10 Things You Should Know...
     About Every Candidate You Interview

  • Posted by: J. Kent Gervasini |
  • 6/29/15 |
  • 10:19 AM
10 Things You Should Know...<br>     About Every Candidate You Interview

How do you bring real value to your hiring process and hiring decision? You know the resume but do you know the person? Although the candidate meets your qualifications, do you really know what they think, feel, what is important to them and how they will fit into your culture.

Each organization in Denver today is competing to attract top talent from local, national and international markets. The unemployment figures may be up but talent that presents as a “complete package” is still in short supply and does not stay on the market long.

Corporations competing in today’s global market place must move fast and be exceptionally organized in their hiring process. In order for the hiring authority to make a resolute decision, you need information beyond that provided in a resume, test results or typical interview. The more you know about what a candidate is seeking and what impacts them personally, financially and culturally, the more quickly and decisively you can move to make a job offer or move on to another candidate.

Below are 10 key points that should be discussed with the candidate and the answers presented to the hiring manager before the final interview.

Understand exactly how the candidate's current compensation program is structured. This means more than the candidate's base salary. The base salary is just part of the overall package; keep in mind other variable compensation such as bonuses, commissions, car allowance, cell phone, availability of parking, paid or non paid parking etc. Be sure that you ask about bonuses or commissions; if, how and when they are paid out, stock options etc. Benefits are critical…compile a complete list of their benefits and how they are structured (e.g. PPO vs. HMO; there is a difference). Know how long the candidate has been at their current salary, when they are up for their next review. This is valuable information that the hiring manager needs to know.

To this point, good conversation and engagement will give you the information you are looking for….but you have to ask. What is the candidate looking for in a new position? Most candidates do not change jobs without introspective thought. The fundamental reason a person changes jobs is because they want something new. Have them define and explain the difference. They change jobs because there are certain things missing in their current position that they believe can be satisfied by the position your organization is offering. If you can get to the heart of this discussion you will be able to clearly identify the candidate’s vision of a new job and be able to use this information in presenting a job offer. Salary, benefits, culture or job title, what is the “difference” they really are seeking. Try to use “open-ended” questions.

Yes, each candidate responds differently, but we have found that most candidates prefer to have an easy commute. Commute is a quality-of-life issue and discussing it is important. A ten-minute commute against traffic is very different than taking the car to a rapid transit and having to walk five blocks to the new organization. If the commute to your organization is worse for the candidate than it is in his or her existing job, bring it up and see how the candidate responds. If the commute is better, use it as a selling point. Understand the candidate's current commute and how they feel about the new one.

Will this candidate integrate with the style of the hiring manager or his team? Some candidates work best if left alone, while others work best as part of a team. Know what fits for this position, the hiring manager and the organization. A candidate’s productivity will be impacted if they are an independent worker under a micro manager or have need for on-going mentoring, coaching and praise.

All of us have strengths and shortcomings and it’s important for the hiring manager to have this information before hand. Ask what functions the candidate does not enjoy performing. We are seldom good at things we don't like. However, good managers use this information to help develop and train staff; turn a negative into a positive

Some candidates are consumed by their careers and will put many hours of overtime into their jobs. To others, what matters most are a 40 hour work week and/or social interaction. There is no right or wrong but do identify their needs, and if your position, hiring authority and organization can meet these needs. Candidates and organizations alike will weigh in on this issue and the answers will resonate in the hiring or job acceptance decision. The more information you have, the better.

A hiring authority’s time is precious given today’s need for high performance and productivity. If this is a talented, qualified candidate presenting with the “complete package”, you need to know if they have one job offer on the table, two more arriving in 3 days, and how committed are they to really making a job change. If this is talent you want to pursue, let the manager know that the hiring process needs to be expedited.

Know what the candidate wants with regard to Compensation = Salary + Other Compensation + Benefits. If you go ahead with the final interview make sure that you are prepared to address those “quantified questions”.

If your organization’s recruiter or interviewer refers a candidate to the hiring authority, the referral should come with an absolute “yes” that the candidate can perform the essential functions, duties and responsibilities of the position. If the recruiter or interviewer cannot offer a solid opinion on this one, then more work needs to be done to dig deeper until a solid case for why the candidate can or cannot do the job is established.

Unfortunately none of us have a crystal ball that can predict a candidate’s future performance and culture fit, but someone, usually the final hiring authority has to make that big decision. Culture plays a significant role in a candidate’s success. For example, the culture of a financial services organization expecting exceptional individual performance in New York is very different from an IT, team based, collaborative environment in Boulder, Colorado. If you believe the candidate is seeking a great deal of social interaction and your company’s culture is focused and work-oriented, then it is imperative that you raise the issue.

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