8 Tips for Hiring the Right Person for the Job

Hiring the right person is a lengthy, arduous, time-consuming, mind-numbing, and some may say Herculean task. (Trust us. We know.) The numerous resumes, the multitude of interviews, it all builds up to take a significant chunk of time and manpower. The last thing you’d want after your heroic journey to slay the beast we call ‘recruitment’ is to have your candidate turn around and not be the person you were expecting them to be.

Whether it’s asking the right questions or seeing them interacting with other people, our guide to hiring the right person will reinvent your hiring process so you can work smarter and nail it on the first go. 

1. Know who your ideal candidate is

This seems obvious, right? You’re looking for an engineer with AWS experience, so your ideal candidate is an engineer with AWS experience. Check job description, cross-reference resume. Sorted. 

But it’s not that simple, or else you wouldn’t be here. Knowing who the right person is from the get go helps funnel the right people through, and wastes nobody’s time. Though some companies suggest making a candidate persona, that may narrow your vision so drastically that you’re missing someone special. Instead, ask yourself some questions and keep them in mind as you go through the hiring process.

Defining the job

  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities?
  • What are the skills required to complete the job upfront?
  • What are the unique qualities?
  • What are the skills required to grow and adapt within the role?

Considering the company culture and vision

  • What type of person do you believe would be a good fit within the existing team?
  • What personality traits and soft skills would be likely to help the business move forward?
  • What traits would help compliment the company values as a whole? 

Learning from your current team

  • Look at the three top performers on your team. What personality traits do they have in common? Do they have any key skills that stand out?
  • Speak to your team directly, and ask them to lay out what they do in their day, what skills they believe are important in completing their tasks, what motivates them, etc. 
  • Defining your goals as an interviewer not only helps you to have a clearer picture of the team culture you want to create or uphold, but it also allows you to skip past the questions everyone knows is coming and begin to understand your candidate more.

2. Leave the interview room

Have you ever been at a party and decided you weren’t drinking? You get yourself into a conversation, and as you’re talking you notice, quite clearly, the emptiness in your hands. What do you do with them now? Do they go in your pockets? Rest on the table? Do you pick absently at the wall just for something to do? 

Having a drink, alcoholic or not, creates a buffer during social interactions. It allows you to have something to focus on, something to do in the silence, something to create a pocket of time when you want to think. 

A lot of interviewers will offer their candidate a drink before the meeting starts, but our suggestion is to take it one step further. Instead of being stuck in an office, where the expectations are already so formal that your potential employee will be on the back foot, why don’t you take it on the road? 

Take them on a tour of the office, or take them out for lunch. Having an activity not only allows them to relax enough that you can get more of their personality out, but you can also see how they interact with the world around them. 

  • Are they curious about the offices and the people? 
  • Are they asking questions? 
  • Do they treat other people with kindness? 
  • Are they polite? 
  • How well do they keep the conversation going when in a less formal space?

You can learn a lot from a person when they’ve relaxed a little. Give it a try, you might be surprised. 

3. Give them a problem to solve

Whether or not they solve it, giving your candidate a problem does the same thing as getting them from behind the desk. It opens them up and allows you to see another facet of their personality. Sure, you could just ask them how they react when problems arise, but everyone worth their salt will have a pre-prepared answer that may not show you everything you need to know. 

Instead, consider a Whiteboard test. This is as simple as it sounds. An industry related problem, a time constraint, and a perfect opportunity to watch your candidate’s problem-solving process. It’s a common test in Silicon Valley and is used to measure an engineer’s capability for finding a solution. 

As an added bonus, when the mind is preoccupied with solving a problem, your interviewee will be less likely to uphold those strictly formal conventions they’ve entered the process with. 

4. Be creative

The standard interview questions are a dime a dozen on the internet. And the not-so-standard ones are five a penny. It’s okay to have some well-known questions. Afterall, it’s hard to get too far in without asking ‘could you tell me about yourself, and elaborate on the background I have here in your CV?’. 

But, due to their oversaturation, they do very little to get a candidate’s full personality through. Everyone has prepared points to discuss when asked those questions, so it’s time to think outside the box. Try some of these out for inspiration:

  • What line of code describes you best? Why?
  • What would you describe as the perfect job that doesn’t exist? 
  • If you were an excel function, which function would you be and why?
  • What’s one hobby you currently have that you hope to carry with you for the rest of your life?

Whatever your industry, a little creativity will not only uncover another layer of your candidate onion but it will show your candidate the life in the company. 

5. Ask them about their passions

In line with our previous points, we recommend placing emphasis on finding out who your candidate is outside of the workspace. Not only will it help you get to know them better, but it will also help loosen them up. 

So much about what we’ve talked about in this article has been about allowing your interviewee to feel more comfortable, to let them express who they are more easily. This point is clearly no exception. 

6. Evaluate their capacity for learning

Not every skill is made equal. Some are incredibly important and providing training would be time consuming and implausible. Other skills, though, they’re learnable. Maybe it’s your specific CRM, or a particular way of processing projects. It could be teamwork, or even communication. 

Whatever the skill, when hiring the right person, you need to make sure they have the capacity for learning, and whether that fits in with the way the team runs. So ask them how they learn, how they process information. 

7. Assign some homework

This one is undoubtedly going to be controversial. A lot of candidates already feel they have to jump through hoops to get the job, and adding homework may be enough to turn them off. We suggest using it for the more senior roles, when the quality of candidates is higher and hiring the right person is more difficult. 

Why would I assign homework? you ask. Well, we answer, because it allows you to see how they work without the added pressure of a time limit in a closed room. If you ask them to set their own deadlines, you can see how they handle time management. 

8. Get a second opinion

We all want to believe we’re infallible and perfect. It’s a facet of the human condition. But as much as we think we’re a great reader-of-people, sometimes we’re wrong. 

It’s not only that you might have misinterpreted a situation. It’s also that the candidate is there to impress you. They’re going to be careful what they say, put on enough of a mask that they seem like the perfect choice for the role. But it’s how they are around other people that’s going to show you the most well-rounded view.

Have at least one other person interview the candidate at one of the final stages, or let them have a candid chat just after your interview has finished. This could be a senior manager, but we recommend someone with hands-on experience within the team. The team are the ones who will spend the majority of their time with the potential candidate, and will know the most about the culture. 

You should also ask the front desk employee for their opinion. After all, treating them properly is the bare minimum for respect. If a candidate isn’t treating them properly, it’s easier to weed them out now. 

So what now?

Hopefully you've followed as many of the steps as possible, and found the perfect square peg for your square hole. 

But if you haven't, give us a call. We'd be happy to help. 

0161 504 0055 | hello@innova-rec.com