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HIRING TIP OF THE MONTH: The smart way to narrow down your list of candidates.

Posted on: January 5th, 2017 | Category: hiring process, How To Hire Good Employees, Our Blog

hiring tips and mistakesHiring a new employee is a critical and expensive endeavor for any company, and in the last decade or so it has gotten more and more convoluted and risky. Sadly, 2017 will most likely not end this trend.

Once upon a time, hiring meant that we placed employment ads, collected resumes and then screened to find the right person—or something to that effect. “Weeding out” non-ideal candidates could be a challenge, but nothing compares to the hurdles that employers now face when it comes to seeking the right hire.

With the job market being what it is, the volatile economic climate and seemingly endless ways social media outlets allow us to connect to one another, employers must be on high alert when hiring,” says myHR Partner President Tina Hamilton, PHR. “Not only can poor or out-of-date screening techniques yield a bad hire, they can even prevent your business from growing or expose you to legal risks.”

This is not the scenario anyone bargains for when they go to fill an empty seat. With all this in mind, myHR Partner will be offering monthly hiring tips this year to help modern employers navigate today’s hiring.


What does the talent pool really look like?

Fact 1: Your available workforce is a mixed bag of:

  • Your strongest contenders
  • A solid, reliable middle grouping of candidates
  • The definite “do not considers”
  • A fairly large group of people with various patterns of unsteady employment relationships that may not be easily understood

Fact 2: That last mystery group may be in the unfortunate position of having to do whatever it takes to gain employment.

Given the mix of talent you’ll find in that file of resumes, it’s up to you to weed out the non-contenders through strategic and analytical resume review, interview, and reference-checking techniques. Below are some of our recommended tips for narrowing the field down.*


Be warned if your candidate exhibits 3 or more of the following 11 behaviors:

  1. hiring tipsApplication tricks, such as applying for work under alias email addresses or abbreviated names after already being rejected.
  2. References do not include any past supervisors.
  3. Hiding their true job titles.
  4. Hiding / inaccurate dates of employment.
  5. They call their termination a lay-off. (In their defense, however, this may be the story that was told to them.)
  6. They were the only one laid off at their company or in their department.
  7. They say everything you want to hear, but it does not align with their background or attitude.
  8. They state they are willing to work in a role that is well beyond their skills or career history.
  9. Their employment history shows a steady pattern of short tenures or seemingly random changes from employer to employer.
  10. They attempt to convince you that they are adaptable to a job they have never held, despite sound evidence to the contrary.
  11. They treat a member of your company with disrespect during the interview process or do not want to participate in the traditional hiring process.
*Disclaimer: The tips provided are a general guide and do not apply universally to all candidates.


References: A window into a candidate’s potential

Don’t pass on checking references because of time constraints, please! Once you’ve whittled the pool of candidates, keep an eye out if any of them can’t provide positive supervisory references. References should include positive testimonials from past supervisors. You should also obtain a thorough understanding of the work environment that the candidate came from. What was acceptable in that environment? How does that work environment compare to yours? (Remember that what might be considered exceptional behavior at the candidate’s previous company might be mediocre at yours.) What was the prior supervisor’s management style like, and how does it compare to yours? Really consider these things you learn from reference checks, because they can be a valuable insight into each candidate.

One way to make your reference checking efforts worthwhile is to explain your environment and then ask how the past employer feels the candidate will adapt. Also remember that employers may feel badly when their employees are out of work, especially when their unemployment compensation rates are hitting the roof.

Consider all factors when conducting reference checks, and make an analytical determination of the candidate based on the information you receive.

Use better hiring practices, get better results

Don’t wait for the next we-needed-it-filled-yesterday position to open up at your company before you improve your hiring practices. The time to do it is now. You’d love to do it, you say, but you’re team has no time? Outsource the process with our hiring management services. Our fees are based only on the work we do, never on a per-hire basis, so your company’s best long-term interests are always our focus. myHR Partner also offers myHR DirectLink to help you retain and nurture those great hires by implementing our award winning outsourced human resources services.

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myHR Partner’s periodic publication, MODERN EMPLOYER, is created for business executives, owners and HR professionals who want to maximize their human resource functions using progressive hiring and HR strategies. It’s informative, fun and practical. Oh, and it’s FREE too!

You’ll discover:

  • Tips on hiring, screening, and interviewing
  • Creative ideas to help retain your best employees
  • Ways to put the “human” back in Human Resources
  • How to perform effective reference checks
  • New HR regulations and how they affect you and your employees
  • How small changes in certain processes can have big results
  • How to tell when partnering with an outside provider is in your best interest
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.