Regardless of whether your company is large or small, hiring the perfect fit for a position can be challenging but it can put your business on the path for success. Selection is the process of choosing individuals who have the relevant qualifications to fill existing or projected job openings. In this article we will look at the steps in the selection process that lead to a successful hire, some of them include Initial Screening, Employment Interviews, Pre-employment Tests, Post-Interview Screening, and Reaching a Decision.
Initial Screening of a candidate goes far beyond the traditional cover letter and resume, employers use many different pieces to determine whether an applicant will be successful on the job. Cover letters and resumes can be primarily reviewed to eliminate applicants that do not have the skills, abilities, or minimum requirements for the position, however, these documents should be subjected to closer inspection. Is the applicant “spamming” companies with a generic applicant package? Did the cover letter display professionalism on behalf on the applicant? These are some of the details to be aware of when you are initially screening your applicants. Additionally, it is important to think about the role of the vacant position. Does the successful hire require decent writing skills? This may be the case for a hotels front desk agent, who would regularly have to communicate with guests and clients via email, but it may not be the case for a tour guide who would rely on their public speaking and interpersonal skills.
Another effective way to screen potential employees is to check their social media profiles on the internet or conduct a short phone-interview. A Facebook or LinkedIn account can tell you an abundance of information about the candidate, it is a way to see if the applicant has a professional online presence. We are very fortunate on P.E.I. to have the ability to do this, as it is not always as accurate in larger populations. Potential employees will also do their research, websites like Glassdoor and Rate My Employer provide a picture of what it is like to work for a company usually from former employees. Phone interviews or Zoom interviews can assess whether the candidate qualifies for an employment interview, but avoid screening based off looks and speaking ability as you may be missing out on qualified talent.
The employment interview often carries the most weight in the selection process, these can be scheduled after you have screened the qualified candidates and have selected a few for a face-to-face meeting. Before meeting for the interview, it is important to know exactly what you are looking for in the new hire so that you are asking the right questions during the interview. Interviewer training has been shown to dramatically improve the competence of interviewers. Practice interviews can be conducted on a consistent basis if employment interviews are not being performed regularly. Interview questions usually fall within the four different types of questions that can be asked, a healthy mix of all four types of questions is usually the standard for an employment interview. They are:
- Non-Directive Questions – Open ended questions that permit the applicant to talk freely about their experiences. Example – “Tell me more about your experience on your last job?”
- Situational Questions – Applicant is given a hypothetical situation and asked how they would respond to it. Example – “You receive a call at 10:00pm asking if you can come into work to solve a problem, how do you respond?”
- Behavioral Descriptive Questions – These questions focus on actual work incidents in the interviewee’s past. Example – “Tell me about a time that you handled a customer complaint, how did you resolve the conflict?”
- Closed-Ended Questions – This type of question calls for simple, informational answers and works well if you are setting the stage for a more complex question. Example – “Do you have much experience with social media?”
Establish an interview plan and determine the specific questions to be covered, also review the job requirements, and look over all the applicant information. You should schedule your first interview to take a little bit longer than the ones following it to allow for adjustments to be made. Listen actively and pay attention to non-verbal cues with the candidate, small movements and facial expressions often provide insight to the persons attitude and feelings. It is also important to recognize biases and stereotypes, especially here in P.E.I. A good portion of us can say we got a position simply by knowing somebody, and that leaves the organization potentially missing out on valuable talent. Evaluate candidates based on the characteristic of the job and not, for example, the fact they went to the same school you did. Lastly, standardize the questions asked, this increases the reliability of the interview and avoids discrimination.
You have now interviewed all the potential candidates and it is almost time to make a decision, now is the best time to check the references that were given to you in the application package. The most reliable information usually comes from a supervisor or manager that has directly overseen the candidates work habits and performance. A great question to ask former managers and supervisors would be “If given the opportunity, would you re-hire this employee?” Verification of information such as job titles, duties, and pay levels from the former employee’s HR office is also very helpful.
When checking the references of the candidates is complete, you should have an idea of which applicant best fits the position. Selecting and hiring top candidates is the key to the long-term success of any organization, having a strong selection process helps to build a competitive advantage for the organization. A strong selection process is an effective contribution that HR provides to the business world.