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Acumen Connections » Blog » How to Hire the Best Candidates According to a Talent Acquisition Expert

How to Hire the Best Candidates According to a Talent Acquisition Expert

How to Hire the Best Candidates According to a Talent Acquisition Expert

Want to hire quality candidates that are a good fit? Let us show you how.

Is your business struggling to hire the right candidate? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Like you, many employers deal with the complexities of talent acquisition. What had worked previously may not work in the current climate. Let us navigate the hiring process together! 

As a business owner or manager, one of your worst nightmares is high turnover. In the last few years, the employment scene has drastically changed. It is vital to implement revised hiring strategies to ensure that you choose the right candidates and retain them. At Acumen Connections, your local payment processor Wichita, we actively try to hire the best from the applicant pool and keep turnover to a minimum. We consulted with one of our leading talent acquisition experts on how businesses can refine their hiring process. 

Ariel Westphal is the Marketing Director at Acumen Connections. Over the last 6 years, she has conducted every single interview for the Marketing and Sales team. So far, her methods have had a significant success rate. Westphal’s hiring practices have been instrumental in creating a dream team. In this piece, we will deconstruct some of her best tactics that you can replicate in your organization. 

“Talent Acquisition Tips” infographic complete with the information listed below including avoiding scaring off candidates, four interviewing statistics, and candidate red flags

How to not scare away candidates

Hiring managers often self-sabotage their recruitment process by scaring away the best candidates. Although done unknowingly, this can have a serious impact on the quality of hires and employee retention. Hiring mistakes come at a cost. It’s not the best outcome for any organization. You can avoid hiring mistakes by following our list of suggestions: 

Man in blue suit with scary Halloween mask. Text “Don’t scare away your best talent!” With 5 tips outlined below

We asked Ariel to share how to avoid intimidating a potential hire. She responded, “A great interview tactic is to ask the candidate some softball throw questions about themselves to get the conversation started. These are easy to answer and can help the candidate shake out some nerves.”

1. Be clear about the position and expectations

This is the first key to strong talent acquisition. Always use clear and concise language in the job description for an open position. Convey what is expected of an applicant and describe the role in detail. This goes beyond listing the skills you’re looking for in an applicant. Your job postings need to reflect who you are as a company and why someone should be interested in working with you.

2. Have a simple and structured hiring process 

Sometimes hiring managers fail to organize the process. This can leave candidates confused. Be clear about the process from the start. If possible, mention how many rounds of interviews are to be expected. It is suggested to keep that number low.  

Recruiters often work to hire top talent within 10 days (about one and a half weeks). You don’t have to make a decision in nine days. However, you should be aware you have limited time.  

Hand shake deal. Text “Recruiters often hire top talent with 10 days”

Ariel Westphal usually keeps the process at two interviews, “I prefer having a short phone interview first so that meeting in person isn’t the first time that we speak.” If the candidate seems like a good fit, she’ll invite them for a second in-person interview.  

Inform candidates regarding the outcome of their applications as soon as possible. Provide feedback wherever applicable. Additionally, invite promising candidates to apply for roles in the future if they are not selected. Offering a positive candidate experience should be at the core of the hiring process.  

3. Disclose salary range and benefits package

Do yourself and your applicants a favor by being upfront about the salary range and benefits package.  

This will save all parties a significant amount of time. You don’t want to waste time interviewing someone whose salary expectations are not in alignment with what you can offer. Similarly, a job seeker doesn’t want to waste their time interviewing with a company that offers less than what they’re looking to earn at a job.  

A little bit of transparency can go a long way! 

New York City employers will be required to disclose salary ranges for advertised jobs according to an amendment to a bill pertaining to the city’s pay transparency law. Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

4. Maintain proper communication throughout the process 

Several companies fail to incorporate a human element into their hiring process. We are all people, and we have an affinity towards human contact. Applying to jobs is time-consuming and takes a lot of preparation. Show your applicants some grace by reaching out to them once they submit an application. 

Conducting an interview is an integral component of the hiring process. We recommend checking out our resource, How to Conduct an Interview. When it comes to interviewing, it can feel overwhelming, even as the interviewer. Just remember to, “be yourself and try to avoid being too stuffy,” Ariel shares.  

Make it a point to communicate with an applicant even if you don’t have good news. A reassuring rejection email is better than ghosting them completely. In fact, 66% of candidates want bad news by email and 77% want good news by phone. 

Hand holding phone with messages. Text “66% of candidates want bad news by email and 77% want good news by phone”

5. Prepare for questions regarding the position and the company

Your top applicants are going to have questions regarding the position, the company, and the work culture. This is because they have done their research and want to know first-hand what it would be like working with you.  

“Expect candidates to ask questions about company culture and how the team interacts with each other. Be honest and authentic. If the person or person(s) leading the interview will be their supervisor, it’s fair [for them] to ask about leadership style, work-week expectations, and what opportunities there are for reviews and moving up within the organization,” shares Ariel.  

As an interviewer, you need to be prepared for such questions. You may not have all the answers and that’s okay. However, you need to be willing to send them answers to their queries over email. That’s just one expectation for talent acquisition.  

Candidates red flags

The first step towards hiring the best from your pool of applicants is weeding out the ones that simply don’t fit the bill. A candidate might have a wide range of skills and an impressive work history but still might not make the best fit for your team. We have compiled a list of common red flags that should help you in the elimination process.

Candidate with shadow with devil horns and tail. List of talent acquisition candidate red flags to look out for. “Lack of preparation for the interview. Arriving late and without an explanation. Failure to explain inconsistencies in employment. Speaking negatively about their current or most recent employer. Appearing boastful and being resistant to feedback.”

Also, don’t forget that 85% of people lie on their resumes. What looks like a star candidate on paper, may not be a good reflection of who the person is when you meet them.  

person holding magnifying glass, looking over resumes. Text “85% of people lie on their resumes”

We asked Ariel if she had advice for employers that are a little suspicious of a candidate’s credentials, and she explained:  

“Little white lies are difficult to spot. Larger glaring lies are a more obvious… A natural way to root out the truth is to ask direct questions… If someone is proclaiming something as fact, but doesn’t have the evidence to back it up, then it’s probably false”.  

If you ask enough questions, the truth always ends up revealing itself! 

Hiring mistakes that employers often make:

We are all human and prone to making mistakes, but it is wise to learn from the mistakes of others and not repeat them. Below is a list of common talent acquisition and hiring mistakes that you need to avoid: 

Job candidate in orange shirt and blue pants looking confused. Text “Hiring mistakes employers often make”

1. Not advertising the position on several platforms

To maximize the pool of quality candidates, you have to cast the net across several platforms. There are job sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and ZipRecruiter among others. There are also traditional platforms like newspapers, display signs, radio announcements, etc. Social media is a terrific platform that connects people! It could be a great platform to advertise your open positions. Several employers stick only to one type of medium and as a result, attract a limited number of applicants.  

2. Making assumptions about candidates based on appearances 

Judging a book by its cover might cause you to miss out on amazing people who would be real assets to your team. A person’s worth as an employee or as a human being goes beyond how they dress, wear their hair, choose their attire, and display their tattoos and piercings. We need to get past preconceived notions about what a professional should “look” like. 

Diverse group of people standing together with the text “the ideal candidate doesn’t have a certain type of look”.

3. Focusing solely on skills and not if they are a culture fit 

Retention starts with recruitment. Some skills can be learned and polished over time, but a mismatched teammate could throw a wrench in a team’s dynamics. Try to assess if they would fit in with your group of employees. You want to avoid conflicts and disagreements. Some personalities might be the cause of friction in an otherwise well-balanced team. You want someone that has the right balance of respectful and opinionated.  

Ariel shares a tip on finding culture fit. “I like to bring another person from my team to the interview. Particularly, a person that the candidate would likely be working side by side with daily if offered the job. It can show the comradery amongst the team and is a good indication of culture,” she explains.  

Discover how you can recruit a balanced team

4. Excessive requirements for an entry-level position

If you’re advertising for an entry-level position, quit asking for a master’s degree, 3 years of experience, and several licenses and certifications. We understand that some jobs require those credentials but not every job does. 

Skills-based recruitment is the strategy adopted by many companies. We recommend deciding on the minimum qualification and experience for a certain position and advertising accordingly. Raising the bar too high can deter several strong candidates from applying. 

After all, as talent acquisition, you’re looking for a great company fit with strong skills. That might not be the person with the most education or experience in the field. Strength and skills can come from many experiences.

5. Trying to save money by hiring someone less qualified/skilled

We’ve seen this time and again! Hiring managers often make the mistake of hiring someone with minimal credentials. This is because they cost less than their more accomplished counterparts. Investing in a quality candidate can save the company a lot more in the longer run. 

As we wind down this piece, we’d like to share what Ariel Westphal has to say for the interviewee about the hiring process: 

“I have done countless interviews, and I can assure you that the interview process is just as nerve-wracking for the interviewer as the interviewee. Trust your judgment and be yourself.”  

At Acumen Connections, we’re all about solutions. As more businesses are having hiring woes, we decided to consult our hiring expert and Marketing Director to share some useful information.  

Dollar bills fanned out on blue background. Text says “$4129 average cost to find and hire a new candidate.”

Once you’ve hired your dream team, the next step is to keep them. It is more cost-effective to retain your top talent since the cost of hiring a new employee is $4129 on average.  

We hope we were able to break down the hiring process and offer solutions to the commonly faced problems. For more information on hiring, check out our blog. Happy hiring!

Anna Reeve, MBA

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Hello! I am Anna with Acumen Connections and I love assisting small businesses in any way I can. I have worked in marketing for businesses of different sizes and industries. I believe that creativity and imagination are the hallmarks of content building. I enjoy creating blogs, social media posts, marketing emails, press releases, website copy, responding to reviews etc.

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