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The Hiring Process: Evaluating Job Candidates

Hiring processNow that you’ve interviewed your job candidates, here comes the hard part in the hiring process: evaluating them.

You’ve put a face to each resume. Now, it’s time to put aside your feelings and rate each person based on their fit for the job. It’s not an easy task. You may not want to overlook a qualified candidate just because he was incredibly nervous in the interview, or give too much credence to a charming candidate who doesn’t have enough experience. Here are a few guidelines to help you evaluate your candidates.

If you haven’t done so already, get organized. If you don’t use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) in your hiring process, it’s a good idea to keep track of your hiring tasks by making a checklist for each candidate. You may also want to create a master spreadsheet to compare each candidate side by side, based on how you’ve scored them. If you use an ATS application, you should be able to compare and evaluate your candidates within the system.

Evaluate candidate interviews. If you asked the same questions of each candidate, assign a number score for each answer to assess each candidate fairly. Or, devise a scoring system based on attributes such as work experience, skills, leadership abilities, motivation for the job, as well as specific requirements such as customer service experience.

Stick to the facts in your hiring process. Whatever evaluation method you choose, stay methodical and measure the candidates according to the requirements for the job. Rely on evidence, not the candidate’s personality, your intuition, or gut feelings (all which can betray in the end!) Revisit the candidate resumes as the need arises.

Decide what your next step will be. It could be:

  • A second interview with a different interviewer or a group of interviewers.
  • An assessment tool to give you a clearer picture of a candidate’s job-related qualities, skills, leadership abilities, and potential for success.
  • A mini-project related to the type of work the candidate may do for your company if hired.
  • A background check. (For more information, read our articles “Are Background Checks Really Necessary?” and “The Rules of Conducting Background Checks”.)
  • A second look at your B-list candidates. You may decide that none of the A-list candidates that you interviewed are qualified for the job. At that point, it’s time to widen the pool, or start over completely by placing another ad, reevaluating the requirements for your hiring process.

Make contact.
Let’s assume that you did find candidates of interest through your interview process, and you’ve decided who is moving to the next phase of your hiring process. You should now contact all candidates who interviewed for the position to notify them of their status. Although you may not look forward to writing “no thank you” letters, it’s an important courtesy. It helps candidates know where they stand with your company and with their overall job search.

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