Getting Past the Resume to Better Understand a Candidate

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Finding the right person for a job is a complex process. In addition to selecting a candidate with the skills needed to properly function in the role, you must also choose someone who seamlessly blends into the company culture. Consequently, a multi-faceted process is often required to effectively screen candidates.

A resume is an incredibly useful tool, but the document only tells part of a candidate’s story. Individuals often appear great on paper, but after meeting them in person, it quickly becomes evident they are not the right choice. Learn how to dig deeper, to increase the likelihood of hiring the best person every time.

3 Ways to Learn More About a Candidate’s Character

1. Ask Behavioral Interview Questions

Interviews are the perfect time to learn more about a candidate. However, the key to an effective interview is asking the right questions. Instead of making inquires that simply elicit yes or no answers, or asking common open ended questions candidates can easily respond to with rehearsed answers, consider incorporating  behavioral questions into the interview. Behavioral questions will scratch beneath the surface and reveal telling insights about the person’s character. For example, instead of asking if they have good time management skills, have them to describe a time when they had to manage numerous priorities and to explain how they made it work.

2. Perform a Reference Check

Instead of only utilizing a candidate’s references to verify employment, use them as a reference check as well. After all, a candidate’s references can offer a host of incredibly beneficial insights. Since professional references are typically former managers, colleagues or clients, they often have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to work with the candidate and have a deeper understanding of their work ethic, abilities, attitude and integrity. This a golden opportunity to learn about the candidate in a way a resume cannot convey.

3. Conduct a Social Media Search

Most candidates will have a public social media presence. Performing a quick search to see the type of content they are posting can help you determine their fit for the job and with the company. Of course, tread carefully to ensure your well-intentioned research does not pose a legal risk. Generally speaking, wait until after the initial interview. The reason for passing on a candidate due to content found on social media should be documented and everyone vying for the job should be subject to the search. Check with HR before taking action.

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It was my distinct pleasure working for RealStreet, aka KJMK, on separate FEMA disaster recovery assignments and long-term recovery planning assignments between October 2004 and May 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, Francis and Wilma. I found working with these professionals enjoyable as well as self-fulfilling and rewarding. After a 9-year stint as Read More…

Steve Spry, CAPZO, Certified Alabama Planning and Zoning Official

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