Finding the right job or the right candidate may seem like good timing or good luck. But smart hiring professionals and top recruiting firms know that you don’t have to rely on the stars to make an excellent hiring match. By doing a little homework you can help align the planets in your favor.
When looking to hire, you’re hoping for the best fit: someone who will play well with others, contribute to the company, and become a long-term return on your hiring investment.
When looking for a job, you’re hoping for the same: a good fit, a company that you can contribute to and stay with for the long haul.
Here are some of the top qualities to look for when looking, or looking to hire.
The candidate who shows up late, looks disheveled, has a sloppy resume or didn’t bother to bring one at all isn’t the best hire – period. If they can’t put their best foot forward when they want the job, they probably won’t do their best if they have the job.
Forward the job description to candidates when you schedule, and ask that they bring questions to the interview. Good candidates will have thoughtful questions about the work, the department and the company. If they haven’t done their homework, look for someone who has.
Find the Right Fit
The accounting department may look for serious, studious colleagues, while marketing professionals want fun creatives. Look for the candidate who will work well within the group as well as expand their reach. Adding a diverse candidate can open up the department to previously unconsidered possibilities.
Watch for Red Flags
Be on the lookout for employment red flags: vague, non-committal responses when you ask why they left their last position, unexplained gaps in employment, unclear specifics regarding their duties and responsibilities. These are common hedges when there’s something to hide.
Ban the Backstabber
Bad-mouthers are bad news. There are professional ways to translate negative information that don’t include backstabbing. If they can’t be professional when they want the job, can they be pros when they have it?
Moving the Right Way
The ten-year tenure in the same position is no longer a selling point: it may be a red flag the candidate is adverse to change or growth. A candidate that changes jobs every six months isn’t a top choice either. Look for movement that shows growth and professional development, rather than a candidate who just keeps searching for “something better”.
Checking references on everything, including education, is a simple but critical step that’s too frequently overlooked. Top candidates know if their former employer doesn’t provide specific reference information, and will have the names of colleagues or managers who can offer personal references instead.
If you’re considering a move, make sure it’s to greener pastures.
Do Your Homework
Be ready for your portion of the interview with your resume and references, and seek information on the company, too. Do they have bad internet reviews? Are their ratings good within the financial and business community? Do tech recruiters and finance recruiters give them high praise? Research as much as possible, and ask questions about the information you can’t find or don’t understand.
Verify the Vacancy
Before you meet, ask for a copy of the job description to review and make sure the opening is a good fit. If they don’t have one, or won’t send it to you, consider that a red flag. If they can’t tell you clearly what’s expected of you before you’re hired, what will they ask of you after?
After you’ve discussed your qualifications, it’s your turn to ask questions. The first of course, is why the position is available. Vague, non-committal responses about why the position is vacant or about the department’s turnover rate could suggest there’s a bad manager at the helm.
Ask about policies with regard to hiring and promotions: are they committed to a diverse workforce? Is it their preference to promote from within? These insights can help decide if it’s the right fit for you.
Investigate the Culture
Ask about the department – what is the group like? What qualities are they looking for in a colleague? Ask about the corporate culture: look for a positive message about diversity, growth and appreciation of human capital. Ask the interviewer how long they’ve been there, and how they describe working at the company.
Watch for Red Flags
Candidates should also be on the lookout for employment red flags: unexplained gaps between hires could be a sign of financial woes; evasive answers might indicate problems within the group. Make sure to get satisfactory answers before you decide to jump on board or jump ship from your current spot.
Whether you’re adding to staff or looking for a new opportunity, make sure to do your homework, ask the right questions and evaluate the answers (and non-answers) carefully for a match made in recruiting heaven.