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Five Steps to Sharpen your Employee Selection Process 

Are you under intense pressure to fill a job? Follow these five guidelines to make your hiring choice the right one.

1. Clarify Job Requirements – You can’t estimate how well a candidate will fit a job unless you know what the person must do on the job. When you specify the required work, you can focus on the competencies and experiences needed to do the work and assess candidates accordingly.

The process is straightforward. Define the general outcomes the candidate must perform effectively—strategy and planning, financial management, people management, people development, or specific operational functions. Then determine the key tasks in each area that must be done to achieve the desired performance. Assess candidates on the competencies needed to perform these tasks.

2. Verify Resume Facts – Resumes have verifiable information. If you don’t confirm what is written, the resume could be seriously misleading. Candidates can exaggerate, fabricating education and employment, or what they did on a job. Not verifying facts when it is relatively simple to do yourself or through an inexpensive outside service, is like texting while crossing a busy street. You are increasing the chances of an avoidable accident!

3. Check References – Most references provided by a candidate attest to the positive relationship the reference has with the candidate and not to job performance. Often employers will only provide dates of employment. Many references are reluctant to say anything negative unless they have an axe to grind or a desire to be helpful.

What is the point of references? Just like buying a ticket is required to winning a lottery, checking references is a prerequisite to making a good selection. Ask the candidate for references who can attest to work performance.  Ask references for references. Tell the references that you are concerned about work performance. It helps to prepare in advance questions that relate to the candidate’s work performance.  

​4. Use Pre-employment Tests – Professional judgment is often challenged by sophisticated mathematical predictions. The movie "Moneyball" showed the advantage of statistics in judging baseball players. The book "Wisdom of the Crowds" points out how many are smarter than the few. Yet, many employers think that their own wisdom and experience is sufficient to choose the best candidates.

Make good use of the many screening and testing tools available to test candidates. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, but most importantly, they use technologies to provide insight into how a candidate thinks, feels and acts. While helpful to decision-making, these tools are most effective with the guidance of a trained professional for interpretation, as one size does not fit all. 

5. Confirm the Candidates Understanding of the Job – The point of hiring a candidate is to fill a need. As an employer, you should know what that need is and what an employee must do to fill that need. In this final step, verify a candidate’s understanding of this need and how he or she would fill it.

Assuming you clearly explained expectations, you should expect the candidate to describe reasonably similar ideas. If candidates cannot describe what you want them to do, they will describe what they intend to do.  And that’s not a good sign.  Make sure they are on the bus with you!




Sharpen your selection process 


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