10 things to look for when hiring new staff

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Further to our review of the best things to look out for when hiring new team members, we came across an article citing 10 things you shouldn’t look past.

Here at The Recruitment Alternative we debated the 6th point ‘Don’t trust your first instincts’ as typically we’d argue you should, as a lot can be gauged from a candidate in the interview, especially in terms of rapport, confidence and such like, but in the context of how they explain this point and the importance of reference checks, it is a valuable point of view. It is also worth remembering that some candidates just get really nervous in interviews but are great in an actual working situations.

The article’s 10 points are as follows:

1. Make your job advertisement and position description clear. 
Leave no room for misunderstandings so you can strike any candidates off the shortlist immediately and save yourself the hassle. Set yourself a list of ‘must-haves’ and stick to it.

2. Be thorough in checking references. 
Applicants will most often provide you with their best references so you probably won’t hear anything bad. Often there is more meaning behind what is not said or how something is said so be alert to warning signs.

3. Ask behavioural based questions when interviewing. 
Provide candidates examples of situations and ask how they would respond. This will provide you with an idea of how they would deal with different situations. Make sure you give them time to think. Take the opportunity to discover more about the candidate by asking what their greatest weakness is – we all have some. 

4. Be aware of how candidates phrase their statements. 
Be wary of candidates that use absolute terms such as ‘always’, ‘must’ and ‘should’ as it may reflect self-importance. A much more relative term is ‘sometimes’ as it reflects a more flexible approach. However, it is also important to be able to distinguish between self-importance and confidence.

5. Look for candidates that have goals relating to skill and career development. 
Avoid candidates that are more concerned with goals relating to status, power and accomplishments as they will most likely be less receptive to learning. These types of candidates are also more likely to move on more quickly on their quest for status and power.

6. When it comes to hiring employees don’t trust your first instincts. 
A very charismatic candidate may seem initially appealing for the role. Do not make a decision based on the first five or 10 minutes of an interview or let it cloud your judgement. Be sure to complete the interview and your reference checks as you would any other applicant.

7. Take your time. There is no reason to rush through an interview because you don’t like the responses you’ve had from the first few questions. Nerves play a big role in a job interview so you must let the interview progress naturally to allow the candidate’s personality to come through. 

8. Look outside the box. 
Take some time and do some research to find people who have previously worked with the candidate to get the inside story. If these people no longer have a relationship with the candidate, they have nothing to lose in giving it to you straight so you could uncover some information the supplied references won’t reveal.

9. Take note of any resume gaps and ask why they are there. 
A resume gap may spell trouble with a previous employer which the candidate didn’t want to include. However, while a resume gap will pose questions there can be many possible explanations (babies, travel, illness, etc) so be prepared to find out why.

10. A candidate who badmouths previous employers or workmates is one to watch. 
While it may not affect your business while the candidate is employed by you, if they move on they may damage your reputation in future interviews.

All valuable things to bear in mind as you look to recruit staff.

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