Videos

Hiring 101 Part 4 – Evaluating Candidates

In this video, Recruiting Daily Advisor Editor Stephen Bruce talks about evaluating candidates. After you have attracted applicants, often you have to select from hundreds—or even thousands of online applicants—those few to whom you will give more serious consideration in an interview or with some other evaluation method. Steve Bruce tells you what you need to know.


SB: This is Steve Bruce for the HR Daily Advisor.

This video is the fourth in our series Hiring 101. It’s about evaluating candidates.

After you have attracted applicants, you have to select—from what often is hundreds—or even thousands of online applicants—those few to whom you will give more serious consideration in an interview or with some other evaluation method.

And you need to find a quick way to do it.

Let’s assume you’ve reduced your number of applicants to a reasonable number, say 100 or 200 at the most. In winnowing this number down, you want to spend as little time as possible with the obvious rejects, and more time on serious candidates. Here’s how to work through the stack without taking too much time.

First, make a quick pass through the resumés, glancing at each one to put it into one of three piles. Don’t read them thoroughly, just glance. As soon as you see a knockout (doesn’t have the right experience, doesn’t possess the required credential, put the resume aside. (Note: If reviewing resumés on the screen, make notes, or use your software’s system for sorting them out.)

Either way, you want three groups:

  • Group A, Candidates who appear to meet all qualifications
  • Group B, candidates who are missing one important qualification
  • Group C, candidates who are clearly not qualified.

Next, take the “A” group and sort them into two groups—a “top candidates” pile for those who meet all criteria, and a “backup candidates” pile for those who have some possible weakness, or whose information isn’t complete.

Now look in more detail at the “top candidates” pile. For each top candidate, note areas in which you need additional information before committing to an interview.
After this in-depth review, you should have a small group of finalists. The others will be considered only if the first group doesn’t yield a hire.

Next, before investing time in an interview, qualify the candidates by phone, and, if appropriate, administer tests.

There’s nothing more ridiculous than having a candidate fly into town only to discover during the course of the interview that there is an obvious problem that could have been uncovered with a phone call.

When conducting telephone screens, respect privacy of candidates. Avoid mentioning the reason for your call until the candidate is on the phone. Determine whether you have picked a convenient time for the candidate to talk. If not, make arrangements to call back. Talk to the candidate to:

  • Clarify any questions about qualifications
  • Explore what the candidate is looking for
  • Find out about the candidate’s salary expectations
  • Insure that the candidate is genuinely interested in your position.
  • Should you interview first or test first?

It is so ingrained in most managers that the interview is the key step in the hiring process, that they tend to do it first, no matter what. However, for some positions, testing may actually be a better evaluation method. For example, if hiring writers or editors, give a writing test first. You won’t hire a bad writer who had a great interview, but you probably would hire a great writer who had a poor interview.

Employers use a variety of tests to evaluate applicants’ suitability for positions, for example, computer skills, working style, personality, or honesty tests. As the legality of testing is a technical issue, check with your HR department before administering tests to applicants.

When you do administer tests, be sure that they are administered to all finalists for the position. Additionally, be sure that they are related to the position and its duties.

And keep in mind that you may have to vary test requirements to accommodate applicants with disabilities.

Finally, to avoid violating anti-discrimination laws, when evaluating resumés and selecting which applicants to interview, stay job-focused—what are the requirements of the job, and how well can this candidate fulfill them?

Be sure to view the next several videos in our Hiring 101 series—about how to conduct meaningful, legal interviews.

For detailed guidance on hiring and all your HR challenges, we recommend HR.BLR.com. This is Steve Bruce for the HR Daily Advisor.