The Good, Better, Best – Part 2: Choosing the Best Candidate

b-loehr-best-candidateAs you gear up for the second round of interviews, you’ll want to tune in with all senses and pay attention to instinct as well throughout the entire process. “Gut feeling” can and should be a valuable part of this fact-finding mission.

As you plan a strategy for zeroing in on the very best candidate, implement as many of these extra components as time allows.

  1. Begin at an off-site location

A meeting over breakfast or lunch creates the perfect opportunity to get inside a candidate’s personality which is helpful, even necessary, when evaluating for a fit within the company’s culture. While most people will maintain a formal tone in an interview at the office, the more relaxing setting of a meal or even coffee at the corner diner will encourage people to be themselves.

  1. Head back to the office for a “360-degree interview”

Plan ahead for the candidate to interact and engage with colleagues, subordinates, superiors, and if possible, internal clients and suppliers. This hands-on opportunity will give you valuable insight, broadening your perspective as to how the applicant’s skills on paper translate to skills in the field. After the candidate leaves, seek feedback from those who had a chance to brush shoulders with the potential employee. What vibes did they get? Any red flags pop up?

  1. Re-investigate skills

Before the second round of interviews begin, spend time going over the candidates’ resumes again with an eye for skills and qualifications that may have seemed either unrelated to this position or were simply overlooked. Bi- or tri-lingual? Fantastic. A background in fundraising and non-profit experience? Excellent. Consider these additional talents and aptitudes like you would bonus points on an exam. At the interview, ask the potential employee to elaborate on these skills, so you have a full picture of their potential.

  1. Finish off with a focus on the negative

While most candidates know what they do well, it’s more difficult—and quite telling—to question a potential employee about their weaknesses, past failures, unsuccessful ventures, etc. We all flub up at some point. It’s how we handle the goof(s) and move forward that reveals volumes about a person’s character and leadership qualities.

Frame the discussion around:

  • Tell me about one of your biggest failures and what you learned from the experience.
  • Share something you did that you regret. What was your initial motivation and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Describe a time when you had to conform to a policy you didn’t support. How did the situation cause you to grow?

From the moment you give the candidate a second opportunity to “wow” you, observe each candidate’s response, both what is said and what is left unsaid. Take note of the overall reaction. Enthusiasm or boredom? Nervousness or excitement? Disinterest or engagement? It could be that one or more applicants will remove themselves from the running due to any number of factors. Thank him/her for their interest and the opportunity to connect, then file their resume away for the future.

BLoehr Staffing can assist in finding the best candidates to fill the key positions that keep your company operating at peak performance. Allow our team of employment specialists to assist in recruiting top-notch applicants for your team. Contact us today.


Good, Better, Best Part 1:  Choosing the Best Candidate

b-loehr-best-candidateIt’s incredible, in both a good and bad way.

No less than five highly qualified candidates have risen to the top in the search to fill a key position within your organization. And you find yourself with the unenviable task of choosing which candidate to hire.

They would all be good, probably. Some could be, well, better. But you want the best. The best person to fill this crucial opening.

Short of playing eeny, meeny, miny, moe or throwing darts at the row of resumes tacked to the wall, how do you determine the best candidate for the job?

First of all, be mindful of two proven theories:

  • Candidates who interview extremely well don’t always perform well on the job
  • Candidates who are lackluster during the interview may end up being the brightest star on the team

Moving past the roadblocks, which the above theories can throw in your path, means some additional digging into these top candidates is in order. A second round of interviews is a great way to gain further insight about these potential employees.

Yes, that means carving out more time in your schedule for these additional interviews and will likely delay the process of filling the position. And your time is valuable, certainly. But hiring the right candidate is crucial—especially if your aim is not to be going through the entire process again, in the near future, for this same position. In this case, you would be wise to heed the “haste makes waste” idiom as a quick decision could end up being the wrong decision—one that you’ll regret for a long time.

Consider the following ways to glean additional information about the candidates. Choose which ones to include in this second round of meetings based on how each would mesh with this particular job opportunity.

  • An off-site meeting where the chance to observe the candidate in a neutral environment will reveal personality traits
  • A time for hands-on, interactive engagement with others from the company
  • An investigation into the candidate’s skills and qualifications, including those that aren’t directly related to the current opening
  • An inquiry into the “negatives” that can reveal depth of character—or lack thereof

In part two of Good, Better, Best: Choosing the Best Candidate, we’ll look further at these interview components.

At B. Loehr Staffing we understand the importance of matching the candidate’s skill set and personality with not only the job responsibilities but also the company culture. Our staffing specialists are experienced at asking the right questions that lead to a satisfying employment scenario for both the hiring company and the candidate. Contact us today. We’ve been leading the recruiting process in St Louis since 1898.