Five Important Hiring Tips

When selecting candidates for interviewing, most hiring managers glance through a pile of very professional and glossy resumes – keeping their eyes peeled for reputable education, skill sets and past work experiences. Once a handful of resumes makes the ‘maybe’ pile, they will begin to drill down . It is understood that any worthy candidate will know how to ‘wow’ your company and take great care in crafting the verbiage to grab your attention. This is especially true when speaking to candidates who are applying for a commercial role, like sales and marketing. This is where the hiring managers must read between the lines to ensure that the candidate’s printed version matches up with the company’s needs. Hiring mistakes are common and can cost your company thousands of dollars, not to mention time setbacks that will be felt by the entire team. Let’s take a look at five key hiring tips and discover some lessons for success.

1. Be Skeptical, Not Gullible.

Read carefully now, for this may be the most crucial step you take before hiring a new candidate… 


Most employers trust the application too easily and assume that all candidates have the necessary work experience, valid driver’s license and clean criminal records. Ironically, some candidates bank on this presumption and either leave out some pertinent details or overcompensate in other areas. Unfortunately, companies have invested massive hours in training new hires to deploy into sales fields and then find out that their prize new hire doesn’t have a valid driver’s license! 

On the same note, really give attention to the specifics used to describe their accomplishments. For example, ‘collaborated’ doesn’t guarantee ‘done.’ Put your fingers on what was actually delivered, completed or accomplished. Determine who actually owned and executed the work. 

Lastly, don’t just rely on the references listed on the hiring application but invest some additional time to peruse their social media accounts to better understand their out of office disposition. Find out what they are posting. Follow up with what they are sharing. Is it professional or disreputable? You may discover that your ‘perfect’ candidate doesn’t measure up so well.

2. Hire With Your Head, Not Your Heart.

Many times, candidates bring a certain charisma or mutual connection that provides him/her a boost in the interview process. Since these attributes can overshadow the caution flags, hiring managers must learn to take the emotion out of the hiring process and become objective. Otherwise, these situations can easily lead to emotional hires. If you think you may struggle with this balance, then best to be honest and reach out to a 3rd party to engage during the process. It is always suggested to entertain several rounds of interviews to validate your candidate. 

3. Think Backwards.

This may sound unusual but take some time and remember your previous best hires. What were their attributes? What made them stand-out at your company? What did those successful employees do to get their goals accomplished? The over-arching message here is that many times people hire based on preconceived notions that the candidate will be good at a particular expertise or area. However, if you took away his/her area of expertise, would you still hire them? Hiring managers cannot afford to have tunnel vision on a particular skill set, nor a particular candidate. Ask yourself if the candidate may be able to replicate the success of previous successful employees.

4. Turn The Tables

Now that you have done your homework on the candidate and scheduled the interview, it’s time to do your homework on your interview. The interview cannot just be a pre-designed dry set of questions. The interview must draw out what drives the candidate, as well as assess cultural fit. Deliver questions in a way that gauges learning agility, natural curiosity and passion. At some point, the candidate should naturally turn the tables and start asking you engaging questions. If this does not happen, be worried.

Once the final candidates are designated, bring each one back for a sit-down, 360 degree interview with other managers, subordinates, and peers. The perfect candidate will not be someone that doesn’t mesh with the entire team!

Remember that the candidate is also interviewing your company. The better the job applicant may be, the more delicately you’ll have to balance “selling the job” with “qualifying the candidate.” The Hiring Manager should clearly outline not only what will be expected but also how and when it will be measured. In addition, the Hiring Manager should be truthful about workplace culture, politics and growth opportunities.

5. Fire Fast

Finally, a strong hiring program consists of a 30-60-90 day plan for performance evaluation. The new hire is expected to adhere to their responsibilities, just as you are expected to adhere to yours. It is up to the company to on-board the new hire. This step goes far beyond showing them their new office, bathrooms and fire exits. The team is expected to train, coach, role-play and mentor the new hire.

With that said and assuming your company is holding up its end of the bargain, there are several key things to explore during the performance evaluations. Obviously you need to look at what the new hire actually accomplished. Results need to be proven by the 3rd month. 

You can look for early signs that indicate if a new hire was a good decision. Does your new hire clock in on-time or better yet, early? Do they tend to be the first out the door at the end of the day? Has he or she already asked to leave early or requested time off that wasn’t initially discussed? Is your new hire showing interest and learning who and what to ask, in order to get the desired results? Or do you hear excuses for missed deadlines and/or inefficient work? What or how does the team react to the new hire – i.e. complaints, avoidance?

Feel free to fire fast! In fact, it’s encouraged during this stage. New hires need to be absolutely amazing during their first 90 days – aka The Honeymoon Phase. There are some things that cannot be coached - like team cohesiveness, professional desire, dedication, work ethic, interest or focus. Stop wasting your time as well as your New Hire’s time.

In conclusion, the number one indicator of future performance is past performance. This is true, even if the candidate does not possess the relevant skill set that you are searching for.  If the resume or job application does not key into past experience, ask the candidate for a copy of relevant awards, sample work, rankings from corporate, etc. Regardless what samples you ask for, complete a valid fact check on key resume points. Reference checks are an opportunity for the previous/current employers to bask the candidate in light. Take the emotion out of the hiring process and focus on facts, use a structured template, and ensure you are being as transparent as possible. At the end of the day, let character and past work experiences lead the way during the hiring process. 

By Michel Koopman & Robert Greer

If you like help with your talent acquisition, on-boarding, employee development or engagement, please contact us at