It’s a question that many HR managers or talent acquisition professionals must ask themselves. A hasty, ill-advised or just plain wrong hiring choice can cost a company thousands of dollars in lost time and productivity, not to mention breed resentment among their colleagues and direct subordinates. However well a candidate might look on paper, it’s always a gamble bringing someone into your ranks, particularly if they don’t mesh well with your company culture. After enough bad hires, it might be your job performance that’s being examined. So, with that in mind; how do we know if we’re making a smart hiring decision?

First there’s the tried and true resume. Believe it or not, this document can still be the most telling story about a candidate’s experience, capabilities and past job performance. It’s a mosaic of your potential hire’s professional life. Look for things like employment gaps, consistency of vocation, long tenure and salary expectations. These will be the prime indicators regarding their overall efficacy as an employee and whether they’re up to the challenges of the position. We should also determine if their salary demands are worth the filling the opening you have within your company. With each hire, you’re making an investment in your workforce—make sure it’s worth it.

Other variables include personality, whether they’re right for your company culture and their long-term professional ambitions. The last thing you want to do is invest training resources into a candidate that’s only going to be with your organization for a year and then leave. Be sure to ask questions about their overall professional trajectory and whether they plan to stay in the industry for the long haul. Outside of these basic indicators, a seasoned hiring professional can also rely on their experience, professional intuition and their instincts. Remember to trust yourself and that there’s a reason why you’re sitting in the hiring chair.


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