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Thought Leader Series: How to Improve Job Candidate Selection

Feb 10 , 2016

Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, delivers inspirational keynotes at conferences. She authored the international bestselling book, "Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results," and "HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews."

Although hiring managers and job seekers sit on opposite sides of the table, they each have one goal in common. Each party needs to qualify and match the opportunity at hand according to their professional requirements.

For the company, the process is time-consuming and very expensive. Attention is taken away from normal duties in order to meet with dozens of candidates. The hard part is recognizing which candidate will best fit in with the current team and with the position up for grabs. The bonus is to find the one candidate who will contribute most to the company's success. An incorrect choice will start the process all over again.

The person seeking work is usually stressed due to needing a job to pay their bills, among other reasons. Research ahead of time provides insight on the qualifying questions to ask during the interview. It also helps to avoid becoming the perennial job seeker.

So how can you improve job candidate selection?

Strive to select the best upfront for an improved ROI.


Personal research provides some familiarity ahead of time. Use your search engine of choice to find a few sites where the candidate or hiring manager is active. Review their interests, the messages they put out to the public, and some of their interactions.

As a job recruiter, consider if this person will be a good fit for the team. And will it be worth the effort to have them trained to be a contributing member? As a job seeker, ask yourself: Will this person be the type for which you wish to work and from whom you'd like to take direction?

Business research includes researching the company and the industry it represents. If publicly traded, read the latest financial statement and know the value of the stock. Review how the company compares to its competitors in market share and type of clients. The information you learn can be used to come up with some credible questions to ask during the interview.

Why Upfront Homework?

The quality of questions asked during the interview will be significantly improved, allowing for greater insight. The hiring manager and applicant need to sell one another on the job and the applicable talent in order to move forward. A true two-way conversation builds credibility and trust.

The very first interview question a candidate should ask is, "You must receive so many resumes; what was it about mine that motivated you to invite me in today?" This is the straight route to the end goal for getting hired. After answering, the hiring manager should ask, "What caught your interest to interview today?" This should then lead to an insightful interview experience.

Cues to Monitor

Body language and facial expressions give away true thoughts while words may attempt to hide them. Upon seeing a blank stare, a raised eyebrow, or arms instantly folded, stop mid-sentence to ask if there is a question. It's the only way to save an objection or possible rejection. And when an unknown word is used, immediately stop to ask for clarification. This could be a test regarding your honesty.

The Ask

Most people fear negotiation, but it is essential prior to acceptance. The entire package needs to be inviting and presented well. The applicant has to ask for what they believe is missing.

By conducting thorough research, coming up with insightful interview questions, and honing your negotiation skills, you can be sure to find the right candidate for the job - or to find the right position for you.

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