Beyond The Resume: How To Choose The Best Candidate

Published: Jul 21, 2014

Attract the best candidates with Biospace Job Postings. Post a Job in minutes and find top life science candidates. Beyond The Resume: How To Choose The Best Candidate

July 21, 2014

How to be great at picking people.

By Alan Fairweather for

Do you really know what you're looking for when you interview someone for a job? A suggestion for you: it's not about their knowledge, experience, or their intelligence—it's about their talent to do the job.

Let me ask you another question; how do you like your coffee? I don't know if you're a fan of the "bean," but I'm very partial to Starbuck's Tall Americano with "no room for milk." I've been hyped up on it all over the world and it always tastes the same, which is great! And, a bit of extra information thrown in for free; at the Starbucks in Singapore, they ask you if you want your muffin warmed up. I haven't experienced that anywhere else.

Outlets like Starbucks are successful because they provide a consistent experience across the board. We all know where we could purchase a cheaper cup of coffee, but the Starbucks experience draws us in. I also have to say, that the coffee serving process is usually excellent; happy, smiley people, and fast service.

The other day, I experienced "Mr Grumpy" coffee person. He was slapping down coffees at the end of the counter and grunting out their contents. I asked him which coffee was mine (I'm not scared) and he growled his response. I had to ask him again, before politely pointing out the error of his ways (I told you I'm not scared).

This guy shouldn't be there, and I don't necessarily blame him for his poor customer service. I really don't believe he should be in a customer facing job, and no amount of training will help. My question is—"Where is the person who put him on the job?"

If you're a manager or a business owner, then I'm sure you've interviewed people to join your team. Are you absolutely sure you know what you're looking for when you interview someone?

Let me give you an example of what I mean:

I've just read a job advertisement for a Sales Manager for the soft drinks business. It says "We are looking for someone with excellent relationship building skills, vision, drive, and energy. They will be results driven and be able to demonstrate leadership and highly developed interpersonal and management skills."

Now that's all fairly standard stuff and what I'd expect to see in a job advertisement. If I was trying to find someone for that job, what I'd really be looking for is "someone to increase sales of soft drinks." Now I'm not saying you put that in the advertisement, but let's face it—that's the outcome you really want.

It's great to have all the qualities listed above, but at the end of the day, can this Sales Manager bring in the business?

Back to the coffee shop; if it was your business and you needed to employ someone to join the team, what qualities would you look for in a job candidate?

You might say "Someone with a bit of experience in a coffee shop, someone who looks clean and tidy, and who's a nice pleasant person."

All of this is great, what I'd look for is "Someone who would make the customers want to buy some more coffee or food; who'd make the customer want to come back, and who'd probably recommend my coffee shop to other people."

Now you may think that the characteristics you described above would bring the results I'm looking for, and you may be right. However, when you're preparing to interview someone, be absolutely clear in your mind what outcomes you need from this person. It's not about their experience or their intelligence—it's about their talent to do the job.

It doesn't matter what kind of business you're in, talent is what you're looking for. It could be:

* The talent to sell
* The talent to detect an engine fault quickly
* The talent to analyze information accurately.

I've seen lots of sales people who had great relationship building skills, vision, drive, and energy (as described in the job advertisement,) but they couldn't bring in the sales. To pick the right candidate for the job, you not only need to ask detailed questions about the candidates background, work experience, and skill set. You will also need a list of questions that may uncover the person's talent and see if that talent is a good fit for the position you are hiring for.

About the Author

Alan Fairweather, 'The Motivation Doctor,' is an International Business Speaker, Best Selling Author and Sales Growth Expert. For the past seventeen years, he's been developing the talents of Managers, Sales and Customer Service people, and turning them into consistent top performers. He is the author of: 'How to Manage Difficult People' Proven strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour at work. Attract the best candidates with Biospace Job Postings. Post a Job in minutes and find top life science candidates.

Back to news