Steps to Successful Recruiting

Candidate Interviewing

When assessing candidates for a specific position, Acumen recommends a systematic approach to evaluate their qualifications, skills, and suitability. We’ve outlined a series of steps below that provide a road map through the more scientific elements of the recruitment process. That said, exceptional recruiting goes far beyond data-driven spreadsheets and finding an individual with the perfect combination of experience and skill set. A successful search process is a combination of both Science and Art. The art of recruiting brings to the search an understanding of company culture and emphasizes the alignment of values and goals between candidate and company, leading to long-term success and retention. Utilizing this multi-faceted approach requires more skill, empathy, and vision throughout the process, but generates powerful results.

Suggested Steps for a Successful Recruitment:

  1. Before beginning any search, it is important to remember to adhere to fair hiring practices, maintain confidentiality, and document the assessment process through your DEI and Equity initiatives. 
  2. Define the position requirements: have a clear understanding of your priorities and objectives you want to achieve.  DO NOT just pull out a position description from years back for your organization, needs and priorities probably have changed!  When looking at the priorities – ask yourself if you really need this degree and/or this certification. If it would be “nice to have”, list that versus making it a “must have”. Ask what skills, qualifications, and experience are necessary for the position.
  3. Review Resumes and Application Materials: Evaluate each candidate’s resume, cover letter, and any other supporting documentation they submitted.  Make sure they meet your minimum requirements – relevant experience, education, and skills.
  4. Initial Screening: The goal is to shortlist your top candidates who meet the basic requirements. This can be automated via a questionnaire of 3 – 4 questions you ask them to complete. Only the people who complete the questionnaire are truly interested in your position.
  5. Development of Inclusive Interview Questions: As you develop a set of interview questions, you need to focus both on technical skills and behavioral competencies. It is important to ask yourself if there are any biases and/or leading questions.  We recommend open-ended questions, situational inquiries, and behavioral-based questions to gather real insights.
  6. Conduct Interviews: Look beyond the surface answers and learn more about the “soft” skills. How do they explain a situation, how have they used creativity to solve problems, do they communicate in a way that you and your team would understand… It is important if something is not clear, to ask follow-up questions until you get the answer you need.  We call this “diving deep”.
  7. Culture Fit: Again, we feel that this is equally important to hard skills. If there is not an alignment of goals and values, we found that candidates do not stay long.  It is important to look at the organization’s “fit”, the leadership team’s “fit”, the department’s “fit”, and peers/subordinates “fit”. Can the candidate work collaboratively with the team and adapt to the organization’s working environment?
  8. Multiple Interviews and Assessments: We have clients that like to use both panel interviews, multiple interviews, and assessments to help narrow down to the top candidate. Assessment can help evaluate specific skills and/or aptitudes. We always recommend involving multiple stakeholders in the process. This can provide a different perspective and minimize bias in the decision-making process.
  9. Top Candidates: After comparing and evaluating top candidates it is important to rank them for today’s needs as well as future needs. Equally important, do they “fit” within your organization?  Compare candidates based on qualifications, skills, experience, and performance in the interviews. Evaluate each candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential fit.
  10. Time to Make the Offer: Usually one candidate will rise to the top. At times there are two top candidates. We always recommend looking at “fit” over hard skills if retention is your top priority. If achieving a specific objective, hard skills may be your top priority.

Be sure to read our blog post “When Hiring is a Team Sport“.

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