Interviewing 101: How to Choose the Right Candidate to Interview

How to Hire the Right Person

Interviewing is a crucial step in the hiring process. In this series, you'll learn how to stage a great interview. First up, advice on choosing the right candidate to interview.

Hiring an employee may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. With the right preparations, an imposing stack of resumes can be whittled down in a snap. Once you figure out how to hire the right person, future hires will likely go more smoothly.

Interviewing is a crucial step in the hiring process. In this series, you'll learn how to stage a great interview. First up, here's advice on choosing the right candidate to interview.

Do Your Homework

In the preinterview stage, make sure you have a complete understanding of the role. This will help you pare down the pool of potential candidates.

Analyze the position to create a clear job description. The description should be written by the supervisor or manager of the position, if possible with assistance from someone currently in the position to ensure that every nuance of the duties is reflected. Then determine the appropriate rate of compensation.

Next, decide the best location to find candidates. This may be an online recruitment service (like employment marketplace ZipRecruiter) or industry-specific listings. Use the job description as a guide when you write the ad. Highlight key duties, describe the company culture and let potential applicants know what they need to do to apply, for example write a cover letter or submit a portfolio.

Do the Work

As resumes come in, consider using blind hiring techniques. This may help reduce the effects of subconscious bias related to attributes protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as well as other state and local anti-discrimation laws.

Using the job description, screen resumes for knowledge, skills and abilities. Don't just look at job titles, which can be deceiving — read the descriptions. A "vice president" at one business can preside over zero personnel while a "director" at another business can be responsible for a dozen. The meat of what you want to know is in the description.

Look for:

  • A solid work history — with a caveat. Sometimes economies are down, which may mean layoffs and difficulty finding work. Or the candidate may have experienced something in their personal life, such as an illness.
  • Transferable skills. A cashier's skills, for example, may transfer easily into teller skills.
  • Accomplishments — and those don't have to be limited within the scope of employment.
  • Hints that the candidates would fit into your company culture. If your culture is heavy on giving back, then maybe candidates with volunteer activities have potential.

Make Your Choices

Once sorted, you may have a smaller "potential interview" pile. If you have six basically equal resumes, but only want to interview three candidates, decide using something objective. For example, choose the three candidates who applied first.

Much work goes into figuring out how to hire the right person. Choosing which candidate to interview is just the first step. Business owners who put in the work will be rewarded not only with higher-quality candidates but also with time saved when they've found the right people and can focus on other challenges.