job application stand out from the rest.
However, you can only ever achieve this but so much. It's more important to focus on articulating the details of your job, what it has to offer, and what type of candidate you're looking for as concisely as possible. It would be best if you had your application form relatively short. That way, applicants don't feel put off from doing it because it's overly long.
Some applicants will still go through a longer application form if they like the details of the job. However, if you want to get as many candidates as possible, you're better off keeping the form relatively brief.
The resume screening is where you can get a general sense of what a candidate has to offer. Since a quality resume will feature a candidate's education, experience, and skills, you can make good use of the information to develop additional questions to ask during the interview.
Sometimes, what you find on a candidate's resume may not perfectly align with the job they are applying for, but you should never turn them away when this happens. Despite how much you can learn from reading a resume, the interview is where you'll gain a strong sense of whether a particular candidate is a good fit for the job.
The only time you should reject an applicant based on their resume is if the resume meets far too few of the requirements you listed in the job description.
The interview portion of the candidate selection process will generally play the most significant determining role in whom an employer chooses to hire. They can happen in person, over the phone, or via a video call, but the setup of an interview doesn't hugely impact it. What typically impacts an interview the most is how prepared an employer and a candidate are for it.
As an employer, you should consider creating an interview guide to help structure your interviews, especially if you're doing many of them. It can help you stay consistent from one interview to the next and ensure that each candidate is getting asked the same series of questions.
If you have the time, you should also take notes on a candidate's resume before the interview.
Specifically, take notes on things you see on the resume that stands out because you don't typically see them on other applicants' resumes. This can allow you to get more information out of the interview than you would by only asking your standard set of questions.
The most important thing to remember is that as the employer, you have the most control over how well or poorly an interview goes. So, take the time to prepare for the interview and develop good questions regarding the position you're interviewing for, and you'll find yourself far more likely to get informative answers.
Skill Assessment Tests
Sometimes, you may still feel undecided on whether a candidate is a good fit for a job after conducting an interview. Or, you may still have too many candidates to choose from. Skill assessment tests are one method you can utilize in both of these situations, as it's another way for you to learn more about candidates after the interviews.
Generally, skill assessment tests focus on determining an individual's skills for success with a particular job. These tests can prove especially useful for finding additional skills you did not come across on a candidate's resume, and sometimes the extra skills are highly desirable.
The only issue with skill assessment tests is that they don't work great as a primary way of determining a candidate's fit for a job. You should only use these tests as a supplementary way to learn more about a candidate. So, you'll still want to focus on interviews as the main factor in your candidate selection process.
Lastly, background checks are a part of every good hiring process. Every employer should perform a pre-employment background check on a candidate for safety purposes. However, you typically don't need to spend time doing this unless you strongly consider hiring a particular candidate.
How Can Organizations Ensure They Are Selecting The Right Candidates For The Role?
In terms of picking the right candidates for roles, there are a few things every organization should focus on for success.
Understand The Role You're Seeking Candidates For
One of the easiest aspects to overlook in a hiring process is how well you understand the role you're seeking candidates for as an employer. You need to understand every responsibility the position will have, the knowledge and skill required to complete the tasks given to the role, and how it will interact with other roles in the organization.
You should understand the role well enough to fulfill it yourself because the better you know all the ins and outs of a particular position, the more accurate you can be when considering what questions you want to ask candidates during interviews.
Be Thorough In Interviews
While the candidate selection process involves many working parts, the pivotal role the interview plays in the whole process is something that shouldn't go understated. In one of the upcoming sections, we'll cover the importance of interviews in greater detail. However, you should take it upon yourself to conduct your interviews as thoroughly as possible.
They are the points in the hiring process when you can learn the most about a candidate, making them a vital element to refine as much as possible.
Consider Supplementary Forms Of Gathering Information On Candidates
Aside from interviews, it's beneficial to incorporate other forms of gathering information on candidates throughout the selection process. Skill assessment tests, psychometric tests, and other pre-employment tests focus on collecting information about specific areas of a candidate's offerings, which can significantly aid your decision-making.
Oftentimes these tests are best to use after you conduct an interview with a candidate and determine that they are a good fit for the position. The test can help you narrow down your choices if you have many quality candidates after the interviews. That way, you can make a more informed final decision.
You always want to provide as much information as possible throughout the candidate selection process. Otherwise, you will have a lower chance of picking the right individual for the role.
Ensure A Candidate's Offerings Align With The Job And The Company As A Whole
While a candidate can perfectly fit a job description, it's equally crucial for them to fit in with the company in its entirety. Sometimes these two things go hand in hand. However, it doesn't always work out so seamlessly, which is why something like a personality test can significantly benefit you in the hiring process.
For example, suppose someone is a low-energy and reserved type of person. In that case, they may not fit well in a fast-paced, high-energy environment even if they are a perfect fit for the job. It's an easy aspect to overlook if you only care about whether or not a candidate has the qualifications for the position, except overlooking it can prove costly.
A candidate can have all the right qualifications and still not succeed in their role if they don't fit in well with their work environment. So, take the extra time to ensure a candidate is a good fit for your organization and not only the position they are applying for.
How Important Are Interviews In The Candidate Selection Process?
Without quality interviews, you can't expect to have a good candidate selection process. For all the reasons previously mentioned and many more, interviews are the cornerstone of hiring for any organization. Not only do they provide the most information, but they also require the most attention from a planning perspective.
Developing questions for your interviews and organizing them in a way that makes sense can take much trial and error because you don't know how the questions will perform until you conduct a few interviews and see the results. Even after seeing the results, what questions need revising may not be immediately apparent.
The ability to keep improving upon the interview portion of the candidate selection process means you can always refine it further to increase your chances of selecting the right candidate. Because of this, it's a good idea to consider regularly taking notes on how your interviews perform and holding workshops to develop them further.
Common Mistakes You Could Do During Your Candidate Selection Process?
There are many mistakes that employers sometimes make during the candidate selection process, and some of these mistakes are easier to make than others.
Not Asking The Most Pivotal Questions
To succeed in the candidate selection process, you have to ask candidates the right questions on the application form and during interviews. If you do not do this, you make your job more difficult because you'll have less quality information to help you select the best candidate.
However, remember that there's no such thing as a perfect set of questions. You likely won't have the time to ask all the most important questions before hiring someone, so instead, focus on asking as many as you can.
Being Too Hasty In Your Final Decision
Rushing into a hiring decision is one of the worst things you can do for reasons you can likely imagine, yet it's still a frequent issue. Sometimes employers are desperate to fill a role as quickly as possible and either can't or won't take the time to find the ideal candidate. So, they end up hiring someone prematurely, which can sometimes work out perfectly fine.
Other times, it doesn't work out, and the employer has to go back to looking for a new individual to hire. You can save yourself much trouble if you practice patience in the candidate selection process, as finding the ideal candidate is not always a quick process.
Unless you're lucky, it usually takes a fair bit of time to understand how the strengths and weaknesses of candidates fare against each other enough to decide which to hire.
Putting Too Much Stock In One Form Of Information Gathering
Another common mistake is valuing one form of information gathering too much over others. While interviews are the best way to learn about a candidate, that doesn't mean it's the only thing you should factor into your final decision. The same goes for supplementary things like skill assessment tests.
The main reason for this is that some candidates perform better in interviews while others perform better on tests. This makes it so that you have to consider everything to conclude who to hire if you want to make the best choice.
However, it's always best to pay more attention to what you learn from the interviews than the tests because the tests don't always feature questions about the job.
Looking For The Perfect Candidate
While some candidates perfectly match the requirements of a job, the two aligning in that way is rare and not something that you should focus on. A candidate does not need to be near perfect to perform well in a role. They only really need to meet most of the role's requirements and fit well within an organization.
When you spend much of your time searching for the perfect candidate, you're bound to turn away many other candidates who are more than qualified. In addition to that, you'll potentially make the candidate selection process far longer than it needs to be.
How Can Organizations Make Sure They Are Not Biased In Their Selection Of Candidates?
Not being biased during the candidate selection process is an important aspect that you should be mindful of at all times. It's easy to have biases without realizing it, so here are two ways to help yourself be more unbiased with candidates.
Only Focus On Determining Qualities
When considering a candidate for hire, pay attention to the qualities they have that will directly impact their performance in the role they're applying for. These qualities can include experience, skillset, personality traits, and many others, so you'll have to use your judgment to determine which qualities matter and which don't.
You want to avoid associating what you personally like and dislike about a candidate with whether or not you hire them. If a candidate has a quality that doesn't appeal to you as a person, it won't necessarily impact their ability to perform well at the job. Keeping this in mind during an interview can prove especially difficult, but it's essential to be aware of it at all times.
Letting your personal views determine how qualified a candidate is for a role will undoubtedly cause you to make biased hiring decisions.
Don't Emphasize Experience Unnecessarily
Experience is always a great thing for a candidate, though sometimes employers can overvalue it during the hiring process. As an employer, you want to hire the best candidate for the role, and the best candidate is often the one with the most experience, but this is not always the case.
For example, let's say you have two mostly similar candidates in terms of their personalities and what they have on their resumes. However, one has an extra year of experience in a past job that directly relates to the role you're looking to fill, while the other has a few additional skills that are highly desirable for the position.
In this case, you should not necessarily default to choosing the candidate with the extra year of experience. Instead, it's much better to consider how much you think that additional year will impact their performance compared to how much the extra skills will impact the performance of the other candidate.
There's no definitive right or wrong answer in these situations. However, you'll improve your chances of picking the right candidate without being biased if you don't immediately assume the candidate with slightly more experience is the better choice.
How Can Reference Checks Help In The Selection Of Candidates?
Reference checks are an excellent way to confirm much of the information you come across on a candidate's resume. Reaching out to previous employers is a process that can take time. So, it's usually fine to hold off on doing it until you feel optimistic about hiring a particular candidate.
Just as you should do before interviewing candidates, come up with some questions to ask their references. Doing so can help you better understand a candidate's performance in previous jobs.
Are Psychometric Tests A Valuable Tool In Candidate Selection?
A psychometric test can assess a candidate's cognitive ability, personality, and work behavior. It can come in various forms, making it a flexible way for employers to learn more about candidates during the hiring process. Most importantly, this test can give you a sense of how a candidate thinks logically to solve problems effectively.
If you aren't already considering using psychometric tests in your candidate selection process, you should most certainly start in order to improve the overall quality of the candidates you hire.