You’ve done everything right so far in your organization’s ongoing search for a new top line recruit. You’ve created an ideal candidate profile, so you know exactly what you want, and you’ve leveraged your network to spread the word. Great news: All your hard work has paid off. You’ve managed to find not just one, but several good potential candidates for the position. As you review your options, you see there’s one candidate you’re particularly excited about, and now it’s time to start taking a good, hard look at them.
It’s time to start your vetting process to make sure this is the right person for the job.
Here’s the steps you should be taking to make sure you come out of this process with the best candidate:
- Ask yourself: “Does the candidate meet my criteria?” Compare your ideal candidate profile to make sure this person is truly a fit for the position.
- Review their resume. Prepare for first contact by learning everything you can about them. Their resume is your starting point; familiarize yourself with all the basic information, including their work experience, education, and any organizations they belong to.
- Explore their social media. Social media has a way of revealing a lot about a person. Take a moment to scroll through the candidate’s social media posts to see what they’re up to—their interests and passions outside of work. These posts provide a holistic view of this candidate.
- Do a deep dive on their LinkedIn profile. To gain insight into this candidate as a professional, it’s very important to check out their LinkedIn profile. Have they demonstrated expertise or made accomplishments that put them ahead of their peers? Are they actively writing posts? If they’re an engineer, are their posts on technical topics? Do they have a lot of connections? The number of connections a person has is an indication of their position within the industry. If they’re a salesperson, the number of connections they have might be a clue as to their effectiveness in sales.
- Prepare for the initial call. Now that you have a pretty good understanding of who you’ll be talking to, it’s time to prepare for the call. Compile a list of questions you want to ask—but remember, at this point in the process, you want to keep the tone casual. Encourage the candidate to relax by making the tone friendly, even folksy. If you can make this a Zoom call rather than a phone call, that would be even better. You want to get them relaxed and at ease enough to talk about themselves. Ask questions like:
- If you could have any job in the world what would that be?
- What would you be doing if you did not have to work?
- What do you like to do when not working?
Once you have established an easy, comfortable rapport, you can get into the details about the position you’re hiring for. Be very candid about what you want. Talk about your company and be open about your expectations. Be specific about the job responsibilities. At this stage, I would even suggest discussing the compensation package. It is very important that you lay it all out on the table from the very beginning. Don’t be afraid you might mention something that could turn the candidate off; it is better to do that now rather than later—you don’t want to spent a lot of time and money on a lost cause. The purpose of this first call is both to make sure that the person fits your ideal candidate profile and to get a feel for whether they are the right person for the job.
6. Plan the company visit and formal interview. After you’ve completed all your pre-vetting and screening, it’s time to bring the candidate into the company for the more formal interview process. This will consist of:
- A company tour
- Introductions to key people within the company
- Providing insight into the company’s history and your plans for future growth
- Reviewing how the candidate would fit into the organization
- A series of half-hour interviews with his potential peers
- Dinner with the candidate at the end of the day: It is important that you take the candidate to dinner to spend time with him in a more relaxed atmosphere. A lot can be learned during this time.
- Encouraging the candidate (if you feel they are a good fit) and providing a timeline about when you will reach out. Be encouraging; say something like, “Things look pretty good—we’ll get back at you in a few days.” Remember: Do not hire the person on the spot. You want to hire slowly and get feedback from the rest of your team before deciding. And, of course, check the person’s references.
It’s very important that all your first reports get the opportunity to spend time with the candidate; you want them to have a stake in the hiring process. Ideally, you should plan out the interview process by assigning each of the interviewers a different aspect to cover. For example, one person can discuss the candidate’s employment history overall; another can talk about the candidate’s outside activities, like what they enjoy doing when not at work. Another interviewer can discuss the candidate’s personal career goals, while another can ask the candidate about challenges she’s faced and how she handled them.
The team should then come together to share what they’ve learned. You want to make sure everyone weighs in on the decision about whether to hire the candidate. This should be a good and open discussion, with everyone taking part. After listening to what the team has to say and reviewing your own notes and impressions, you can come to your own decision.
If that decision is to hire the person, then it’s time to put the offer letter together. More on that next time.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.