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Improve your hiring process with these hiring hacks 

Nothing in business is more important than hiring great people. So we gathered dozens of hiring tips and tactics from people who have hired hundreds of employees. We're pretty sure you'll find a few you'll want to try. 

Search before you're desperate

 

Tracie Sponenberg: As a job seeker, you should search before you’re desperate. The same principle applies to finding talent.

Appeal to their behavioral drives

 

Mike Zani: If you know someone’s behavioral drives, appeal to those drives and contrast your offer to their current work situation.

See if your truth resonates

 

Matthew Bellows: Rather than trying to convince people, simply lay out the truth as you see it and see if it resonates.

Look for a real conversation

 

Alyssa Dver: If an interview feels more like a conversation, that’s probably a good sign about the rapport.

Use your marketing assets

 

Vinake Ranade: Your company probably has great marketing assets. You should use them for recruitment branding.

Don’t hide the warts

 

Brian Corey: The line between the reality of the job and what you’re telling the candidate should be as “thin as a piece of paper."

Keep them warm before they start

 

Jackie Dube: Getting a great candidate to accept an offer is awesome, but continue to keep them warm before they start.

Keep job ads short and sweet

 

Tracie Sponenberg: Job ads can be exceedingly boring if you just go with a list of responsibilities and tasks to be done.

Qualify like sales reps do

 

Vivayak Ranade: Just like great sales reps, you should qualify people to see if your company will truly work for their career paths.

Insert you culture into job ads

 

Jackie Dube: A long list of responsibilities and tasks isn’t as compelling to candidates as simply describing your culture.

Truly assess the job

 

Mike Zani: People often skip to steps when it comes to recruiting, and they short change the process of truly assessing the job.

Look for “mirror responses”

 

Alyssa Dver: Be on the lookout for “mirror responses” in posture, because it signals how engaged they are.

Disqualify candidates with culture

 

Matthew Bellows: Use your culture not only to attract the right candidates but to scare the wrong candidates away.

Referral program buzz

 

Vinayak Ranade: Referral programs can actually be a great way to create PR and buzz about working at your company.

Consider their “time-stratum” level

 

Mike Zani: Use the notion of “time stratum” levels to assess whether someone is cut out to be a good manager.

Consider other decision makers

 

Vinayak Ranade: If you’re just trying to win the candidate over, you’re likely not convincing all of the decision makers involved.

Pay attention to their questions

 

Tracie Sponenberg: Pay attention to the quality of the questions people ask and the research of they’ve done on the company.

Ask about their other options

 

Dr. Matt Poepsel: If they don’t have alternative plans aside from your company, that might be a sign to heed caution.

Drill down on outside interests

 

Matthew Bellows: Use their outside interests and activities to help you evaluate their makeup as people.

Growth-minded questions

 

Alyssa Dver: Think about the questions a candidate is asking to evaluate whether he or she is growth-minded.

Assess for behavioral fit first

 

Jackie Dube: Before you take a lot of time with interviews, figure out whether a candidate is a good behavioral fit.

Probing reference questions

 

Erica Seidel: It's very easy for reference checks to turn into a perfunctory, confirmatory conversation, but here are some ways to combat that.

Let managers do outreach

 

Chrissy Costello: Too many companies just leave candidate outreach to recruiters, but in a competitive labor market, line managers should be the ones making contact.

Create interviewer focus areas

 

Chrissy Costello: Make your interview process more efficient and more effective by creating focus areas for each interviewer.

Take a long-term approach

 

Matthew Bellows: Develop long-term relationships with people, so you’ll be the first ones they think of when considering job changes.

Look for a goal orientation

 

Dr. Matt Poepsel: Ask not only about their activities but also what their goals were at different stages in their career.

Always be (pre) closing

 

Chrissy Costello: To ensure you're successful in closing candidates you want to bring on board, you should be "pre-closing" throughout the entire process.

Ask about high school

 

Brian Corey: On some levels, we’re the same people we were back in highschool, so ask about those years.

Create interviewer focus areas

 

Chrissy Costello: Make your interview process more efficient and more effective by creating focus areas for each interviewer.

The receptionist test

 

Neal Fay: Interviews are contrived situations, so pay attention to how candidates are treating people they’re not trying to impress.

Test for disagreement

 

Drew Fortin: If you actually hire this person, you'll probably find you disagree with them at times, so test the waters on that during the interview.

Don’t fixate on checklists

 

Tracie Sponenberg: By being fixated on our checklist of what we’re looking for in candidates, we often overlook good people.

You and their career story

 

Matthew Bellows: Look for the candidate’s ability to tell a story about how your company fits into their career story.

Engage on Glassdoor

 

Chrissy Costello: When it comes to employee experiences, Glassdoor is the place people turn for the inside scoop, which means you should be there too.

Create "culture guardians"

 

Dr. Matt Poepsel: Expand the hiring team to make your employees both the guardians and the enforcers of the culture.

Open up your referral programs

 

Vinayak Ranade: If we confine our referral rewards to our employees, we’re missing an opportunity to reach more people.

Think of it like a movie trailer

 

Dr. Matt Poepsel: Think about the interview like a movie trailer and ask yourself whether you'd pay to see the entire movie once the trailer is over.

Customize a gift

 

Vinayak Ramade: The war for talent is so intense that just getting a candidate a gift might not be enough. Go the distance and really personalize it.

Show your enthusiasm

 

Brian Corey: If you’re authentically enthused and passionate about your company, let those feelings shine through.

Look for 2-way interviews

 

Neal Fay: You’re interviewing the candidate, but if the candidate isn’t interviewing you, there might be a problem.

Hire for behavioral traits

 

Tracie Sponenberg: If you hire for behaviors and tendencies and who someone is, you can train skills.

The covert curiosity test

 

Drew Fortin: You might be really motivated to hire someone who shows signs of curiosity, and assessing for it might be as simple as taking a quick stroll around the office.

Keep digging on weaknesses

 

Mike Zani: Rather than ask people to tell you about a weakness, ask them to tell you about three weaknesses.

Secret LinkedIn queries

 

Erica Seidel: LinkedIn has become the defacto repository for people's career profiles, and here are some keywords to pinpoint the needles in the haystack.

Appropriate eye contact levels

 

Alyssa Dver: It’s hard to quantify what the right amount of eye contact is, but we know it when we… well… see it.

Buy a friend a beer (or coffee)

 

Vinayak Ranade: One beer (or coffee) should always to lead to another, which can eventually lead to your next great hire.

Fixed vs. growth mindset

 

Drew Fortin: If you care about hiring people who are growth-minded, see if they are completely comfortable talking about a mistake, owning it, and learning from it.

Use your team to close

 

Mike Zani: Sell them on the team they’ll be working with every day, and paint a vision of being part of something special.

Evaluate their research

 

Tracie Sponenberg: To see how engaged somebody will be at work, pay attention to how much they’ve learned about the company.

The ice cube tray trick

 

Neal Fay: If you have a tray of ice cubes, you might be able to use it to evaluate the kind of coworker someone will be.

Consider diversity in job ads

 

Erica Seidel: Research shows differences men and women when it comes to what jobs they'll apply for, and you can account for that in the job ad.

A charitable twist on referrals

 

Matthew Bellows: Referral programs are nothing new, but at Yesware, they’ve added a charitable twist to the idea.

Good "comm-you-nnication" skills

 

Erica Seidel: There are some simple things to listen for to help discern whether something will be good in a client-facing role.

Talk about comp early on

 

Jackie Dube: Bring up compensation early to make sure it’s eliminated as an issue before you spend lots of time with candidates.

Appeal to their preferences

 

Mike Zani: Paint a picture of what it will be like for them to work "in preference," which is what virtually everyone really wants.

Spread jobs through Facebook

 

Chriss Costello: Facebook is the most popular online social network on the world, so it only makes sense to use it to get job ads out there.

The sodium pentathol question

 

Brian Corey: Sodium pentathol is better known as “truth serum,” and it might be a good idea to inject it into your interviews.