How to choose the right employee for the job
[This is part 11 of PeopleTools’ article series on the optimal recruitment process. You can find an overview of the other articles here: “The Ultimate Guide to Recruitment”]
Once you’ve gone through applications, interviews, tests and references, it’s time to make a decision. Where is the best match and who to hire?
The right candidate for the job must be chosen.
Not just the right candidate for the position and its tasks, but the right candidate for the company and the department.
In this article, you’ll find advice on what to keep in mind when choosing your final candidate.
How do you select the best candidate?
So what should you keep in mind when making the final choice?
When assessing candidates, keep the job analysis and the job and person profile in mind at all times so that candidates are assessed against these criteria.
Among other things, you can consider:
- How does the candidate match the most important competencies?
- Will the candidate be able to learn or develop in relation to the competency requirements that the candidate does not currently match?
- Will the candidate fit in with the company, department and culture?
- Will you as a company be able to meet the candidate’s requirements and expectations? Or is the candidate overqualified and will lack challenges in the long run?
While the job profile should of course be the central frame of reference for the hiring committee, it is not a blueprint. Because each applicant “represents a unique and personal take on how the job profile can unfold in practice” (Henriksen, 60).
What mistakes can happen in the decision-making process?
Just like the rest of the recruitment process, mistakes can happen in the final selection phase. Some of the most common mistakes when making a decision are that you:
- forgets the job analysis and the job and personal profile and instead simply compares applicants to each other. This can result in unconsciously “settling” for the best among the applicants – instead of thinking long-term.
- bases its decision on one assessment method or overemphasizes one part of the process.
- are influenced by (conscious and unconscious) biases instead of objectively assessing candidates
- have not used evaluation forms and the hiring committee has instead observed, interpreted and weighted information differently, so there is no reasonable basis for comparison.
Are there parameters you shouldn’t base your choice on?
When assessing candidates, it’s important to only consider the parameters and information that are actually relevant to the position. For example, years of experience, length of education and age have very low predictive validity. These criteria should therefore not be taken into account.
In the article “Recruitment methods and tools – which are the best?” you can read more about which methods best predict job success.
Use your evaluation forms
Of course, the company’s decision must be fair and well-founded.
To ensure this, it’s a good idea to have an evaluation form prepared in advance with the most important criteria the candidate will be assessed on, which you use in the respective phases. The whole purpose of using these evaluation forms is so that you have a support tool with valuable information to help you make the final decision.
Therefore, it is important that this information and forms are followed and used when deciding who to offer the position to. This can make the assessment and selection process easier.
By using the evaluation forms in the decision-making process, you also ensure that candidates are “measured and weighed” on the same criteria – and not on a gut feeling. Feel free to include both a predetermined scale (e.g. 1-10) and space for notes in the evaluation form. This provides you with both qualitative and quantitative data that you can compare and contrast the candidates together afterwards. The numerical values in particular are a good starting point for a final discussion, as you are “forced” to verbalize and argue further for your assessment if others on the hiring committee disagree.
Should the position be re-advertised?
What if none of the remaining candidates are the right match? Should you hire for the sake of hiring? Or should the position be re-advertised?
A good way to determine this is to ask yourself if you’re compromising. If the candidate doesn’t quite fit the profile or their skills don’t match the requirements you’ve outlined in the job analysis and the job and person profile, is it a good decision to hire the candidate?
It’s important that you take your time and think carefully. Because “hiring mistakes always cost much more than taking the time to think twice” (Kahlke, 57).
If you’re looking to re-post, it’s important that the hiring committee discusses why and howthe candidates didn’t match. Use this knowledge to edit the job posting and make it more precise so that next time you can (hopefully) target and attract candidates that match the needs and requirements of the position even better.
Don’t forget the other applicants!
Some companies think that the recruitment process is complete once the final candidate has been selected and informed with the happy news.
But what about all the other candidates? Both those who were screened out at the start and those who went on to the interview and testing rounds? They are just as important – if not more so.
Why? Yes, it could potentially be future applicants, customers, business partners, etc. And we don’t want to leave them with a bad impression.
All applicants can be potential ambassadors – and they should be treated with respect. There are many more people in the process who are rejected than the one person who is offered the job!
Remember that the entire recruitment process is part of the company’s employer brand – including the rejection of unsuccessful candidates.
That’s why you should give all applicants a proper rejection – they’ve spent time and energy applying for the position. It’s okay to send a written rejection to applicants who have not been interviewed. Candidates who have been invited for an interview should receive personalized feedback where you can explain why they didn’t get the position.
- Henriksen, Jens. Recruitment in a narrative perspective. Danish Psychological Publishing, 2013.
- Kahlke, Edith and Schmidt, Victor. Job and person assessment – increasing accuracy in personnel selection. Børsens Forlag, 2000.
- Kahlke, Edith and Schmidt, Victor. Better hiring. Børsens Forlag, 2007.
- Schmidt, Frank L.; Oh, In-Sue & Shaffer, Jonathan A. (2016). “The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of 100 Years of Research Findings.”
- Theisen, Charlotte Bryldt. The job interview. How do you select the best candidate? Transparent Publishing House, 2014.