Have you ever hired someone for a position believing that she was a great fit, only to find out later that she isn’t what you thought she was? Surveys have shown that most interviewers think they do a good job identifying winners and losers. However, interviews are actually the least reliable interview method. Don’t rely just on instinct or gut feel next time you have to make a hiring decision. Here are a few tips to help you find the best candidates for your organizations.

1. Use an Application. Require all candidates to complete a comprehensive application form. Don’t let them write “see resume” to substitute for work experience. Resumes are often an exercise in creative writing and point to a candidate’s strengths while leaving off red flags.

Application forms should have a disclaimer at the bottom reminding candidates that you are an at-will employer and that untruthful answers will be grounds for termination, even if discovered in the future. Candidates who balk at completing an application provide clues about their willingness to follow instructions.

Notice how carefully and completely the application form is completed. Pay attention to vague or incomplete answers. I recently noticed that a sales candidate had put “N/A” next to a question about sales targets and achievements. Really? I thought it was rather relevant, and this candidate didn’t advance to the next interview stage.

2. Conduct Team Interviews. Involve several team members in the interview process. Each team member will bring a unique perspective. It’s especially helpful to let the candidate and team members get to know each other to make sure they have the right chemistry to work well together. Pay attention to the feedback of team members.

3. Schedule Realistic Job Previews. Consider inviting candidates to participate in a job preview. Candidates often don’t really understand what the job entails. Interviewers and candidates alike can readily determine if the candidate has the right skills by observing him doing the job. Keep in mind that the job preview experience must be paid at no less than minimum wage if the candidate is doing any work for the benefit of the company as part of the preview. Even so, this is a much more cost-effective interview method than discovering later you have hired the wrong person.

4. Forget Desperation. Don’t hire out of desperation. It’s better to get the right person in the job than just a warm body. The cost of a mis-hire can be three to five times the salary of the employee. Consider the hidden costs of turnover, lost business, diminished productivity, and low morale that can result from a poor hiring decision.

Wonderful, well-qualified candidates are looking for good jobs. Follow these tips to make sure you find them.


Thanks Carol for this great insight to help the clients of Payroll Experts, here in Utah and elsewhere, make good hiring decisions. Click to learn more about our Utah Human Resources Services.


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