The traditional hiring process is far from perfect. It is difficult to obtain everything you need to know about a potential hire just from a CV. Even the interview process can be flawed in some cases.

As more people are turning to the gig economy and making their own income, it will be important to modify the traditional hiring process as the job market develops. With the rise of AI and progression of communication technology, emphasis will be placed on different skills such as creativity and the ability to understand other cultures and languages.

What really makes a strong candidate?

Obviously, this depends on each role. There is no blanket answer. However, according to Krista Brubaker, there are five key goals to meet during the hiring process.

  • Quite simply, it is crucial that the selected candidate has the competencies and skills required to complete the role they will be assigned to. It can be tricky to test this during the hiring process - many organisations set up test centres where candidates complete tests that challenge the core competencies needed for their potential new job.

  • You need to be sure that the candidate has values which are aligned with those of your organisation, and will fit in with their new colleagues. Interviewing a candidate several times should give you a good feeling as to some of their personality traits.

  • Ensure that the candidate has passion for this job, and will not just turn up for the paycheck. Anyone who cares about what they are doing will be more likely to stay at the organisation and contribute valuable work for plenty of time to come.

  • This is something that can be tricky to nail down, but selecting candidates with lots of potential to grow and improve their skills is great for any organisation. Someone who is highly motivated to improve their own performance level will be an inspiration to those around them.

  • Your new candidate needs to be able to improve all the metrics central to the success of your organisation. Increasing output and quality and decreasing absenteeism are some of the most common things to look out for.

What techniques can we employ for an effective hiring process?

It’s all well and good identifying the qualities of a strong candidate, but it is a different matter to actually execute a hiring process to single out these candidates. What can we consider doing in order to find the right person for the job?

  • A very common mistake for hiring managers to make is to be too focused on finding weaknesses in their candidates. The whole interview and testing process becomes a minefield for candidates to try and avoid showing a weakness. They are aware of how competitive the position is, and may freeze up instead of showcasing their talents. It is the responsibility of the interviewers to emphasise the fact that they are looking out for strengths, instead of waiting to pounce on any weakness they find.

  • Ensure that every hiring process is a fair one, and avoid establishing favourite candidates too early in the process. If this is done, the whole process will be spent looking for reasons to hire the preferred candidate, or eliminate the others.
    Tunnel vision, even with good intentions, never results in the best hire.

  • We need to negotiate the ever-growing skills gap. A survey of UK-based tech leaders found that 43% were very concerned about a skills shortage in their organisation. The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry also reports that 60% of London-based companies are struggling to hire people with the talent they need to drive the organisation forward. To get around this issue during the hiring process, it can help to outline all qualities required for the job in great detail. Not only does this deter candidates without the skillset needed, but it provides a hiring manager with plenty of material with which to screen candidates.

  • Avoid acting too quickly on first impressions. Psychology has shown time and again that people make so many decisions and assumptions about people based on the first few seconds of time they spend together. Whether this be the clothes they are wearing or their choice of greeting, give each candidate a fair amount of time to show their skills before making any decisions about them.

  • According to Ben Dattner, 10-15% more companies are using personality tests and similar psychometric tests each year. These can be a great tool because they provide detailed and accurate descriptions of a candidate’s personality traits and intelligence level, for example. From this, a hiring manager can make a decision informed by science about whether or not a candidate’s temperament fits in with the company. However, as with any scientific experiment, it is important to remain ethically compliant. Ben also writes about how to conduct psychometric tests ethically.

Another great thing about psychometric tests or skill-based tests is that there is a huge variety in what they can test for. The attributes required for any kind of job will change over time, and it is a positive thing that hiring managers will be able to pick and choose the kind of tests they run in future.

There is a lot on a hiring manager’s plate when conducting interviews, so, as well as the candidate, there is also pressure on them to perform well. Organisations can suffer financially as a result of a bad hire, and it will always be important to make well-researched and well-considered choices.


Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash.