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How to Filter Good Candidates from Less-than-ideal Ones

How to Filter Good Candidates from Less-than-ideal Ones

By AJ Avañez on July 17, 2018

Hiring talent is an inexact science. A lot of times, recruiters and hiring managers trust their instinct to see whether a candidate is a good one and will immensely contribute to the company. There are instances, of course, when a bad hire is committed, resulting in hiring a less-than-ideal candidate who in the long run will prove to be a costly business decision.

As much as many HR practitioners would want to develop a built-in automatic filter for identifying the best candidates, this sadly is not the case, and finding the right candidate to fill the job is often a matter of figuring out the positives and negatives, weighing one’s options very carefully, and trusting your judgment.

Kalibrr, a tech-enabled end-to-end recruitment solutions provider, puts together a few tips to help recruiters and hiring managers weed out bad candidates from good ones, and hire the best talent in the process.


1. Ask the Candidates to Work on a Short Assignment

Asking candidates to perform a short work-related assignment can help recruiters and hiring managers weed out bad candidates from good ones. For candidates for writer or editor positions, this may be a short blog article; for sales positions, perhaps a short business email to a client.

According to Jacqueline van den Ende, CEO of True Money Philippines and former managing director of Lamudi Philippines, asking a candidate for B2B sales to write a short email to a client about the product can do miracles. “Through this letter, we see how serious or motivated someone is to do the assignment and, secondly, we learn a lot about his or her level of professionalism, English proficiency, and spelling issues.”


2. Don’t Get Floored by Buzzwords

Some candidates are highly adept at throwing in nonsense keywords to their resumes. In fact, every year LinkedIn, releases a list of overused words that recruiters should use to identify uncreative—and therefore less-than-ideal—candidates. These keywords include “strategic,” “certified,” “expert,” and others. Instead, recruiters should focus on finding specialized or focus words, such as “improved,” “guided,” “facilitated,” and the likes. An article posted on The Balance explains that these words are focused on telling the story, not dressing it up, and, therefore, tells what the candidate can do for the organization and why is he or she is better than anyone else.


3. Devise a Process and Stick to It

According to Beverly Aguilar, senior human resource officer at integrated communications firm TeamAsia, they have three sets of interview for qualified candidates, and there is a go-signal from HR and the director or manager before the applicant is recommended for an interview with the managing director. “We weed out candidates by telling them the truth and what are the things they should work on,” she said.

For True Money, a key element of their recruitment process is to score all candidates on a 5-point scale, says van den Ende. For example, a “3” means good, which means the person can do the job, while a “5” means the candidate is incredible. “I make it a point to never hire a person who scores a “3” or below. This is because a great candidate or a high-impact candidate is at least twice as valuable as an average candidate.”


4. Make a Personal Connection

Establishing a personal connection is critical, said Jocelyn Cohen, a recruiter at San Francisco-based food delivery start-up Zesty. The more comfortable candidates are, the better the recruiter or hiring manager gets to know their skill set and background, she said. “It’s important to have a personable approach with candidates. Enable your candidate to open up by opening up to them, being friendly, and being genuine.”

Another effective way is to make the interview as fun and engaging as possible. According to Brett Comeaux of LG Fairmont, interviews are just as much about gauging a potential hire’s cultural fit as it is about their ability and technical skills. By making the experience fun for the candidate, you are much more likely to get accurate information about the candidate, he said.


5. Do Background Checks

Background checks should be a standard part of your process to get more feedback on the candidate and to avoid employee integrity issues, said van den Ende. This can be done by getting in touch with the candidate’s character references.

When she started hiring for her previous company, van den Ende said that proper background checks were not part of their hiring process, which resulted in several fraud and theft cases. “It was a very steep and costly learning curve, but one I am grateful for having experienced.” Fortunately, however, these days her hiring strategy has much improved. “Having committed every possible recruitment mistake—these days we have a strong hiring process and we are able to attract and retain key talent in the Philippines.”

She also urges recruiters and hiring managers to be very selective. “For us, it is always worthwhile to be super picky until you find that ‘4’ candidate and to pay key talent more,” said van den Ende. “Investment in talent always ROI’s. The key is to never compromise on the people you hire because your company is only as good as the sum of your talent.”