It can be daunting to see dozens of ‘suitable’ candidates when hiring, especially when it can appear that there is little to differentiate them. But there are some key things to look out for on CVs and tools you can use to help you sift your candidates down to a short list:
1. Psychometric Tests – psychometric tests are one of the most widely used and arguably most reliable methods of differentiating a large volume of candidates. Provided appropriate provisions are made for candidates who require extra time they are commonly considered to be one of the most effective and unbiased ways to sift candidates. Critics argue that candidates can prepare for psychometric tests but the type of candidates who thoroughly prepare themselves for psychometric tests are likely to be conscientious, diligent potential hires. These are personality traits that are highly sought after for hiring manager seeking to hire for attitude and train for skill.
2. Personal Profile – often hiring managers skim read these, but the mere presence of a personal profile at the top of a CV can help a candidate to stand out as conscientious, demonstrating an appreciation of attributes beyond experience. Look out of key words that resonate with your organisation’s culture; clues to a candidates ambition beyond this role and motivation for applying.
3. Scoring Measures - pick some key measures of suitability and score your candidates against them – it’s worth spending some time up front, preferably with some key stakeholders of the vacancy, deciding what the key attributes of the successful candidate will be. Try to be decisive and whittle it down to between 3-5 relevant attributes/measures and then score your CVs against them. Each candidate will then will have a score, and you can set a lower limit to get down to a long list. This method also helps protect you as a hiring manager from any claims of discrimination by demonstrating an objective and fair process.
4. Avoid bias – test your selection with a colleague, preferably someone who isn’t too similar to you, so that you can be sure that your unconscious biases haven’t impacted your decision. We all have unconscious biases – it’s completely normal – and you could risk missing your ideal candidate if you don’t build in a control in your process to mitigate against them.
5. Face to face interviews – arguably the most effective way to screen candidates is to meet them. Encourage your candidate to ask you questions, this will not only give them an opportunity to assess whether the job you are offering might be suitable for them but you can also tell a lot from the questions they ask, or more importantly don’t ask. Remember to assess whether they will be a good fit for the team as well as for you as their manager.