How to Make Sure You Hire the Best Applicant for the Job

If you’re a small business owner, chances are that hiring can be one of your most stressful duties. After all, hiring the right person for your team can make all the difference in the world. Get the right person for the job, and you’re set to see your bottom line soar. But hire the wrong candidate, and you’ve got a whole mess of trouble on your hands.

Hiring the best job applicants

Let’s take a moment to relieve some of that stress. In this post, we’ll focus on what you need to know to make sure you hire the best applicant for the job. Let’s take a look.

Always conduct background checks

One thing you should absolutely put first in your considerations when hiring is a background check. While it’s important to be trusting of your employees, including potential employees, a little bit of diligence never hurt. What should you look for when doing a background check for a job? These are some of the key items:

  • Criminal history check
  • Past employment verification
  • Education verification
  • Previous employer relationships

You can learn a lot about an applicant from this information, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of a background check service.

Prioritize in-office interviews

Getting applicants in your office for a face-to-face meeting is key when trying to decide among multiple qualified applicants. Getting people in for interviews has a number of benefits.

First, it gives you a chance to see how they conduct themselves in a high-stress and professional setting. The way they dress, whether they look you in the eye, and the way they answer questions can all be key clues into how they will behave as an employee.

Second, you’ll be able to let them meet the rest of your team. Not every hiring manager does this, but it’s a good way to see if there will be synergy between that employee and the existing team – crucial if you want to keep up your workflow.

Job applicants waiting for an interview

Think about skills in addition to experience

Experience is important, but it’s not the whole story. Someone can work a job for many years, be completely stagnant, and not really develop any interesting or applicable skills.

Contrastingly, an upstart and motivated employee might have worked somewhere for only 6 months, but took the time to learn valuable skills that they can bring to bear for your organization. It’s hard to tell exactly how much skill an employee has acquired, but having tests of skill during in-office interviews is a good way to gauge their skill level.

Recognize diversity in experience

Experience is still pretty important, though. One tip we always recommend is to be open-minded about experience. Sometimes, an applicant can appear to have the perfect education and experience profile on paper, but once you get them in the office you see that their skills are only skin-deep, and their experience hasn’t taught them as much as you’d have hoped.

Some people come in with little experience in your exact industry, but with valuable related (or even unrelated!) experience that actually makes them a useful asset. Those with diverse experience and multiple valuable skillsets show that they have a strong desire to learn. That kind of initiative is priceless for a small business, and should definitely be rewarded.

Listen to your gut

Lastly, it’s important to rely on your instincts from time to time. Sometimes you meet with a candidate and just get a bad vibe – it’s hard to explain, but it’s totally okay. If someone just isn’t a good interpersonal match, that’s a good sign that working together day after day may be a struggle.

If something screams red flag, or else just seems off about a candidate when you meet them for an interview, it’s okay to keep looking. Chances are, you’ll have plenty of other qualified and high-quality applicants lined up, ready to interview with your company.

Hiring for a small business is no doubt difficult, but with the right tactics and strategy, it can be done well. Remember: everything takes time, especially things that are worth-while. If you can afford it, don’t rush the first applicant into the job. Take your time to make a decision, and your company will benefit in the long-run.


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