Recruiting Well-Rounded Candidates

Recruiting the right talent is hard work. High unemployment rates may swell your candidate pool, but sorting through all those resumes for the proper combination of skills and cultural fit can be grueling. Given today's lean and over-worked staffs, the cost of onboarding a new employee is higher than ever. Selecting the right candidate demands more due diligence in our current job climate.

Hard Skills

First, filter your applicants based on whether they have the hard skills required for the position. Hard skills are tangible and measurable, therefore they are easy to vet. They include things like software proficiencies and certifications. Fortunately, if you have a promising candidate that lacks something on your checklist, hard skills can usually be taught. However, you should determine ahead of time how much training you can accommodate. Keep in mind that there will already be a learning period and resources diverted just to train the candidate on organization-specific processes.

Soft Skills and Cultural Fit

Soft skills are related to personality and behavior. They indicate whether or not an individual will thrive in your company's culture. Soft skills include communication and collaboration styles, as well as the ability to give and receive feedback. These skills can sometimes be taught, but this tends to be more challenging than teaching hard skills. Successful training depends on:

  1. The candidate's willingness to be coached.
  2. The time and attention the trainer has to provide in this area.
  3. The trainer's experience and ability to be an effective coach.

Most organizations lack the in-house resources to handle this type of training. It is often time-consuming, and usually difficult to carry out and evaluate. Don't undertake this unless you're confident that you have the time and talent necessary.

Evaluating Soft Skills

In-person interviews only provide a fraction of the insight required to evaluate an individual's soft skill set. Additionally, a DISC behavioral assessment can assist in determining how well an individual will function within the team. This assessment will not only help you understand whether or not there's a cultural fit, but how to motivate and manage the individual. We recommend that the DISC assessment account for approximately 25% of your evaluation. DISCs are supported in an online format. For details, see our previous post on this subject.

Recruiting Roadmap

1. Develop a job posting (if it is an existing position, this information can be extracted from the internal job description) :

  • Benchmark the necessary hard skills by:
    • analyzing the responsibilities of current employees in similar positions
    • reviewing industry-standard specifications
    • examining your organization's previous job postings
    • soliciting feedback from your team or management
  • Identify desirable soft skills, such as:
    • clear communication style
    • strong collaboration skills
    • willingness to give and receive feedback
    • effective multi-tasking
    • creative problem solving
  • List required education and certifications

2. Determine if recruiting will be handled internally or by an outside professional. If it will be handled internally, identify appropriate forums for posting. Usually, job search websites are ideal. For example, is great for listing IT openings, may be better for operational and administrative positions.

3. Use multiple evaluations in your hiring process:

  • Phone interview (screens for candidates you want to interview onsite)
  • In-person interviews (multiple rounds, depending on the level of the position)
  • Technical test (if applicable)
  • DISC Assessment
  • Background check
  • Reference check

Don't underestimate the importance of professional chemistry. Would you want this person on your team? If a candidate has gaps in both hard and soft skills, don't settle. No matter how great your need, a poor hire will only make matters worse, draining time, dollars and morale.

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