Tag Archives: hiring best practices

The Keys to the Virtual Interview

The concept of a virtual interview has gained a lot of momentum in a short period of time. Not only does it enable recruiters to streamline the interview process, it saves money because candidates don’t have to fly in. This means there’s opportunity for your company if you know how to fully harness the power of the virtual interview.


Choosing a Platform

The technology you use will heavily impact how successful you are. Many companies opt for basic platforms such as Skype, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts. These are free and should be sufficient if you’re interviewing on a small scale.

However, you may want to look into more comprehensive platforms that cost money but have more robust features. For instance, some platforms offer:

  • A pre-recorded interview system
  • Branding display for more of a professional feel
  • Real-time skill assessment
  • Interview analytics
  • Applicant organization features

If you plan on doing these types of interviews on an ongoing basis, it may be worth the investment. This resource from Capterra offers reviews on some of the top virtual interview software.


Set Up

Address a few factors before meeting with a candidate digitally. For starters, position your webcam at eye level so that your head and shoulders are included in the frame. Sit in a quiet environment that’s void of distractions. Be sure that the location is organized and that you’re dressed professionally. After all, it’s just as important that you make a positive impression on a candidate.

Gather materials such as a candidate’s resume, cover letter, portfolio, etc. and have them with you before the interview commences. If you need to access online resources, open the necessary tabs ahead of time.



The vast majority of recruiters use a video interview to filter promising candidates and narrow it down to a few of the most impressive. Therefore, your main goal is to determine:

  • Whether or not they have the skills and knowledge needed for a position
  • If they’ve got the work ethic, soft skills and other intangibles you’re looking for
  • If they have a personality that will mesh with your company culture

Knowing your objectives will dictate the types of questions you ask and your overall approach to the process. Generally speaking, you don’t need to get highly detailed with your questions. Focus on the questions that will give you a good feel for a person’s professional qualifications.

You can always follow up with additional questions in the final round of hiring. Remember to veer away from anything that could be deemed discriminatory just like you would with a traditional face-to-face interview.

An OfficeTeam survey suggests that 63 percent of employment interviews are done via video. This is definitely a medium to consider. Achieving success with it boils down to finding the right platform and taking an organized, systematic approach to the process.

Two Qualified Candidates – How do you choose?

Most employers would consider having to choose between two qualified candidates as a good problem to have. Nonetheless, it’s still a problem and requires careful consideration on your end.

You want to ensure that you decide on the person who’s most likely to flourish in their position. So what’s the best way to make the choice?


Consider Key Skills

One of the most critical factors to consider is key skills. Obviously, both candidates have skills and experiences that match the job description. But which one possesses the skills that closest match what you’re looking for?

Conventional hard skills are very important but don’t forget about soft skills such as self-motivation, decisiveness and conflict resolution. Often, it’s these soft skills which aren’t so easily quantifiable that shed light on who the ideal candidate truly is.


Examine Past Promotions

Another way to gauge an individual’s likelihood of success is to examine past promotions. Brian Rudolph, Managing Director with Minnesota executive recruiters SkyWater Search Partners has an insightful quote. “If you have two great candidates with comparable skills, but one of them has consistently been promoted within their current employer, you may have just found the ‘right’ candidate and a future leader for your organization.”


Decide Who’s the Better Fit Culturally

Company culture is a big deal these days. Generally speaking, candidates who fit in with the culture of a company are more likely to succeed than those who do not. If it’s obvious that a particular candidate shares the same philosophy, values, and vision of your company, they’re likely to be a good fit. On the other hand, a candidate with directly opposing views could create friction within your organization.

Throw in a few questions regarding culture to determine which candidate is the better fit. If you’re not sure what to ask, consult this guide from The Balance for 18 cultural fit job interview questions.


Factor in Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is also important. If someone is genuinely enthusiastic about their job, it can translate into a host of positive benefits such as increased productivity, stronger work ethic and a more serious commitment to your company. If it’s clear that one candidate is far more enthusiastic than the other, they’re probably the better choice.


Ask a “Tie-Breaker” Question

When all else fails, you can always ask a single question to serve as a tie-breaker between two qualified candidates. This is similar to the psychological concept of running a controlled experiment where extraneous variables are controlled.

By asking the exact same question and weighing the results, you should be able to make your final decision with a greater degree of certainty. Or if a question just won’t cut it, you could also give both candidates a “practice project.”

Regardless of who you choose, you’re likely to wind up with a good employee on your hands. However, you still want to take every step possible to select the better of the two qualified candidates. Following these tips should help you cover all of your bases to find a home run.


recruiting best practices

Best Recruiting Strategies for Your Business

Recruiting is arguably one of the most important aspects of business operations. Not only is effective recruiting essential for finding qualified candidates, but it ensures that employees mesh with your company culture and reduces your turnover rate. With numerous avenues for finding employees, it’s crucial that you use the best recruiting strategies for your business.


Recruiting Options

The techniques that employers use have changed considerably over the past decade or so. This is primarily due to technology and how much more connected the world has become. Here are five current, effective recruiting strategies:

  1. Online Job Boards – Sites like Indeed, Monster and Career Builder make it simple for recruiters to post ads and connect with qualified candidates.
  2. Social Media – There has been a dramatic spike in recruiters using social media over the last few years — and research from Aberdeen Group found on Capterra’s website states that “73 percent of 18 – 34-year-olds found their last job through a social network.” LinkedIn and Facebook are especially popular.
  3. Job Search Apps – As the world becomes more mobile-centric, it’s increasingly common for recruiters to post jobs on apps like Glassdoor, Simply Hired and SnagAJob.
  4. Recruiting Agencies – The staffing industry has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years — and many companies are turning to professionals to help fill vacant positions.
  5. Internal Recruiting – This is the most traditional recruiting technique, but can still be quite effective. It also eliminates many recruiting costs.


Which is Best for Your Business?

Choosing the ideal strategy boils down to three main factors — your employee demographic, the amount of effort you want to put forth and your budget. If you’re looking for younger employees, technology tends to be the best way to reach them. For a broader demographic, all of the aforementioned options can produce results.

If you’ve already got your hands full and simply don’t have the time to spend on recruiting yourself, it’s smart to go through a recruiting agency because they’ll do the heavy lifting for you — and most are adept at finding highly qualified employees that will match your company culture. However, this can be one of the more costly means of recruiting, and you should be sure to find an agency that specializes in your specific industry.

If your budget is limited, consider using either social media or internal recruiting because both can be done at little or no cost. Social media is beneficial because it can put you in touch with hundreds or even thousands of qualified candidates. Internal recruiting is nice because it can make for an easy transition for a new employee because they already have a connection with an existing staff member.


Employing the best recruiting strategies streamlines the hiring process and accomplishes what’s most important — efficiently filling a vacant position with the right employee. It keeps your operations on track, giving your company the necessary manpower to keep up with demand.

Photo by Alan Cleaver

Effective Ways to Sift Through That Pile of Resumes

You’re trying to fill a vacant position to find the best possible candidate for your company and culture. You’ve had a positive response, which is great — but now a huge stack of resumes looms on your desk like a sleeping giant. To streamline the process, implement the right strategies to effectively sift through that pile of resumes and find a superstar without becoming overwhelmed.


Take Advantage of Technology

In the past, combing through resumes had to be done manually and was incredibly time-consuming. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to filter through dozens or even hundreds of resumes much more quickly and efficiently with an application tracking system or ATS. This type of software allows you to narrow down applicants based on criteria such as skills, qualifications, experience and educational background.

In turn, you can expedite this process and separate the wheat from the chaff to find a smaller list of candidates who would be a great fit for your company. You can compare some of the top ATS software systems on a guide found on the Software Advice website.


What to Look For

When you’re dealing with a high volume of applicants, it’s smart to look for individuals who go the extra mile and put forth just a little more effort than the others. This shows that they have a strong interest and are serious about getting hired rather than simply going through the motions. For instance, you might look for a resume that’s accompanied by an interesting cover letter rather than something that’s completely generic and lacking personality.

Some other things to look for in candidates include:

  • The exact qualifications and level of experience you’re looking for
  • Articulate and concise resume content
  • Specific facts (e.g. they helped increased productivity by 20 percent during their tenure)


What to Discard

  • Resumes with spelling and grammatical errors as this shows a lack of attention to detail
  • Lack of longevity where applicants consistently spend less than two years at former jobs
  • Generic fluff content (e.g. they are a team player)
  • Significant employment gaps without a valid explanation


Looking Beyond the Resume

A resume definitely gives insight into a candidate, but it by no means tells the whole story. To truly gauge the value of a person, examine intangible soft skills such as work ethic, motivation, adaptability, flexibility, communication skills and so on. Because this usually requires personal interaction through phone, video conferencing or a face-to-face meeting, save this step until last after you’ve already narrowed your list down to only a handful of applicants.

In order to assess a candidate’s soft skills, ask the right questions. A list of 10 interview questions on the Omnia website gives some examples of what to ask to determine various soft skills.


The mountain of resumes on your desk can no doubt be overwhelming and even a little maddening. Using the right approach allows you to sift through the pile of resumes to identify the strongest contenders without waking the giant.


Photo by flazingo_photos

Employee Background Checks: Are They Necessary?

The ease in which job applicants can falsify information and cover up a sketchy background has created a need for business owners to protect their company as well as existing employees. One way that employers screen job applicants and minimize their liability is to perform employee background checks. With technology making it easier than ever, this practice is becoming increasingly common within numerous industries. But are employee background checks really necessary and right for your business?


What Does a Background Check Entail?

There are several types of employee background checks — and employers can access a lot of different information depending upon their needs and the position being filled. Some common types of background checks include:

  • Criminal
  • Educational
  • Medical
  • Credit

In terms of where information is accessed from, it can come from multiple sources including federal, state and local governments, educational institutions, past employers, professional organizations and personal references.


The Pros

  • Increased Quality of New Hires – When job applicants know that they will be screened, it tends to work as a natural filter, and you can often weed out unsavory individuals. In turn, this improves the quality of your talent pool, and you’re more likely to find employees who are ethical and have clean backgrounds.
  • Create a Safer Working Environment – If you hire a person with a criminal background or a history of substance abuse, it’s likely to result in a more dangerous working environment for your other employees. This could have disastrous consequences like an increased likelihood of workplace violence or internal theft. However, running employee background checks should reduce the chances of this type of activity happening.
  • Reduce Liability – If you run a business where employees have access to sensitive information, care for children/elderly people or handle hazardous materials, you could find yourself in hot water if you hire someone with a checkered past. Screening new applicants should help you avoid hiring the wrong person and therefore reduce your liability.


The Cons

  • Cost – Perhaps the biggest drawback is the added expense of running employee background checks. With the average cost to a hiring company ranging between $150 to $180, this may simply not be in the cards for many businesses.
  • Potentially Flawed Data – Another issue is that you can’t always be 100% certain that the results are accurate. Whether it’s because of a misspelled name, incorrect birth date, a mistake in the verification process or any other factor, there’s always the potential for flawed data.
  • Potential EEOC Complications – One problem that may not be so obvious involves the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the federal laws that are in place to prevent workplace discrimination. If you’re ever suspected of rejecting an applicant on an unfair basis, it can open a can of worms and potentially result in litigation. For more information on this topic, you can check out the EEOC’s website.


How to Go About It

If you’re interested in performing employee background checks, there are a plethora of software platforms that will allow you to do it. This list from BizBrain highlights 15 different services so you can contrast and compare. Another option is to outsource employee screening to a human resources outsourcing firm and let them take care of it for you.

Deciding whether or not to implement this process into your hiring procedures depends on your priorities and the needs of your business. While it makes sense for many employers, it’s not necessary for everyone.

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