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Checking Twice: How to Find the Best Candidates With Less Hassle

checking it twiceThere’s no time like the holiday season to refocus your hiring efforts. While other companies are kicking back and sipping eggnog, you’ll be scooping up the best and brightest candidates for your company.

Since your competition is busy wrapping presents, now is the time to really consider your current hiring strategy. Are you wasting time in the hiring process with inefficient recruiting methods? Are you using the newest technology to its full potential? Are you being hoodwinked by the wrong candidates and missing potential superstars?

Here are some tips you can take from the jolly guy in the red suit to help find the best candidates, so you can focus on holiday cheer instead of hiring nightmares this winter:

Make Your List

It all starts with the job description, but far too many organizations skimp on this hiring essential. We’d all like to think job seekers read every word of our finely crafted ads. But the truth is, like the six seconds recruiters spend looking over a resume, job seekers also tend to skim.

A recent study found most job seekers claimed to spend anywhere from five to 10 minutes reading over relevant job descriptions. But Santa would surely be gifting these candidates coal if he knew the real truth.

Job seekers were then tracked using technology that recorded where and how long they looked at relevant job ads. The technology found job seekers were, on average, spending less than 50 seconds staring at ads they deemed irrelevant to their interests. But job descriptions that seemed like a good fit didn’t fare much better. Potential candidates were only looking over these ads for an average of 76.7 seconds!

What’s the lesson? You need your job descriptions to be clear, compelling, and catchy in order to grab the attention of the right candidates. Don’t bog the description down with every single task a candidate will carry out as an employee. Instead, hone in on the most important attributes needed for the job. Think strategically about what keywords your ideal candidate will be searching for and make sure these keywords are present in your copy.

Remember, job seekers aren’t the only ones looking to make a good first impression, so put your best foot forward in order to attract the best candidates.

Check It Twice

It seems like every other day there’s a new story about an employee, executive, or CEO getting caught in a little white resume lie. Despite the perilous repercussions for telling a resume fib, the tough economy is motivating more candidates than ever to stretch their professional truth. In fact, a recent survey found that 38 percent of employees have embellished their job responsibilities at some point, while 18 percent have lied about their skill sets.

Just like Kris Kringle, you need to double check before you bring anyone into the fold. While you need to act fast in order to lock down the best talent, the reference check should never fall by the wayside.

You need to talk to a candidate’s former employers and coworkers to verify the information they’ve provided. Make sure to ask insightful questions about the candidate’s work style and professional behavior in order to ensure they’ll be a good fit for your own personal North Pole.

Find Out If Your Candidate is Naughty or Nice

Finding the right person for your open positions probably takes you a lot longer than it takes Santa to deliver presents. The big guy in red might be able to do it all in one night, but according to the Society for Human Resource Management, it takes the average recruiter or HR pro anywhere from 29 to 43 days to hire. You need to streamline the typical process if you want to find the best talent before your competition.

For instance, the middle man in the hiring process is the phone interview. These phone screens can take up to 30 minutes or more, and often recruiters will know within the first 90 seconds that the candidate is all wrong for the job. Think of how much time you’re wasting connecting with the wrong people.

Utilizing new technology can help you connect more personally with the best and brightest candidates. For instance, social media can help you isolate outside-the-box talent online. You can find people who are writing top-notch thought leadership or sharing creative problem solving methods in discussion groups or Twitter chats. These people might just be the imaginative talent you need to move your company forward.

You can also skip the inefficient phone screen process thanks to one-way video interviews. In a one-way video interview, candidates answer written questions on video, which employers can view at any time. If you immediately know a candidate is all wrong for the job, you can simply move on to a better fitting candidate. This allows you to waste less of your time talking to the wrong people and spend more time connecting with the top talent you need.

Just like Rudolph’s boss, you need to connect personally in order to weed the best candidates from the lumps of coal. Using new technology, from social media to video interviews, you can expand your talent pool and focus on the best people. This way you can give your company the greatest gift of all: smart new talent filling the office in the New Year!

What are some lessons you can take from the holiday season to find better candidates? Share in the comments!

About the Author: Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online interviews. Connect with him and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. […] Checking Twice: How to Find the Best Candidates With Less Hassle – Josh Dolan shares some simple tips to help attract the best candidates and invest in a personal connection to make sure they are the right fit. […]

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