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Evaluating Candidates Outside Their Resume: 3 Things to Consider

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A resume and cover letter are good – often even great – introductions to job candidates. But that’s all they are.

To get to know a person before moving them to your shortlist of potential hires, you need an interview process, of course. As you meet with and otherwise assess applicants, here are three tools that can help, above and beyond, the documents they submitted to get their foot in the door.


1. The STAR Method

The STAR Method is a great way to assess candidates’ past behavior to indicate their future performance. You know the competencies, skills, and traits you’re looking for, so design a series of interview questions around them. Prompt applicants to talk about their past experiences and, to accurately assess their responses, think STAR:

  • Have them take you back to a specific situation. It could be from their current role, a previous job, or even a team or other organization they’ve been involved in. A keyword here, and throughout the STAR process, is specific. Have them paint a detailed picture.
  • You need to understand the task they were facing. They should identify a target and clarify the goal they were trying to achieve.
  • What actions did they take to hit that target? Look for the ability to problem solve, innovate, and come up with the best solution.
  • Finally, they should share the end result. Again, it should tie back to their identified target and goal. Ask for measurable outcomes.

2. Feedback from Others

After an interview, track down others within your company who interacted with a candidate, whether in person, on the phone, or virtual. You may be surprised – hopefully in a good way – by what you learn about a person beyond the practiced persona they offer when they meet with you.

  • Check references. All too often, companies skip this step in the interest of time to fill a position. Don’t cut this corner. Find out about candidates’ track records from the people who know it best. From former employers, learn about projects they worked on, their growth potential, and how well they got along with others. You can also touch on such intangible strengths as punctuality and the ability to consistently meet deadlines.

3. Their Interview Questions

All suitable candidates should have a list of their own questions – about the job, your company, your industry, and your culture. Are the questions insightful? Do they show a high level of interest and enthusiasm? From candidates’ questions, you can also glean valuable information about how they process data, take the initiative, and show other important leadership skills.

Work with the Search Wizards Pros

Does your talent acquisition team need more horsepower in 2021? As you source and assess candidates for your team, consider working with Search Wizards. Because talent acquisition isn’t just what we do, it’s all we do. Put our extensive industry network and proven expertise to work for you by contacting us today.



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