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Why a boring hiring strategy can give you a competitive advantage

The hiring process is not what it was a generation ago. While previously, submitting a resume, attending a job interview – and not bombing it – was a pretty sure-fire strategy to land you a job offer. These days, the market is more competitive, and the process has become considerably more complicated.

Networking, completing sample work assignments and going through multiple rounds of interviews has now become the norm. In addition, the interview process itself has become more of a test of wits – as many employers have steered increasingly towards unconventional questions designed to test candidates’ ability to think on their feet. For instance:

  • If you were an animal, which animal would you be?
  • What was the last costume you wore?
  • How would you make money from an ice-cream stand in the park?

While such interview questions may make for an entertaining story, the actual merit of such questions is unconvincing. If you really want to find out whether a candidate would work well on your team, your approach can be pretty straightforward. Here are four key things to include in your applicant assessment:

Define what you need

Prior to the interview, sit down with your hiring team and decide on the specific attributes you need in the new hire. Then, lay these out in the interview – and give the candidate an opportunity to discuss how they meet each one.

Get a work sample

There’s always a chance that a candidate may be charming in the interview but unable to fulfil the duties of the job once hired. You can help eliminate this risk by requiring each candidate to complete a short job assignment – similar to what they would be asked to do in the role for which they are applying.

Ask behavioural questions

Posing questions about how a candidate would react to certain difficult scenarios gives you useful insight into two things: how they respond to uncomfortable or challenging situations, and what is difficult for them. This can help you assess whether they would be a good fit with your team.

Maintain objectivity

Interviewers often underestimate how personal preference can affect hiring decisions. To maintain a fair playing field, be sure to ask each candidate the same questions – in the same order. Have each interviewer score each respondent’s response. It’s also important assign equal value to all interviewers’ assessments – regardless of whether one outranks the other. Then, when comparing candidates, compare each candidate’s score for question 1 first, then move on to question 2. Comparing candidates collectively on a question-by-question basis is helpful in staying impartial. If you focus on a single candidate for too long, you increase the chance of bias affecting your decision.

It may not be flashy, but a straightforward hiring strategy can help you connect the dots between what your company needs and who can best do it for you.

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