Take the Guesswork Out of the Hiring Process in 3 Steps

What’s one of the worst parts of hiring? It’s that inescapable feeling that gnaws at you through the entire hiring process, and even after you make your final choice:

What if we hired the wrong person?

doubt-during-interviewIt often feels like you never know how to identify the best candidate. There’s a sense of uncertainty and second-guessing. And then, if the person shows signs of not being a good fit after a few weeks (or days) on the job, you’re kicking yourself because, “How did I not see this?”

With hiring, we’re dealing with people. So, is there a way to take the guesswork out of the hiring process? Is there a way to hire with confidence?

There is, and it begins with pre-hiring assessments for soft skills as well as hard skills that the job requires. Once you’ve conducted your assessments and have what you believe to be a good list of candidates, follow these three steps, and you will be able to hire with great confidence.


3 Steps to Hiring With Confidence

1. Narrow Your Search to Top 2 or 3

With your pre-assessment data, your initial interviews, the resumes of your upper tier candidates, and other information you may have gathered, narrow down your list to the top 2 or 3.

This generally isn’t difficult if you have a functional process working for you on the front end. Ruling out candidates in favor of other ones is often a process of elimination. That terrible uncertainty we talked about at the start doesn’t usually show up until the final round. So let’s get to the final round before worrying about it.

If you lack confidence in the earlier rounds of your hiring process, it might be wise to use a professional hiring consultant so you can be sure your final list of candidates is a strong one. To be clear – a hiring consultant differs from a traditional recruiter. We’re not talking about plugging resumes into an automated tool that filters by keywords and college degrees.

The narrowing process should be a highly specialized one that incorporates a sophisticated pre-assessment process as well as other measures that assure you your final list of 2 or 3 candidates will be the strongest it can possibly be.


2. Conduct Comprehensive Reference Checks

With your top 2 or 3 choices in hand, now it’s time to see who they really are. You’ve got to get past the “interview show.” You need to get a look at them without any makeup on, behind the stage when they think no one’s watching.

A comprehensive reference check looks something like this:

First, only talk to professional references. Do not call family members, college professors (unless the candidate did actual research – real work – alongside them), or best friends.

Ideally, you want at least two previous supervisors, preferably the owners of the business. Now, if your candidate graduated from college relatively recently, these sorts of references will be a little tougher to come by, but if you’re hiring for top leadership or management positions, or key in-house admin spots, you probably aren’t hiring a fresh grad.

Here’s an insider tip: The best kind of reference is one the candidate didn’t give you. Look down the experience list on their resume and find a company they didn’t list in their references. See if you can reach someone from that company in addition to the references they gave you.

Yes, this process takes some time and involves some digging. But remember – you only have to do it for a couple people, three at most.

What do you ask these references when you call them?

You want to know about things like performance, work ethic, personality, how well they worked with others, their reliability – all things that never show up on a resume, and are easily overlooked or misconstrued in interviews.

As part of our hiring consultation process, PainLess Hire includes reference checks, which saves you the time and trouble of having to do this step.


3. Invite Them to a Full or Half Day Job Shadow

This is the most critical step of all. Reference checks give you strong and invaluable insights. But you’re also depending on people who might be really busy at the time, and who knew the candidate in a different context than yours. Chemistry matters. Just throwing together a bunch of superstars doesn’t always mean you’ll win the championship.

So invite these final candidates to spend a full or half day job shadowing you or the other key employees they’ll be working with.

Now, their true personality will be revealed and known to all. If you want someone who asks a lot of questions, you’ll find out who is more inquisitive and curious in a job shadow. If you need your team to gel relationally, your current employees will be able to report on how that goes.

Fitting into your culture matters more than degrees, skills, or even past accomplishments. The job shadow will reveal who best fits your company culture, in addition to verifying that this person actually knows what they’re talking about.


What Next? How Do I Choose the Final Candidate?

Most of the time, after doing these three steps, the right choice will be obvious. For instance, if one of your three finalists refuses to even do a job shadow, your choice is pretty easy. But in any case, cultural fit, personality, and the intangible skills and qualities you value most should be evident by this point.

If you find yourself in the rare position of believing two or more candidates seem like tremendous and incredible people who would be perfect for the job position, you can do one of two things:

1) Just pick one, because you’ll be hiring with confidence either way. Go with the one who lives closer, because they’re less likely to get burnt out from a long commute. In other words, go with the one you’re more likely to retain for longer.

2) Take some time to examine your company. Maybe you actually can hire both. There might be another position you could create that would serve unmet needs in your business. Maybe someone else on your team is overworked, and you can get the other person in the door to work with them.

If you believe they’re that good, this isn’t a bad option, because their talent will likely pay dividends in the long run, and eventually you can promote them when someone else leaves and get the full value of their abilities.


What if you don’t like ANY of the final candidates after the job shadow?

That means one of two things:

1) Your initial crop of candidates was no good and you need a better ‘job marketing’ process.

2) The first part of your hiring process isn’t working well. In other words, you weeded out the best candidates when you narrowed it down in Step 1.

In either case, fixing these problems will require much more exploration. These are the areas where PainLess Hire specializes. We WILL send you a final list of strong candidates so you can use this 3-step process to hire the right person with confidence.

We’re so confident in our process that we guarantee your happiness with the person you hire. Ask about our guarantee when you talk to our hiring consultants.


Struggling with Step 1 and Narrowing It Down to the Final 3?

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