Beyond the Resume: How to Choose the Best Candidates

When you are striving to fill a vacant position, it’s common to rely heavily on resumes to find the strongest candidates. While using these documents for initial screening is certainly necessary, you can’t rely on resumes alone if you want to find your ideal match.

Instead, you have to dig a bit deeper. That way, you can determine whether the candidate is genuinely someone you would like to work with as well as appropriately skilled. If you want to look beyond the resume to find the best candidates, here’s how to get started.

Pay Closer Attention to the Application Materials

Most hiring managers spend only a few seconds skimming an application. While this can work for screening out obvious wrong fits, it could still leave you with a pretty big pile of resumes.

If you want to focus on the best and the brightest, spend a little more time exploring the application materials. Check to make sure that each candidate followed any directions you provided (such as using a particular format or submitting a specific set of documents). The ability to follow instructions indicates strong attention to detail, so eliminate anyone who missed any point.

Additionally, spend time reading every cover letter. Determine if the candidate created a unique one that speaks directly to your opportunity or if they used a generic version that they likely fired off to everyone. Those who customize their cover letter are probably more enthusiastic about the position, and that could be a positive sign.

Add “Technical” Aspects to the Interview

While you want to ask standard questions during an interview, you should also consider either adding “technical” questions to the process or having a separate technical interview, depending on the role. This could include anything from asking a customer service rep candidate to take a mock phone call to having a developer job seeker examine a piece of real code and correct a problem.

The goal is to mimic a typical duty, allowing you to see how a candidate performs in that sort of scenario. This can give you a better gauge on their capabilities, increasing the odds you’ll find a strong match.

Don’t Ignore Cultural Fit

Candidates who are most likely to thrive with your company are going to mesh with your organization’s culture. As you ask behavioral interview questions, learn about the job seeker’s goals, and discover aspects of their personality and preferences, consider whether your environment seems like a good fit. Even highly skilled professionals may struggle if they don’t fit into your company’s culture, so make sure to always consider it before you move forward with a candidate.

Embrace Trial Periods

Sometimes, the easiest way to determine whether you’re selecting the best candidate is to use trial periods. Essentially, they’ll participate in a working interview (with pay), allowing you to assess them while they are actually performing the duties associated with the job in your workplace. Then, if they are a great match, you can bring them on permanently. And, if not, you can move on to another job seeker who might meet your needs.

Ultimately, all of the tips above can make it easier to find right-fit candidates. If you would like to use trial periods during hiring, the team at The Squires Group can help. Contact us to learn more about our temp-to-hire program and see how our service can benefit you.

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