• How Best to Vet a Candidate

    Thanks to the Internet and other transformative technological advances, today’s world is fundamentally different from the world of just 25 years ago.

    But what about job interviews? They actually haven’t changed much at all. You identify an intriguing resume, call the person in and ask a series of questions. If you are lucky, your candidate provides you with incisive answers and you establish immediate rapport.

    But does that really make you lucky? Or have you fooled yourself into believing that this single interaction has provided you with enough insight to make an informed hiring decision?

    Debunking Interviews

    Unfortunately, studies have shown that interviews do not produce better hiring decisions. This seems counterintuitive, but an interview is a highly unnatural setting. Some people—who would otherwise make excellent workers—simply fail to impress in pressure-packed and stage-managed situations.

    On the other hand, workers with the potential for performance issues down the road are often highly-impressive in limited exposure. It is only through sustained interaction that the cracks begin to show.

    Improving Vetting

    To help prevent you from hiring the wrong person, here are a few steps you can take to ensure rigorous candidate vetting:

    • Call First. It is always a good idea to check references via phone rather than email or written forms. Why? People are more likely to be candid if they are interacting with you personally and don’t have time to sit down and compose carefully-worded, pre-digested thoughts for your consumption.
    • Peer Feedback. Don’t limit your search to HR staff or managers. Interviewing a candidate’s former peers can give you a completely different perspective of the person.
    • Dig Deep. Don’t settle for superficial inquiries. When you have people on the phone, they can easily veer off into unexpected territory. If you depart from the usual script of set questions, you are more likely to get unfiltered feedback.
    • Thorough Background Check. Don’t rely on Google for background verification. Check public records and court databases for relevant information, or bring a professional on-board.
    • Review Social Media Activity. If you are looking for red flags that could indicate future behavioral issues, social platforms are a good place to begin.

    The Bottom Line

    Interviews generally should not be the dominant factor in any hiring decision, but rather one of many data points. By following up your interviews with rigorous vetting techniques, you can avoid making a costly long-term personnel mistake.

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