The U.S. unemployment rate has plummeted to right around 4 percent in recent weeks. And while that’s great news for the economy, it’s definitely not ideal if you’re trying to find the perfect candidate to fill a job at your company.

Whether you’re looking for someone to serve as a receptionist and greet visitors at the entrance to your office or you’re in search of a CEO with the right personality traits to be the face of your company, you’re likely finding it more difficult than ever to fill open jobs.

If you need a hand, here are some tips that will help you track down the perfect candidate for any position.

Create a Detailed Job Listing

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The first thing you’ll need to do when trying to fill a position at your company is to create a job listing and post it on job sites. This job listing should serve two purposes:

  1. It should clearly outline the skills you want the perfect candidate to possess
  2. It should give all candidates a rundown on what your company is all about and what you have to offer to those seeking a job

This job listing should be as detailed as it can possibly be so that you only attract the right candidates for the position.

If you want candidates to have X amount of years working in your specific industry, you should include that. If you want them to have X amount of years of college education, you should include that, too. You should lay out exactly who you want your ideal candidate to be.

Additionally, you should provide interested candidates with what you’ll be looking for from the person who earns the job. You don’t want there to be any confusion in the future about what the job entails.

Avoid Setting Up Standard Job Interviews

Is there anything more boring than sitting down with a candidate and asking them a bunch of stock questions about their education and work experience? They’ll likely provide you with the same answers over and over again. It won’t give you a chance to find your perfect candidate if you take this approach.

Instead of going the standard route, how about taking a more creative approach to the interview process? You can:

  • Provide the best candidates for a job with a tour of your office or facility and ask them questions along the way
  • Invite the best candidates to lunch or dinner and pick their brains as you enjoy a meal together
  • Take a walk around the block and see how the best candidates interact with the outside world to give you a better idea of what kind of people they really are

While you will obviously need to get down to business at some point and ask the perfect candidates questions about themselves, that doesn’t mean it has to be done in your average interview setting. It also doesn’t mean you have to ask the same old interview questions.

Get as creative as you can with your questions and really get to know candidates before you narrow down your search. You will be doing yourself and your company a favor by going all out with your interview questions.

Place Candidates Into Real-World Scenarios

In addition to asking job candidates questions about themselves and their work experience, you should also try and put them into real-world scenarios and ask them how they would react to certain situations if they were hired by your company.

Role-playing is a great way to find out more about a person who has applied for a job. For example, if you’re trying to hire someone to be a magazine editor, you might ask them something like:

  • “You just got a big scoop from an anonymous source. The source told you that a famous celebrity is pregnant and ready to give birth any day. One of your coworkers tells you that you should write a story about it immediately and publish it on the magazine’s website. What do you do?”

The candidate won’t actually have to sit down at the computer and decide whether or not to write the story. But their answer will tell you a lot about what you can expect from them if and when they start working for you.

Give Candidates Optional Homework

There are more and more companies who are keeping the interview process open long after the actual interview ends.

If you really want to find out what a candidate is made of, send them home with a homework assignment and ask them to send it to you when they’re finished.

This will show how committed candidates are to a job, as many people will opt against doing additional work after an interview. These are the kinds of people you probably don’t want working at your company in the first place.

Ask Colleagues for Second Opinions

Once you have done all of your interviews and sifted through the choices you have, it will be time to narrow down your search.

Usually, there will be a handful of people who will stand out to you. Whether you liked the answers they gave during their interviews or they blew you away with the response they gave to your hypothetical workplace scenario, you’ll have a few favorites.

At that point, you should ask your colleagues to share their thoughts on specific candidates. You shouldn’t be trying to find the perfect candidate alone. Instead, you should trust those who work with you to lend a hand.

Sit down with a few colleagues and tell them about the best candidates. You might even want to bring those candidates in for second and third interviews with others in your company.

Your colleagues will be able to pick up on certain things you might have missed. It will be well worth your time to include them in the decision when searching for a perfect candidate.

Make Diversity a Priority in Your Hiring Practices

While you shouldn’t hire candidates based solely on gender or race, you do want to keep diversity in mind when trying to find the perfect candidate. You want to have people of all backgrounds working in your office or facility to make it the best it can be.

Diversity should be something you strive for, and it should also be something that is discussed at the highest levels of your company.

Always Check References Provided by Candidates

All employers ask candidates to include references when applying for a job. The majority of them then follow through and use those references during the hiring process.

But it’s kind of surprising to hear that not all employers check references. References can be an invaluable resource for companies hiring new employees.

Before you offer a job to someone who seems like the perfect candidate, you should call at least one of their professional references and ask questions like:

  • What was it like working with this person?
  • What did they bring to the job when you worked with them?
  • Did you have a pleasant experience working alongside them?
  • How did they improve your company’s culture?
  • Would you recommend them to another company looking to hire the perfect candidate for a job?

The answers you get when checking a person’s references will tell you just about everything you need to know about them. If the references hesitate to give a person a glowing review, you probably have a cause for concern.

Trust Your Gut Before Offering Someone a Job

There are going to be times when you interview someone and they look and sound like the perfect candidate.

They have the right education to do the job you need them to do. They have plenty of experience in your field. They might even have great references from their past employers.

Yet, for whatever reason, you still have this nagging suspicion that they just wouldn’t be the right person for the job.

While you obviously don’t want to overthink your decision and spend weeks and weeks trying to make it, you also don’t want to ignore any gut feelings you might have.

If you think someone might not be right for a position at the end of the interview process, try your best to confirm your suspicions. Go back and interview another reference or use social media to see what you can find about a candidate.

In 2018, there are so many ways that you can do extensive background checks on people to see if they’re definitely the best fit for a job. Use everything you have at your disposal to decide if you’ve found the perfect candidate.

And if you’re not convinced that’s the case, then keep looking until you find someone who is perfect for the position.

About the author:

Friddy Hoegener is the Co-Founder of SCOPE Recruiting a boutique Supply Chain, Operations, and Executive recruiting firm. Friddy holds a Master of Social Entrepreneurship from HULT international business school in London, UK. He started his career in Supply Chain Management with ABB Germany before moving to the United States where he worked for Thomas and Betts as well as Kohler where he left a successful career in the supply chain to join the recruiting world. Today, Friddy and his team utilize their networks and knowledge to match some of the best supply chain and operations talent with exciting opportunities from Start-ups to Fortune500 companies.

Posted by Wendy Dessler

Wendy is a super connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized marketing plans depending on the industry and competition.

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