How to Pick the Right Candidate More Often

Whether you are hiring for yourself or for your client, the cost of selecting the wrong candidate is high.


Follow these 4 easy steps to learn how to select the right candidate more often.

1. Write a strong job ad and attract qualified talent
Candidate selection starts long before the interview or filtering stage, it starts at the very beginning, when you are writing your job advert. Let's face it, writing a good job advert is sometimes not the easiest thing to do and we often take short cuts by slapping a quick ad together with a couple of lines, often filled with many abbreviated words and seldom containing useful information about the job, the company or the person you are trying to target. But this is all very valuable information and it is what a potential candidate needs to know about the job.


A candidate sees the title of the job ad and that it is exactly what they have are looking for. But when they take a closer, they realise that the job ad reveals nothing about the job or the type of candidate the recruiter is actually looking for. So what do they do, they click apply and take a chance anyway. That doesn't help anyone, not you the recruiter who has to screen through the candidates, and most definitely not the ‘top candidate' who probably lost interest the minute they looked deeper (or should we say ‘shallower') into the ad. If the job ad lacks something as important as qualifications, you may get anyone who has dreamed of being a Sales Director applying for the position, even if they only have a Standard 8 and no experience. Whose fault is that, the candidates? Certainly not!


Job Seekers are not mind readers, they need to feel confident that the job is worth applying for and that they have the relevant education and experience. Looking for a job is not an easy, so to avoid potential rejection or having to waste your time interviewing unsuitable candidates for the job, take care to write a job ad that will attract qualified talent. Nobody wants to feel inadequate, yet if you are sparse about what you are looking for then you should prepare yourself for a lot of screening and a lot more frustration.


2. Know your client very well.
When hiring, there are two primary qualities that need to be matched to the job: Competency and values. If a candidate does not have both of these qualities; then they really do not actually fit the bill. Not only must the candidate be competent, but he will also need to have the same value structure to that of your client in order to be a culture fit to the organisation. The only way you will ever know if there is a match, is by knowing your client very well.

When you meet with client or get the brief on a new vacancy be sure to understand all the qualities that the client is looking for. You will want to look for candidates that appear to be competent on their CV, with all the right relevant skills and experience, but when you meet with them you need to make it a priority to ascertain whether or not their values are aligned with that of the company's. If you are not too sure whether the candidate is a perfect fit for the company, either from a competency or cultural perspective, then keep looking.


3. Distinguish between reality and perception
Once you have received a brief, you immediately start to get a picture of the ideal candidate in your head and what they might be like and set off trying to match the real life version to the perception or persona that you created in your mind. There are a number of rising stars, with massive amounts of experience and talent, yet each candidate is unique. What you might perceive as the perfect candidate for that role, may be vastly different to what your client imagined.

Don't disqualify a candidate on the basis that they didn't quite match the image in your head. Take the time to understand the candidate's unique qualities and see how this candidate might in fact be ideal for the client. On the flip side, even if you think the candidate is exactly what you envisioned, try to read your client and understand what they had in mind before sending the candidate in all guns blazing, ultimately setting yourself and your candidate up for potential failure or disappointment.


4. Don't base your decision purely on looks
When the client and recruiter have not taken the time to properly understand what they want, and fail to clearly list the competency, values, qualifications and skills that they required, then there is very little to go by often the decision is made impulsively on the basis of the candidates presentation. So the candidate had great shoes, or was well spoken so she must be professional enough for the company. Wrong, unless the recruiter and the client know exactly what they are looking for, and all the correct steps have been put into place at the offset, then the hiring should be based on the suitability of the candidate to perform the task and fit in with the company, not only on how good they look.


Final thoughts
As a recruiter, don't just hit the ground running with an un-detailed job spec. No matter how desperate you may be to run with the spec, don't - unless you know exactly who your client is and what they are looking for. The better your matching becomes, the better your reputation as a professional recruiter will become too, and the risk of having to replace the candidate later or lose money on refunding the client becomes far less. Take the time to provide quality candidates to your client as opposed to quantity. Even if your competitor gets a bunch of CV's on the client's desk first, don't let this rattle you. Take care, even if you only submit one great candidate to the client - your success rate is likely to be far higher!


Remember always: what you put in you get out.


Author: Olivia Bosman