How to choose the best candidateEven in a highly competitive job market, finding the very best candidate to fill an open position at your company can be a big challenge. While your inbox may be stuffed with the resumes of plausible candidates, that right candidate that gets everyone excited may continue to elude you. Too many companies blame the applicant pool when they find themselves dissatisfied with their options. The truth is, if you really want to identify that best new hire for your company, the key thing to do is to look inward first. Examining your own assumptions, your communication issues, and your hiring processes when it comes to reviewing candidates will help land you that top talent–and, perhaps more importantly, prevent you from making a bad hire just get a position filled.

Confront Your Hiring Assumptions

Past experience does not necessarily indicate future performance. Many employers will look at a candidate’s resume and scan for experience and skills that are directly relevant to the job description. If they don’t find a one-to-one match, they toss that resume in the rejection pile. On the flipside, mediocre candidates with all the relevant experience and skills get an automatic pass. See the problem? By focusing too narrowly on your company’s needs, you might miss a candidate who lacks many of the qualifications you’re looking for but who has tons of “raw talent” (read: intelligence, drive, general competency) to excel as your employee. Sure, that person will need some extra training. But once you get them up to speed, they’ll really take off.

Look Past Branding and Pedigree

Experience working for NASA and/or an Ivy League education are generally good indicators of an applicant’s capabilities. But only generally. At any rate, such “branded” candidates may cost more in terms of salary and attention than their “generic” counterparts. To avoid the brand trap, your company should develop its own unique hiring process that allows you to see past the labels and into the substance. You can accomplish this any number of ways. Some of the best tactics involve creative (but not silly) questions and ingenious (but not long) tests during the interview process. Like consumer products, not every job candidate will turn out “as advertised.”

Create a New Hire Wish List

As you head into the hiring process, get together with other managers and/or executives and make a “wish list” of the qualifications and qualities you want in a new hire. Too often, hiring managers don’t take the time to articulate exactly what would get them excited about a new hire. This makes them inclined to take what they can get. Your wish list will give you a more concrete measure of what you desire; having this written down will create a sense of accountability. Then, during the hiring process, if you find there’s not enough in common between your “dream hire” and the candidate in front of you, you’ll feel more comfortable holding out for someone better.

Waiting for and finding the best candidate above all requires that employers be clear with themselves and see candidates objectively. For more tips on how to achieve this, as well as other employment-related information, please visit Masiello Employment Services.