Hiring a new team member can be frustrating. In the midst of sifting through incomplete applications and poorly written cover letters, you have to juggle the shift in your workflow and manage phone calls from potential hires.
At least twice a year we go through this process and have come to understand what works best for finding the most qualified candidates.
- Make the ad interesting. The job posting is an advertisement. It needs to accurately represent your company’s tone and style and sell you to the potential candidate.
- Start the posting by asking questions that are pertinent and fun. “Do you love ____?” Make it something they will actually be doing. This kind of an opening relates nicely and starts off the ad in a non-traditional way. For example, in a posting for a bookkeeper, start by asking, “Do you love QuickBooks? Do you like making sure all the business numbers reconcile? Running reports and audits of existing payments?” For a developer, start with, “Do you love the feeling of victory when your PHP array finally outputs the correct data? Making sure that all code blocks line up with perfect indents and comments? Then check us out.”
- Post the ad on Craiglist, Indeed.com, and your blog/website/social accounts at a minimum. If the ad is for someone junior or an internship, it helps to post at various colleges.
- Cut out half initially. If you have 50 resumes, reduce in half immediately. You should spend about a minute per resume in the first cut round. Get the number down to a manageable size so that you can spend more time reviewing the better applications.
- Interview 5-10 candidates. The more the merrier. You would be shocked as to who looks good on paper and who turns into a star in the interview.
- Prepare for whatever interview method works best. Phone interviews are fine. In-person interviews are even better, but sometimes that is not always possible. Skype can be a good tool, but prepare for technical difficulties.
- Keep it legal. Don’t ask about taboo subject matters during interviews. This should be a no-brainer, but anything based on gender, age, race or religion should be off topic. Keep it professional.
- Ask questions. Prepare about 10 questions for each interview. That will take up about 30 minutes of time alone.
- Listen first. The purpose of the interview is for the candidates to tell you about themselves. Let them know what your company’s about in the beginning or end, but let them speak the majority of the time.
- Have fun. Interviewing is a chance to meet new people. It’s a chance to improve your company – enjoy the opportunity.
Recent Stats from Our Job Posts
We recently ran an ad for a bookkeeper position. Here were the results:
- We received 82 resumes from Craigslist, Indeed and our blog/website/social media sites. Twenty resumes were just awful. The candidates had no bookkeeper experience or training at all. Fifteen resumes had subject line failures (no name, no subject, etc). This is our first test, and with a bookkeeper we wanted accuracy. Most candidates didn’t have a solid resume or cover letter anyway. Note that we moved a few to the “yes” category, even if the subject line was missing or incorrect, but we keep that information in the back of our mind.
- Eighteen candidates had resumes with education requirements issues (not enough schooling/experience).
- Twenty-one candidates were solid, but for one reason or another they were put into the “backup” file in case our top eight didn’t pan out.
- We held eight interviews. We found seven candidates from Craiglist and one candidate from Indeed (we ended up hiring this person).
The biggest tip we can share is to only spend your time with applicants who have potential.