Beyond the CV: How well do you know your candidate?

While ensuring candidates don’t falsify information on their CVs is a vital task for HR managers, there’s another valuable piece of the hiring puzzle: understanding who they really are.

Nicole Gorton, Director at Robert Half Australia, says finding the right ‘fit’ is arguably more important than just hiring the most experienced applicant. Building a complete picture of a candidate, however, is a skill that requires some forward planning.

Be direct about what the company wants

A hiring manager’s bread and butter is in seeking out the best possible fit for their company, so there’s no point beating around the bush with candidates – especially during the interview process. Gorton says interviews are not just for getting ‘the facts’ on a candidate, but also the ideal time to gain an understanding of their broader character.

Nicole Gorton, Robert Half Australia

“If you’re interviewing multiple candidates, ask them exactly the same questions,” she says. “Literally list what the company needs from them in order to fulfil the role, and get them to answer how they will achieve that through results-driven examples.

“First, ask questions such as ‘What did you do in this role?’, ‘How did you execute on that workload?’, ‘What were your challenges?’ and ‘Give me an example of what you did in this situation.’ That’s relying more on factual information.

But the questioning shouldn’t stop at past experiences. Gorton says it’s a “two-pronged approach”.

“Look at how they engage – how you engage with them and how they engage with you. How do they interact in the one-on-one interview? What’s their body language? What questions are they asking? Then combine those answers with the factual information to give you an overview of whether they may be the right person for the role.”

All manner of checks

Standard screening checks are obviously a crucial part of the recruitment process, but it’s not always appropriate – or achievable due to time constraints – to procure this information in-house. An independent and authoritative checking agency can find and verify this information according to established criteria and return the results quickly and securely.

Verifying a candidate’s qualifications – whether an academic degree, vehicle licence or other qualification – is essential to ensure they have the adequate skills to handle the job, and that they are legally permitted to perform certain duties.

Similarly, reference checking provides hiring managers with insight into a candidate’s history. Because some references are not immune to bias, an independent party can conduct these reference checks and provide as much clarity as possible.

National police checks are another essential tool in a hiring manager’s arsenal. A criminal history check can confirm where a candidate has lived and worked previously, and also alert you to any prior incidents that may eliminate them from contention. Criminal history checks are particularly useful in today’s global marketplace, where applicants from all walks of life are more connected to job opportunities throughout Australia. Thankfully, third-party services like CVCheck can conduct a variety of police checks within a short space of time, meaning the hiring process is expedited, and you can have peace of mind knowing you’ve hired the best person for the job.

“By conducting criminal checks, it definitely helps identify potential risks,” Gorton says. “It’s another tool that organisations have, and it allows the company to make an educated decision.”

Predictive psychometric tests

To remain competitive companies (regardless of their size) should never hire someone based solely off their CV. That’s why the hiring party needs to dig deeper and use all the tools at their disposal to get a full picture of a candidate’s professional prowess and character.

In addition to the standard screening methods, forward-thinking hiring managers are combining those practices with predictive psychometric assessments – it’s an all-encompassing solution that not only weeds out the best fit, but also predicts the potential employee’s future performance.

Personality tests have been around for decades, and roughly one in five companies still use them during the hiring process. These days, however, psychometric tests take a deeper dive into a candidate’s abilities and job relevancy. While not to be used on their own, these processes can be implemented as part of the wider application process.

Psychometric testing is another tool in the armoury,” Gorton says. “It’s something we recommend you don’t use in isolation, but instead it should complement the hiring process.”

The most exciting part of these tests, particularly for HR managers, is the predictive aspect of them. Companies can actually make smarter hiring decisions with predictive testing as it can provide insights into a candidate’s future job performance. Not only does it shine a light on someone’s suitability for the role, but these tests have been proven to reduce hiring times and employee turnover. Further, there are job and industry-specific tests rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. So whether you’re in aged care, banking, fitness, sales or many other sectors, there’s a predictive psychometric test to suit.

“A lot of organisations now are using [predictive psychometric tests] to highlight a candidate’s strengths, whether it be literacy, numeracy or personality traits.”

The bottom line

Gorton says it doesn’t matter whether you’re using a recruitment agency or taking care of hiring internally, the key is gathering all the information possible and using every tool at your disposal. Integrate a hiring strategy that identifies the best company fit, not just the person who looks best on paper.

“The best method of getting a full sense of somebody’s character is doing all of the above,” Gorton says. “There is a level of due diligence when working with a recruitment firm – should you hire through one – but if you’re getting a candidate directly, then you need to work with them to get all the information that you possibly can.

“The more information you have, the better equipped you’ll be to make a decision – and not just for you, but for the candidate as well.”

Simply checking your applicants’ CV isn’t enough. Get a full picture of your candidate’s character and find the very best fit for your organisation by using CVCheck’s suite of employment and qualification checks, police and traffic checks, and predictive psychometric assessments.

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