Eight essentials to make the right hiring decisions.

Updated: November 08, 2009

Define. Say short, say sweet. Keep it simple. Specify roles and duties.

Study. Do a study of your best people (past and present) and find out what characteristics they have in common. One of the best ways to do this is by using a tool called the Profile XT. The Profile XT is much more than an assessment. It gives you customized Job Match patterns, suggests relevant interview questions, yields a percentage match when comparing a candidate to your top performers, provides a detailed positive analysis of the individuals you assess, and can provide thousands of "experienced" Job Match Patterns for use in developing your own patterns. With this tool you will come up with a job match pattern that will provide a benchmark for prospective candidates.

Demo Pit. Get your prospective job seeker to demo his skills for you. Give him a short assignment. Assign a desktop in your office to him and ask him to execute a piece of code if you're looking for a software geek, ask him a to source a few profiles from a database site should you be looking for a recruiter, ask him to make a couple of live cold calls impromptu to judge his selling skills should you be looking for a business developer. The key is to get every interviewee into the demo pit so that they can showcase their skills while you take notice.

Double Trouble Check. Mistakes can lead to disasters. To avoid making a disaster of yourself, you need to look back at people you've hired in the past (who didn't work out for your organization for whatever reason) and ponder upon what common problems did you encounter? What traits or qualities are you SURE you NEVER want again?

Think Tank. Setup a Think Tank. Get a couple of your peers, seniors, juniors, cross functional staff to casually interact with your prospective employees. Always remember you're no Superman. At the risk of being terribly clichéd, I'd like to reinstate, you can't quite judge a book by it's cover. Involve people you trust to talk to your potential candidates.

Interview. Interview. Interview. How many interviews will you hold for each candidate? Some companies hold several interviews for the short list of three to five candidates. The first might be with HR and yourself. The second may be with the department manager and the third might be after you've done an assessment or two. Assessments will always pinpoint areas you may want to question or clarify with the candidate.

References Galore. Always ask for, and check references. A very small percentage of employers do this. Look over the list of desirable talents and skills you've identified as well as the ones you know you want to steer clear of. Develop a list of four to five specific questions you'll ask those references. If you don't get acceptable answers from the referees, it may be a clue that this applicant is not someone you want to hire.

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