January 15, 2022

How to Choose the Right Candidate

Kathy Nguyen

Pay Extra Attention to the Application

The first step in the hiring process requires an application. It is important to pay close attention to how people will deal with the initial interaction. Does the applicant write a compelling cover letter and then follow up with an email? Do they follow up with the company and give them a phone call? A person who takes the time to be “remembered” shows that they are a serious candidate and shows great interest in the position. A way to weed out candidates who are just blasting through their cover letters is to add a special code or hashtag to the application. When the hiring manager reads through the cover letters and does not see the special code or hash such as “#ireadtheapplication” on there then they know the candidate is not right for their company. It shows the candidate was not paying attention to details and that is important in every job.

Do More Than Ask Questions at The Interview

When it comes to interviewing candidates it is important to sit down with them and ask the standard questions and ask them about their work experience. It would be beneficial to see how well the candidate can perform doing the job instead of them just telling the interviewer. For example, if the hiring manager is hiring someone to answer phones. They can have the candidate answer phone calls and see how they will act in that scenario. It is also important to look beyond skills and see if the candidate fits with the company’s culture. For example, a company can have weekly outings. It can be important to place a candidate in a social setting with the workers at the company. This is to ensure that the candidate can get along with their future coworkers.

Use References Right

Candidates should be asked to provide references, and it is important for the hiring manager to use these contacts to the fullest extent to provide answers they may have. The hiring manager can ask about the candidate’s work performance, sense of humor, or about their personality. If the candidate is too serious or an office joker they may not be the right fit for the company. It would be important to ask questions about the candidate to see if their work area is usually clean or messy or questions about how the candidate works in a team environment. It is helpful to ask questions about what matters most to the company and its culture.

Use Trial Periods

Trial periods are almost like internships if possible hiring managers should take the potential candidate for a test drive before hiring time. These trials are paid and can last a few weeks or months. This would help the company figure out if the candidate would be a good fit for the company. For example, graphic designers and developers can get a couple of paid projects to work on. The hiring manager can analyze if the projects showcase the skills they were looking for. If the person is not the right fit for the company they can move on and find other candidates. It is important for the company to pay from a legal standpoint. The company can state the time period the candidate will do the freelance for. It would be helpful for the hiring manager not to mention the possibility of the candidate working full time just in case it does not work out. In doing so, it would be easier to move on to the next candidate.

Consider Employee Growth Needs

When finding a candidate it is important for the hiring manager to ensure they would be happy at the company when hired. During the interview, the hiring manager can understand what the candidate expects and wants out of the role. The candidate may have expectations of getting promoted quickly or working cross-functionally. This is when the hiring manager can let the candidate know if that is in the cards or not. Setting expectations with the candidate can decide if it would be a good use of their time or the hiring manager’s time before they join the company.




Kathy Nguyen is a Psychology student at the University of California, Riverside. While going to school, she is also a research assistant in the Leadership and Groups Dynamic Lab at the University of California, Riverside. She also takes the role of a Human Resource and Psych intern at Thaddeus Resource Center. After graduating college, she aspires to become an I/O Psychologist.