10 Considerations to Make Before Hiring a Candidate 

Stay Updated August 28, 2023
Close-up on a blue sign in the window of a shop displaying the message: Come in we're hiring.


10 Considerations to Make Before Hiring a Candidate 

Hiring the right candidate for the job is like hitting a home run. It takes skill, knowledge, and a bit of luck to find that perfect hire, especially in the current employment market.

The modern workplace is more dynamic than ever. The combination of fast-emerging technology, shifting expectations, and recent global events have transformed every industry, from manufacturing to web operations.

Now, we demand adaptability, creativity, and outside-the-box thinking. In turn, employees expect flexibility and more control over their working lives. 

So how do you filter through all of that to create an effective hiring process? 

Good employees are the backbone of any good business, which makes hiring foundational to success. This article will discuss the important things to consider when finding that perfect candidate.

What are the stages of the employee hiring process?

Each company should have its own selection process to suit its unique needs, but it can help to follow some general guidelines. 

  1. Establish the role/roles which need to be filled.
  2. Write the job description.
  3. Advertise the job.
  4. Filter applicants.
  5. Initial stage of interviews to narrow down candidates.
  6. More in-depth discussion with the most qualified candidates. This can include further interviews and skill demonstrations. 
  7. Background checks.
  8. Final hiring decisions.
  9. Checking references. 
  10. Onboarding the new employee(s). 

It sounds straightforward enough, but hiring the right candidate is anything but. There are many things to consider before you make that final decision.

10 considerations to make before hiring a candidate

Have you established a hiring process?

As we discussed above, the hiring process has some general guidelines, but every business will have its own unique needs. 

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It’s important to establish an effective, step-by-step hiring process before beginning.

What will the job description entail? Where will you advertise? Will you use automation to process the first wave of candidates? What interview questions will you ask? 

Knowing these things helps to standardize the hiring process, meaning nobody is winging it so much that they’re losing focus. 

Would the role benefit from internal or external candidates?

Whether you’re looking to hire managers for your call center WFM or web developers for your app team, one of the first things to consider when filling a role is: does your team already have the perfect candidate?

Many companies hire from within because employees already understand the company’s goals, culture, and people. But some jobs require an outside skill set or a fresh perspective, so it’s important to look at your employees and decide which direction you want to pursue. 

How are the candidate’s references? 

Following up on references is an integral part of the hiring process. 

Some previous employers will try to keep a reference at simple yes and no answers, but it can benefit you to push a little for a more in-depth assessment. 

And in today’s interconnected world, references can be found outside of the pre-prepared ones a candidate gives you. There’s a wealth of information available online if you want to get a more holistic view of your candidates. 

Social media can tell you a lot about a person. Since people are likely to be less guarded and more like their true selves online. You can even gain insight into a person’s values to see if they align with those of your company—a subject that is becoming increasingly important to businesses, employees, and customers. 

Sites like LinkedIn can provide extra references, too, by offering ways to contact previous colleagues and employers. 

Can they pass a background check?

Like references, background checks are a staple of an effective hiring process. In some industries, like healthcare, childcare, security, and finance, background checks are essential. 

For instance, if you’re hiring for a role where the employee has easy access to huge amounts of money, you might want to avoid candidates with a history of fraud charges. 

Background checks are important, and many red flags are instant grounds for rejection. 

But it can be beneficial to use your instincts when dealing with candidates with colorful pasts. A background check might flag poor debt management or past substance abuse, but that doesn’t mean the candidate is a write-off. People are complicated, and finding the perfect hire requires looking beyond what a document can tell you.

Are they curious?

Speaking of looking beyond what a document can tell you…

A resume can only tell you so much about a person. What it cannot tell you is how they interact with the world around them. 

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An ideal candidate should be open to learning new skills and growing with your company. Someone who is closed-off and set in their ways might be difficult to train, hostile to new opportunities, and likely to push back against change.

Here are a few key indicators to help determine someone’s curiosity:

  1. Do they ask interesting questions? 
  2. Do they provide thoughtful answers to your questions?
  3. Do they like learning new skills or trying new hobbies?
  4. Do they seem curious about their environment? 
  5. Do they act like they already know everything?

Craft questions and discussions to press your candidates on their curiosity. Some hiring experts suggest asking curveball questions, like “what animal would you be?” or “which superpower would you choose?”. These kinds of unusual questions can push your candidate to be more honest, open, and creative.

Are they adaptive?

Most candidates heading to a job interview know the ropes. There are certain questions and processes everyone expects, and a determined candidate will brush up on their answers. 

This can cause a problem for hiring managers. Pre-rehearsed answers to expected questions only prove that your candidate is good at memorizing things. 

There are ways to avoid this trap; as we mentioned earlier, it can be a good idea to throw your candidate a few curveballs. Get them out of the interview room and take them on a tour of the office. Let them meet people and have discussions with future colleagues. And ask them unusual questions to see if they can adapt and come up with interesting answers. 

There are also ways to test a candidate’s skill set on-the-fly, and this works especially well for jobs in technology. Set up skill tests like asking a web developer candidate to create an app on Platform.sh or asking an IT technician candidate to tinker with some hardware. 

Are they team players?

Social skills are valuable. Being able to work as part of a team is an important part of most jobs, so it’s a good idea to check how your candidates fit into your workplace culture.

Get them away from the interview space and take them on a tour of the workplace. 

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How do they treat their potential new colleagues? Are they asking lots of questions? Are they friendly? Do they speak to people respectfully? 

You can even take really promising hires out for lunch. How people treat waitstaff is a good indicator of their interpersonal skills. 

Do they impress others? 

After taking your candidate on a tour of the workplace, get some second opinions. 

We all think we’re the best judge of character, but everyone has blind spots. Who better to shine a light on yours than the very people your candidate is going to be working with? 

Ask your colleagues their opinions of the candidate; they might pick up on things you’ve missed. 

Are your own biases holding you back?

The hiring process doesn’t just involve the candidate–it’s important to consider how you’re approaching the process as well. 

It’s a difficult thing to admit, but we all have biases–many we aren’t even consciously aware of. 

It can be tempting to hire people who look just like you, think like you, and have the exact same skill sets and life experiences as you do, but think about the kind of environment that creates. 

By creating homogeny, you might be stifling creativity and innovation. You might be missing out on the wide variety of perspectives that bring new ideas to your company. 

Modern workplaces demand a diversity of people and outlooks to thrive in the modern world. Try to recognize your own biases and work on overcoming them. 

Some ways to do this are:

  • Use phone interviews to avoid judging a person on their looks.
  • Consider the word choices in your job descriptions–words like “competitive” and “driven” are shown to turn away female candidates, for example.
  • Blind the process of reading resumes–find ways to put skills and experience at the forefront and personal information like name, age, and gender on the back burner.
  • Set diversity goals to encourage more diverse hiring. 

Are you being too rigid?

The hiring process can fall prey to rigidity. Hiring can often feel like checking boxes, hoping to find the candidate who gets full marks across the board. 

Good references–check. All the right skills–check. Exact experience–check. 

But that can sometimes blind us to the ideal candidate. 

Maybe the candidate hasn’t got the exact experience you’re looking for, but they do have unique life experiences that will bring a fresh perspective to the role. Maybe the candidate has a flag on their background check, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t grown since then. Maybe you’re focused on young candidates, but someone much older comes along who can provide a wealth of knowledge.

Thinking outside the box isn’t just for your candidates; it’s important to examine the adaptability of your own hiring decisions.

In conclusion

Hiring the perfect candidate isn’t just checking boxes; it’s an art form that requires skill, instinct, and knowledge to get right. 

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Using the tips laid out in this article, your hiring team can create an effective hiring process that looks outside the checkboxes and into the value a candidate can bring to your company.