When you’re evaluating job applicants, it’s essential to be fair and impartial. Not only is it a matter of ethics, but it’s also what will help you assess all candidates by the same consistent measures, ensuring that you select the absolute best one. But there’s a lot that goes into determining who will help propel your company into sustainable growth, and a lot of it seems subjective. But here are four means of effective benchmarking to make sure you narrow down your list to the absolute best fit for your company.
Evaluate the applications
Before you do anything, outline exactly what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate. The criteria should be apparent in the job posting and be addressed in the actual application. Are your top qualifications and skills also reflected in their resume or cover letter? If so, set up a phone interview. Otherwise, toss out the application.
Screen with a phone call
Phone interviews can be a bit awkward since you’re basing everything on the sound of their voice, but they’re a good, convenient way to take your relationship with the candidate to the next level. Aside from finding out where the candidates live, what salary they have in mind, and when they can start, ask some more in-depth questions. Ask the same things of each candidate so you can compare answers instead of merely comparing the sound of their voices.
After the phone interviews, bring in your best candidates for real-life interviews. Structure the interviews so that each one has the same format, and you can compare how the candidates react and how they respond to your questions. Take notes, have a checklist, or fill out a spreadsheet so you can look back later and narrow down the top candidates. If you rely only on your memory of the interviews, you’re not likely to facilitate a fair assessment. If you’re still not confident enough to offer one candidate the job, conduct a second round of interviews. If you’re still not sure after that, start all over and re-post the job. If you end up hiring a mediocre candidate because they’re the best candidate in a weak pool, you’ll probably regret it. A bad hire can cost your company time and money, not to mention morale.
Even if you think you found the absolute best candidate, check references! A lot of people interview well or are able to craft the perfect resume without actually being a good fit for your company. Don’t hire someone just because you loved their charismatic personality. Former employers, coworkers, professors, and mentors can give you a lot of valuable insight into your applicants’ work history and character. Ask the same questions of each reference so you can be sure you’re comparing apples to apples when you assess your candidates.