Hiring a new employee can be a stressful endeavor—and for good reason. You’ve got a lot at stake in the hiring process.
A good hire will boost the efficiency and success of your business, and will contribute to a positive company work environment. A bad hire may reduce your company’s efficiency, potentially damage your company’s reputation, and be a negative distraction in the workplace.
There’s more to assessing a job candidate than checking off the minimum “qualifications” boxes. So, before you write up an offer letter, take these factors into consideration so you’ll be fully confident that you’re making the right employment decision.
Check out this guide if you’re just beginning the recruitment process. But if you’ve already received plenty of job applications, read on:
No Alarming Information in Background Check
A background check is an important way to discern whether or not a job candidate has a criminal record, and if the personal information they’ve provided you is accurate and/or valid.
Obviously, someone with an extensive criminal history—especially if he or she has been arrested for violent crimes or theft—poses a security or financial risk to your employees and your business. Most likely, you’ll be able to find other exceptionally well-qualified employees that don’t have a history of violence or police interactions. You shouldn’t risk the safety of your employees just so you can hire a candidate with superb business credentials.
Background checks may also reveal whether or not a candidate has been truthful about his or her employment status, personal history, and work eligibility.
Conducting a background check can be a chore, but you’re obligated to do so for the safety of your employees and the well-being of your business. Read this guide on how to do a criminal background check if you’ve never done it before.
Your job candidate should exude a professional image from resume to interview. The way in which a candidate presents him or herself can be one of the clearest indicators of whether or not they’d be a good fit at your company.
It starts with the resume. Quite often, you can tell whether or not a candidate put thorough effort into crafting it. It doesn’t need to look flashy, but it should demonstrate that the candidate made a careful effort to present skills, knowledge, and work history in a positive light. A resume should:
- Be well-organized
- List information from most relevant to least relevant
- Omit needless details
- Have consistent formatting
- Appear tailored to appeal to job description
A clean, coherent, and relevant resume indicates that the job candidate is serious about making a positive impression, which in turn implies that the candidate has serious interest in obtaining the job. Inclusion of a cover letter is another good indicator that the candidate is willing to go the extra mile to create a positive impression.
Similarly, a job candidate should come well-dressed to an interview, no matter what the seniority of the position. This indicates both professionalism and that the candidate is interested in making a good impression.
Demonstrates Some Knowledge About Your Business
When you interview your job candidate, you’ll want to see that he or she has researched your company and has an understanding of your company’s product and market.
It’s a good sign if a job candidate knows a thing or two about your business—like key players, clients, and company history. This shows that the candidate is interested in your staff, your product, and being part of your company’s success. An employee who truly cares about helping the business and who likes the work environment is likely to be more productive.
On the other hand, if it’s clear that the job candidate has done no research on your company (for example, they state in the interview that they don’t know what the company does), it might be a sign that this job candidate only wants a paying job. These candidates are more likely to adopt the “hourly mentality”; that is, they’re more likely to work at minimum effort, and will lose interest in the job much faster than candidates who are genuinely interested in the operations of the business.
It’s not always necessary for a job candidate to demonstrate knowledge of your company’s market and industry, but it’s certainly a plus. Industry know-how may be a sign that the candidate has the right qualifications and experience to perform job tasks. But, again, this might be only necessary for senior positions.
Expresses Interest in Your Work Environment
An interview is a good time to gauge whether or not a job candidate has chemistry with you and your other employees, as that might indicate that they’d be a good fit in your company culture. However, just because someone is friendly and sociable does not necessarily mean that he or she will be a good worker.
It’s more important that a job candidate shows interest in the work environment itself—not only in socializing. A candidate should be concerned about whether or not the workplace:
- Provides an atmosphere where the employee can accomplish his or her tasks
- Makes the candidate feel safe and supported
- Is communicative
These concerns show that the candidate cares about the actual work that must be performed, and that he or she seeks an environment that fosters both completion of this work and employee happiness.
Honesty About Strengths and Weaknesses
Nothing can tell you more about a candidate than the famous “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” question. It’s cliché, but still a great question.
You want a job candidate that’s confident enough to proclaim their strengths; this quality shows that he or she won’t back down from a difficult task.
But you also want a candidate that’s humble enough to admit their flaws. That’s an indicator that a candidate is teachable and willing to learn and grow.
Sometimes a job candidate may have an equal amount of strengths and risks. When you’re teetering between “hiring” and “not hiring”, it’s sometimes best to go with your gut instinct. Your gut instinct rarely proves you wrong.
As a business owner or manager, you likely use your gut instinct to make a variety of decisions every week; it’s a large and reliable part of your toolbox. Don’t forget to use it when you’re making decisions as consequential as hiring.