Informed candidates make hiring easier. Job seekers who do their homework:
- Know more about what it’s like to work for your company
- Ask smarter questions in the interview process
- Accept offers because they see a mutual fit
- in the role
- in your company’s mission and values
- in your company culture
- Are more likely to turn into productive, long-term employees
Searching for the Right Fit
But how do you know which candidates are the most informed out of the pile of applications you have to sift through? And once you choose your top applicants, how do you screen them to find out who is the most informed — and prepared for the interview process and, finally, the job ahead? Read on to find out how to review applications and conduct phone screens to close in on a handful of informed candidates.
Checklist for Reviewing Applications
Informed candidates apply to jobs they are qualified for — at companies they want to work for, which is a win for everyone.
You’ll recognize informed candidates because they:
- Tailor their resume to map back to the job description
- Meet most of the job’s qualifications in the following areas:
- Write a cover letter, which may mention:
- Passion for the company’s brand or mission
- Out-of-the-box experience related to the job or the industry
- An understanding of the company, its leadership, and/or business challenges
- An explanation if specific requirements are missing
- Willingness to learn and grow
- Come to you through employee referrals or high quality recruiting channels
Checklist for Screening Candidates
Once you’ve got a candidate on the phone or video screen, you have a limited amount of time to ask pointed questions that will bring out the best in the candidate — or expose any shortcomings. These questions will give you information that helps you decide which applicants to invite for an interview with the hiring manager and your team.
Since there are multiple areas you need to screen for, pick and choose from the following lists to find the questions that will work for your specific needs.
Knowing where candidates get their information helps you understand how thorough they are. Did they go beyond the obvious sources such as your careers site to learn about your company’s business and culture? Ask and find out.
- What resources did you use to research our company?
- What are two things about our company that stand out to you?
- What prompted you to apply for this job?
ROLE & RESPONSIBILITIES
Knowledge of the role is the most critical piece of being an informed candidate. Use these questions to find out how well the applicant understands the role and why he or she feels it’s a fit.
- In your own words, what would you say are the three top priorities of this role?
- What skills or prior experience would you draw on in this role?
- What interests you most about this role?
- What do you see as the growth opportunities for you in this role?
- Name two things you would need to learn to perform at full capacity in this role?
MISSION & VALUES
Alignment with your company’s mission and values results in workers who will give you their best and stay longer.
- In your own words, what would you say is our company mission?
- What excites you about working for a company that [your mission]?
- How do you feel that your skills and experience would contribute to our company’s goals and mission?
- Are you familiar with our company’s values?
- If you had to guess, what are three of our core company values?
- What does [stated value] mean to you in your day-to-day work?
A good culture fit is also a culture add: an informed candidate who brings something new to the workplace while getting the job done efficiently. Because the role may be right for one candidate while the culture may not, screen to find out why he or she belongs to your company versus the same role at another company.
- Why are you looking to leave your current job?
- Name two things about our company culture that you find attractive.
- What about our company culture would help you thrive?
- How does your work style align with our company culture?
- How do you think you would add to our company culture?
- Why would you want to work at our company over [competitor]?
FUTURE PROSPECTS & BUSINESS CHALLENGES
Informed candidates have not only educated themselves on the company and the role they also know they need to familiarize themselves with the marketplace. Ask these questions to find out how market-savvy a candidate is.
- What would you say is the biggest business problem facing our company?
- What do you think we do well compared to our competitors?
- What excites you about the future of our company?
LISTEN FOR QUESTIONS
Informed candidates ask questions because they know a fit is a two-way street. As you speak to each candidate, notice the questions they ask. Listen for:
- Questions about specific aspects of the role and the team
- Questions about your company culture Statements about the company’s business challenges or marketplace position
- Questions about senior leadership and overall business objectives
- Mentions of specific internal events, benefits or employee engagement activities
- Mentions of Glassdoor reviews, company updates, videos or photos
- Discussion of recent company news or product developments
- Mentions of the company blog or activity on social media channels
Prepare for the Next Step
As you evaluate your responses and choose the best candidates to bring in, remember to follow up with rejected applicants in a timely fashion. Then get ready for the interview process, keeping in mind that the people you bring in are always evaluating you, too.
Informed candidates are more likely to leave interview reviews on Glassdoor, as they have benefited from others doing the same. Be sure to check your interview reviews regularly, and make any necessary adjustments to ensure your interview process is smooth and fair.
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1. Based on app-to-hire ratios in a 2015 study of 30 million applications from a leading third-party recruitment agency; 2 Glassdoor.com U.S. Site Survey, Aug 2016; 3. Deloitte, Becoming Irresistible, February 2015