3 Rules You’ll Want to Follow Before Making Another Hire

by | July 14, 2014

We’ve been programmed to become more efficient, to use less of our most abundant precious resource: time. Increasing efficiency has been the driver of new businesses, ideas, and even entire industries and is something we all constantly optimize on a daily basis.

Some tasks, however, should never be rushed. They shouldn’t be changed simply for the basis of saving time. One of those is hiring.

When looking for a new candidate it’s easy to figure out who can do the job – that’s what a resume is for. However, sending resumes has become too easy and passe with the advent of email. It takes little to no effort whatsoever to bulk apply for hundreds of jobs by copy and pasting an intro email and attaching a resume.

Because culture fit is a major part of job success it’s absolutely necessary to take the extra time to properly screen candidates and even have them jump through the ‘hoops’. In the long run, following these tips will save you the costly (both monetary and time) job of replacing an unfit candidate.

Why this job? Why this company?
These are the two questions you should ask your candidates first. They accomplish two things: weeding out the ‘bulk appliers’ and showing how much preparation went into company research. At Zirtual, we have our virtual assistants record 60-second responses to these questions. After reviewing, the best move on the the next round.

Mix obvious tests with stealth tests
No matter what the job is it will require certain skills. Whether they’re soft skills (attention to detail, time management, etc) or hard skills (CSS, language fluency, etc) you can test them with both direct and indirect tests.

For obvious tests, think about the infamous Google interview tests: tough questions meant to gauge critical thinking and knowledge of relevant programs. They are often on paper and administered like tests of college years past. Have your engineers sample code, your marketers pitch a new idea, and your customer service reps respond to real-world scenarios.

The stealthy ones are more creative. Many people involved in hiring including Hubspot’s David Cancel test teamwork abilities by offering candidates a cup of water during the interview. The interviewer then looks to see if the candidate cleans up his or her own trash at the end, using the decision as a proxy for ability to work on a team. Cancel swears by it having interviewed over 100 of the companies 700+ employees it’s a tactic that we would try.

Strength in numbers
Following these should enable you to only the cream of the crop candidates make it to the more intensive, final round of interviews. Once you’ve had 2 – 3 people on the team lead their own interviews using the two steps reconvene, put your notes together, and the answer should be clear on which candidate is the best choice. The key is to have multiple people put their own spin on the aforementioned rules.

Quick tips for evaluating candidates:

  • Grammatical errors are non-negotiable
  • Timeliness is next to Godliness – candidates need to arrive on time
  • Test their people skills:
    • What would the person who likes you least in the world say about you? (honesty)
    • Explain what ABC corp. does to a gradeschooler? (communication)
    • Why are manhole covers round? (problem solving)