14 Candidate Questions

How many times has your heart been broken by a candidate that looked good at first and then fizzled as the interview process got rolling? This article provides a template for you or your staff to examine and review when evaluating people. It’s a tool for reducing the amount of time that you waste in pursuing candidates that will ultimately not get hired. These 14 items are things to look for with everyone that you evaluate.

  1. Does the candidate have the skills necessary for the job you are recruiting for? If they do have the skills, are they current or were they used several years ago?
  2. Has the candidate stayed at companies for a reasonable amount of time (2-4 years) or have they jumped around every year? If they have jumped around, do they have valid reasons for doing so?
  3. Have they been at their current company for too long (6+ years)? If so, they may be very resistant to actually leaving (even if they say otherwise).
  4. Has the candidate been a contractor much of the time? If you’re looking for a contractor this is fine but if you’re looking for a permanent employee this could be a snag.
  5. Is the candidate local? Local is always better. Some companies may pay for relocation but more things can fall through with an out-of-state candidate.
  6. What about their personality and communication skills? Do they have a weak presentation? Do they sound confident or like a mouse? Do you trust what they are saying or does something sound fishy? Do they speak with pride or do they put you to sleep? Do they sound arrogant? For some highly technical positions it may not matter as much but generally this is a very important area.
  7. Is this a position that will be a step up for them? If not, you need to understand why they would go to a company for a step down or sideways.
  8. Has the candidate worked for quality companies? You can guess that they have some quality skills if they have worked for Oracle, Microsoft, Xerox etc.
  9. Do they have a valid reason for leaving (more responsibilities, not able to expand their skills, unstable company) or is it a questionable reason (“I’m always looking,” “more money”)? Without a valid “wound,” they will be easily swayed when it comes time to walk into their boss’s office and say, “I quit.”
  10. How much total industry experience do they have? If the person has the title of “Director” but graduated from college 3 years ago, that’s a flag.
  11. Has the person worked in a similar industry and company size compared with the position you are recruiting for? This is not so important with some technical positions because the skills often transfer between industries. But if you are looking for a Controller for a large law firm, someone who has been a Controller with a small manufacturing company may not be a fit.
  12. Does the person have relevant certifications (CPA, MCSE etc.) for the position?
  13. Are their salary expectations reasonable?
  14. Is the candidate willing to make a decision on an offer within 24 hours of receiving it?

Having the right answers to any single question above does not necessarily mean the person is a fit, and the wrong answer does not necessarily mean the person is not a fit. These questions, when combined, will give you valuable information about a candidate’s marketability. You will save yourself from an acid stomach at the end of a search by soberly assessing a candidate’s skills and interests at the front end of the process.

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Gary Stauble believes you should work hard and play harder. He assists owners and their teams in implementing leading edge strategies that create the biggest impact with the minimum effective dose of effort. You can download his complimentary report entitled “$1 Million Time Management” on his website. In the report, you’ll learn 9 time management secrets of a $1 million producer. Get your complimentary copy now at www.TheRecruitingLab.com.

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1 Comment on “14 Candidate Questions

  1. Man. Do your readers “get” how great this material is?

    When I first got into the recruiting business, I thought all of these little templates were proprietary to big, established companies like MRI. Later, I was delighted to find that they were all available for a PRICE through Fordyce. That leveled the playing field for me — although at the time, they weren’t cheap.

    The fact that you are giving them away here floors me.

    Your blogging platform should have a “print this document” button at the bottom of each article.

    That’s the only thing that’s missing. A section for podcasts would be great too.

    Peace,
    Harry Joiner
    Ph. (678) 795-0900

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