The secret to the perfect new hire

Recruitment HQ, the company I help found and build over 3 years ago, has helped our employer clients screen over 100,000 candidates in the last year alone.  Our positioning and volume gives us a lot of insight into the needs and challenges facing employers and candidates.  Based on all our experience here are our rules for hiring the perfect employee.

Know who the perfect candidate is

The only way you can find the right new hire is to clearly define the role.  Every position in your company should have a full job description.  This document should include:

  • Overall goal of the position
  • Tasks ranked based on importance and frequency
  • Quotas or expected output
  • Base needed skills, both hard (technical) and soft (interpersonal)
  • Training available and needed certifications
  • Income range based on historical averages and inflation

The job description becomes the guide for writing the job ad, assessing the candidates, and selling the position to the perfect hire.

Allow your candidates to talk

The quality of the information you receive during the in-person interview will completely control your ability to select the right candidate.  If your goal is to get info from the candidate it means they need to speak more than you do, and in the most comfortable and candid way possible.

Job seekers coming in for an interview have a high level of anxiety.  The stress and distraction can hamper open conversation and prevent you from finding out what you need to know to make an educated decision.  Conduct your interview in a quiet location, and keep it one on one.  Having a group of managers interviewing is intimidating, and constricts conversation.

Genuinely thank the candidate for taking time to meet, and let them know you appreciate that there are a lot of places to work and are thankful that they are giving your company the opportunity.  Giving the candidate a feeling of being on equal footing, you each chose to consider the other, will help open up back and forth dialog.

Now keep quiet as much as possible.  Use your talking to guide conversation, encouraging the candidate to open up and moving them along the points in your job description.  Take notes with pen and paper, writing prompts people to talk and shows you care about what they are saying.

Understand why the candidate is here

Understanding the frame of mind of the candidate can just as important as their raw skills.  What do they think of their prior employer and job?  Are they running from a bad situation or trying to move towards improvement?

Many people change jobs thinking a change in environment will change their success.  If the prior job fell apart due to the attitude and work ethic of the candidate they will be bringing that over to your company.  Soon enough you will be the prior employer they are complaining about.

Look for positive cues about growth.  Improvement in their work, training received, and solid co-worker relationships with prior management.

Have a set evaluation score

Standardized scoring removes tunnel vision, and bias.  Using a set system allows multiple people to interview a candidate and aggregate results.  Commit to having every candidate scored by three different people, comparing interviewees objectively by their scoring prior to discussing intangibles.

We use a three score system grading Ability, Willingness, and Motivation.  You can read more about how we use each category to score here:  Candidate Scoring

Hire to the highest bar

Hopefully with all your processes in place you have multiple high quality candidates to choose from.  Sometimes you will not.  Resist the temptation to select the best of the worst.  Hold to high standards, and know that the right hiring process will find the right new hire.  A poor hire costs thousands in lost production, turn-over, and lower morale.  Leave your position unfilled until the right person is available.


Gregory Gershman
Employer Brand Ambassador at Recruitment HQ
Working with employers to help connect them with the best people in their market. Thousands of interviews and consulting sessions performed, that have given me valuable insight into how to attract, hire, and keep the best talent.

Find me on Twitter @hggershman

Specialties: Automotive recruiting, training, management consulting

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