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Quick Hiring Tips

Quick Hiring Tips


HR Avatar's Quick Hiring Tips were created for busy managers who need a team they can rely on. Each tip provides a fast, concise reminder of critical practices that can prevent an expensive and painful hiring mistake, while increasing the chances of hiring a dream team member.

A new Tip will be released every few weeks. Each is designed to provide a valuable reminder or suggestion that can be read in less than 30 seconds.

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HR Avatar Quick Hiring Tip #9 - Hold Out for Lucky Seven

lucky 7 dice rollIn Craps, a seven pays on the first roll.

Winning on your first throw in Craps is certainly a pretty lucky throw. It doesn't happen that often. It's the equivalent of hiring the first person who applies for a job without considering any other candidates and getting a great performer. It may happen once in a while, but most of the time it won't work out very well.

But that doesn't mean 7 isn't your lucky number.

This is the 'Patience' tip. You can place the odds solidly in your favor by holding out until you have reviewed at least 7 well-qualified candidates for each job before you make a decision. Every candidate will teach you something about what you are looking for simply by their contrast with the other candidates. If you can withhold your judgment until all evaluations are completed, you will almost certainly make a more objective choice. We know it takes discipline, but if you can wait until you have a 'real' pool of solid candidates to choose from, your chances of selecting a weak candidate go down drastically.

HR Avatar Quick Hiring Tip #8 - Engage Quickly

engage quicklyWell qualified candidates typically apply to multiple employers at the same time. If you are lucky enough to receive their application, you are instantly in a competition with the others. But it's not about being the first to make an offer. It's about capturing their imagination about working for your organization. That means making a strong first impression, which means being responsive and transparent.

Don't worry about absolute speed to the finish line. Candidates will endure your process if you make a good first impression and explain what they can expect. Just make sure you reach out to them with that useful information quickly. Tell them what the basic steps are and about how long it will be until the next one. Let them know you're looking forward to getting to know them better. Most candidates don't mind if you're picky, as long as they know what's coming.

HR Avatar Quick Hiring Tip #7 - Evaluate from Different Angles

evaluate job applicants from different anglesWhen most people purchase a car they walk around it, they look at it from a distance from front, side, and back, they may look under the hood, and they almost always sit inside. Usually, they also take it for a test drive.

Everything looks different when you see it from a new perspective. The same applies to applicants. While one candidate may present well visually in an interview, he or she may have past performance history that raises a red flag, or test scores that reveal a different issue. You will only learn these things if your evaluation plan covers these different angles. And not knowing can be costly - in time, frustration and money. To maximize your odds, be sure to evaluate candidates multiple times - from different angles.

HR Avatar Quick Hiring Tip #6 - Pre-Think Your Process

choice of candidatesA large pool of qualified candidates increases your chances of finding a star. Once you have that pool, however, you need to have an effective strategy for sifting out the best candidates. At the same time, candidates are impatient - especially these days. They don't want to wait if you cannot tell them what comes next. This means you need to plan your process for evaluating the applicants in your pool BEFORE you start looking for candidates, so you set their expectations appropriately.

Most evaluation processes involve one or more of the following steps:

  • Screening Interview (recorded video or live video or phone call)
  • Assessments
  • Automated Reference Checks
  • Initial Interview
  • Team Interview (2 or more evaluators)
  • Work Sample Task(s)

When selecting steps you wish to use, keep in mind that you need to balance the burden on the candidate with the need for information. The process can also vary for different jobs. The higher-level the job, the more hoops applicants will be willing to jump through.

To retain your candidates, it always helps to share your process with them as early as possible. If they know what to expect they will be much more likely remain active and not drop out. Having a pre-defined process lets you keep them informed and feeling up-to-date.

HR Avatar Quick Hiring Tip #5 - Post to Multiple Sources

choice of candidatesPosting a job opening to job websites one at a time is tedious. It's no fun at all. But you must tap into multiple sources in order to realize that magic volume of applicants needed to ensure you've got at least one strong candidate. Luckily, there are numerous services available that will post your opening to any number of job websites in one shot. For example, JazzHR will post your job to over 100 sites with just one click. Many applicant tracking systems, such as ZipRecruiter, Greenhouse, and Workable offer the same kind of service.

As we've repeatedly emphasized, it's important to maximize your applicant pool to ensure you'll find the best possible candidate to fill each opening. the idea is to cast a wide net - even if you are small. If you are not already using one of these tools, they may be worth considering.

HR Avatar Quick Hiring Tip #4 - Mine Employee Referrals

employee referralsThe Internet provides a great means of reaching lots of job candidates. However, Employee Referrals still rule as the most effective source of qualified applicants. According to a recent LinkedIn article1, 82% of employers rate employee referrals above all other sources based on return on investment. Candidates referred by employees are four times more likely to be hired, and 45% of all employees sourced by referrals stay for 4 or more years. These are incredible statistics. The best programs communicate needs and offer tangible rewards for successful referrals. The average employee referral bonus in 2019 was $2,500. Need we say more?

1Employee Referral Statistics You Need to Know

HR Avatar Quick Hiring Tip #3 - Cast a Wide Net

cast a wide netLet's say you need a new pair of shoes but you don't know exactly what you want. Would you be tempted to shop at a store with a wide selection or one with a narrow selection?

Generally speaking, the broader the selection, the more options you'll consider, and the more likely it is that you'll find what you're looking for.

New hires cost a lot more than shoes, but the same principle applies. The more candidates you consider for a particular job, the more likely at least one candidate will be outstanding.

Don't make the mistake of hiring the first person available. Sure, they may be the best applicant. But you cannot possibly know that unless you have other candidates to compare them to.

Ensure you have enough qualified candidates by casting a wide net. Post your job to various job websites, seek employee referrals, use other means. Be sure you get at least 6-8 candidates for each position and don't decide anything until you've evaluated all of them. That way, your new shoes won't just gather dust in the closet.

HR Avatar Quick Hiring Tip #2 - Use a Searchable & Notable Job Title

searchable job titlesA job title must do two things. First, it must be searchable, which means it must include standard terms for the job. For example, a Bank Teller job should include "Teller" and a "Customer Service Representative" should include "Customer Service." One way to see what candidates search for is to visit a popular job website, pretend to be a candidate, and use the type-ahead feature in the search box. Look for what phrases come up at the top.

However, being found is not enough. You need to attract the attention of highly qualified candidates. This means including words of interest to candidates. If you are a start-up, try something like "Customer Service Rep - Startup Edition." If you offer upward mobility, highlight that with something like "Bank Teller with Upward Mobility." Find something that sets you apart and is of interest to candidates. Don't be too creative - it's a balance - but try to inject that one extra thing that gets their attention.

Searchable + Engaging = More Qualified Candidates

HR Avatar Quick Hiring Tip #1 - Nail Down Your Needs

nail down your needsIf you need to hammer a nail, a screwdriver will not help you (usually). The same goes for people. If you need a mechanic, a hairdresser probably won't do.

To be sure you get what you need, document what each new hire will do in a written job description. List the activities, as well as desired experience levels, educational requirements, and skills and knowledge.

Except for extremely lucky situations, your new hire will only be as good as the job description you start with. So make sure you nail down your needs before you start seeking candidates. You might just avoid hiring a screwdriver.


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