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In a recent post, we discussed how to recruit rockstars for your small business. Now that you have a giant applicant pool, how do you make sure you’re hiring the best and most talented? Today, we ‘ll help you develop a process that focuses on finding the right fit for your team. It’s kind of like a reality television talent show.

Step 1: Determine who is qualified

Finding the person with the right experience is usually the most objective part of the audition process. By writing your job posting or reaching out for referrals, you should already have a set of qualifications ready to measure your candidate pool against. Taking those skill sets and finding the right way to evaluate candidates against them is the first step in the process.

If you watch popular reality talent discovery shows like American Idol, you know it’s important to balance the skills that are required (the ability to carry a tune) and those that can be developed through coaching (leather pants and a mullet). You can use this same premise when reviewing resumes by setting measurable priorities for each of the types of experience you need. For example, if you are looking for an experienced accountant, you may prioritize knowing Quickbooks over the ability to type 60 wpm.

Step 2: Thin the herd

The next step is to choose the top three to five candidates to invite to an interview. Why so few? Without Simon Cowell to help you out, auditioning more than five candidates can be overwhelming when trying to compare them against each other. If these first choices don’t work out, you can always dip back into the talent pool to select additional applicants for an interview.

Step 3: Choose your interview process

After you choose your top applicants, it’s time to start interviewing. The interview process you choose, however, depends a lot on the type of role you are filling. They don’t check singing talent on So You Think You Can Dance, and cooking isn’t an option on The Voice. Just like each show focuses its process on finding the best in a skill set, so should you.

For example, if it’s a role that requires a significant amount of phone work, conduct a phone conversation as the first interview. This gives you a chance to have the same first impression with your candidate that your customers will have over the phone. If the candidate conveys a professional and energetic manager on the phone with you, there is a good chance they will do the same with your customers.

Likewise, the same principle applies to jobs that require a significant amount of in-person customer interaction. Invite them to your office for an interview and weigh the professionalism in their interaction with your team against the interaction you expect with your customer. A favorite recruiter technique is to check in with the receptionist to see how the candidate interacted with the first point of contact for the company, as that can predict how they will interact with your customers.

Step 4: Determine which questions to ask

Deciding which questions to ask is an important part of the process. Avoid yes or no questions, or questions that are already answered by the resume (i.e. “what is your current title”). Instead, let them sing. Ask questions that require the candidate expounding on their experience, their relationships with their current employer and their career goals. You can also ask them to share with you their thoughts on your company and how they would fit into the role and the company culture. Evaluate their answers against the mission, vision and values of your company.

For inspiration, check out our founder, Mitchell Harper’s, 7 interview questions to ask to help determine if you have the right person for the role.

Step 5: Select the interview team

Another critical element of the interview process is to determine who will be the right evaluators and interviewers for the position. Just as in the popular TV audition shows, getting consensus on your rockstar is often a very difficult, if not impossible task. To avoid the pitfall of split decisions on candidates, limit interviewers to those who will be working closely with the candidate.  Make sure that all interviewers are trained on compliant interviewing practices, and decide before the interview who will ultimately turn around the chair and make the offer.

Step 6: Debrief and decide

Unlike a reality show, choosing the best candidate isn’t as easy as asking your audience to call a 1-800 number. As soon as possible after the interview, sit down with your interviewing team and discuss the candidates based on experience, fit to your company culture and overall impressions of the candidate’s ability to be successful in the role. Once you’ve determined the best, the next step is offer delivery and negotiation.

In our next post, we’ll discuss how to get your rockstar to join your label and avoid diva-worthy contract negotiations!

How do you audition the best rockstars?



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