Apr 1, 2004

How many times has your heart been broken by a candidate that looked good at first and then fizzled as the interview process got rolling? The following list provides a starting point for you or your staff to examine when evaluating people. It’s a tool for reducing the amount of time that you waste in pursuing candidates that will ultimately not get hired. These 14 items are things to look for with everyone that you evaluate.Having the right answer to the following questions does not necessarily mean the person is a fit and the wrong answer does not necessarily mean that they’re not a fit. These questions, when combined, will give you valuable information about a candidate’s marketability. You want to be sure to spend your time with the people that you are best able to help.

1.) Does the candidate have the skills necessary for the job we are recruiting for? If they have the skills, are they current or were they used several years ago?

2.) Has the candidate stayed at companies for a good amount of time (2-3 years) or have they jumped around every year? If they have jumped around, do they have valid reasons for it?

3.) Have they been at their current company for too long (5+ years)? If so, they may be very resistant to actually leaving (even if they say otherwise).

4.) Has the candidate been a contractor much of the time? If you’re looking for a permanent employee this could be a snag.

5.) Is the candidate local? Local is always better. Some companies may pay for relocation but more things can fall through with an out-of-state candidate.

6.) What about their personality & communication skills? Do they have a thick accent? Do they sound confident or like a mouse? Do you trust what they are saying or does something sound fishy? Do they speak with pride or do they put you to sleep? Do they sound arrogant? For some highly technical positions it may not matter as much but generally this is a very important area.

7.) Is this a position that will be a step up for them? If not, we need to understand why they would go to a company for a step down or sideways.

8.) Has the candidate worked for quality companies? You can guess that they have some quality skills if they have worked for Oracle, Microsoft etc.

9.) Do they have a valid reason for leaving (more responsibilities, not able to expand their skills, unstable company) or is it a questionable reason (“I’m always looking,” “more money”)? Without a valid “wound,” they will be easily swayed when it comes time to walk into their boss’s office and say, “I quit.”

10.) How much total industry experience do they have? If the person has the title of “Director” but graduated from college 3 years ago, that’s a flag.

11.) Has the person worked in a similar industry and company size compared with the position we are recruiting for? This is not so important with some technical positions because the skills often transfer between industries. But if we are looking for a Controller for a large law firm, someone who has been a Controller with a small manufacturing company may not be a fit.

12.) Does the person have relevant certifications (CPA, MCSE etc.) for the position?

13.) Are their salary expectations reasonable?

14.) Has the person been in “real world” industries (Business, Technology, Professional Services etc.) or is all of their experience in the Military, University, Aerospace, Scientific or Government arena.

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