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10/25/2010

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How to Make the Right Hire

Alister & Paine - the digital magazine for 21st century executives


Published: October 25, 2010

Finding your ideal candidate from within an abundant applicant pool

by Bill Peppler, Managing Partner of Kavaliro, a top staffing agency. Bill came on board to help with sales and operations in the Southeast Region after working for several years in Seattle, Orlando and San Diego recruiting and staffing technology and financial consultants for companies such as Microsoft, Amazon.com and Boeing.

In today’s economy, where double digit unemployment rates are an unfortunate reality, competition for employment openings is as fierce as it has been in decades. In fact, position listings are likely to yield twice the amount of applicants that they would have just a few years ago, often times even more. While there is a positive aspect to having a greater number of candidates, it can be difficult and time consuming to wade through them all in order to find the diamonds in the rough.

It is important to remember that having more candidates from which to choose does not necessarily mean having more qualified candidates, as unemployed individuals often find themselves reaching for positions that are not ideal for their respective skill sets or career ambitions. We recently had a client who listed a Technical Help Desk position opening and had hundreds of Senior Technical Managers and IT Directors applying. In light of these circumstances, it is important to employ a detailed plan that creates, in effect, a qualifying segmentation process that will help to pare down candidates from a large applicant pool.

The first step in the process should be to thoroughly analyze and then put into writing not only the needs of this position, but of the company and department as a whole. Every position in your company should be contributing to the bottom line. Focus not only where this new candidate will start, but also, where they will end up. A logical next step is to translate this analysis into the ideal written job description. The focus should be on writing the description as a pitch to those who you imagine would be ideal for the position, while discouraging those who are less likely to be a good fit.

Due to the likely size of the applicant pool, the need to utilize or create resources that will enable your company to quickly and efficiently sort through volumes of resumes has become crucial to the hiring process. It is important to remember, however, that saving time and money today by speeding through the process could result in a long-term loss on the bottom line if your company makes the incorrect hiring choice. The answer to finding and hiring the perfect candidate lies in striking a balance between technology-aided pre-screening and a carefully designed, multi-tiered interview process.

Although technology can help us in learning of an applicants core technical abilities, it cannot teach us of a persons patience, determination, and ability to work as a team player. For this reason, it is important to maintain a human element comprised of a series of interviews and creative questioning. Remember that you’re hiring for the future. While a new employee has to make economic sense for today’s tasks, the best hires are for positions that you envision serving as a boon for your business as it moves into tomorrow and beyond. Be clear about your strategic direction for the future, and then hire the talent to help you achieve it.

Always remember to make sure to combine the forces of technology and multi-tiered interviews, with a focus on hiring for the long-term and you can’t go wrong.

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