New Year, New Hire, Part 4: How to Weed Out Unqualified Candidates

A racially diverse group of people sit around a conference table with notebooks, coffee, and laptops discussing how to weed out unqualified candidates. None of their faces are visible.

Our series on how to refine your hiring process and how to find qualified candidates continues. In the previous blog, we identified the top five résumé red flags that hiring managers should know. However, résumé red flags are only one layer of the vetting process — after that, it’s time to sort through the candidate pool and identify the top talent. To do this, employers need to be vigilant in having the right criteria to evaluate candidates and ensure they have a positive experience.

How to Get a Pool of Qualified Job Candidates

A good hiring process will lead to a pool of qualified candidates from which you, the employer, can select. While it’s true that the hiring environment is competitive, you can use a few key elements to filter.

The Job Posting

Make no mistake — much of the difficulty finding candidates for a job comes from a poorly written job posting. This introduction of your role to prospective applicants is the face of your company and the first good impression you can make. Beyond this, though, the job posting is key in outlining the exact kind of candidate you want to hire. When writing a job description, be sure to mention specific qualifications, skills, and competencies that the role will require, and avoid vague language that can leave room for misinterpretation. When prospective candidates read your posting, it should be explicitly clear whether their skills align with your criteria.

The Interview

Much like the job posting itself, the interview is an integral step in finding candidates who love their job. Make sure to structure your interview with questions that are specific enough to the nuances of the role while leaving enough room for the interviewee to elaborate on their relevant skills. Be careful — if your questions are too open-ended, you run the risk of either confusing the candidate or receiving answers that won’t illustrate the candidate’s skills.

One way to ensure your interviews will be effective is to incorporate scientifically validated personality tests into the hiring process. This is helpful because interviews, especially when they aren’t structured, are subject to bias and therefore are not very accurate in identifying the best candidates. Using personality tests prior to interviews can help you minimize interviewer bias, target your interview questions to explore candidates’ potential strengths and shortcomings as related to the role, avoid hiring ineffective but charismatic candidates, and even predict which candidates are most likely to be engaged in your organization.

Put in the Work

Although the methods you use to find qualified job candidates may differ based on the industry you’re working in, the fundamental idea is the same: provide the candidate with detailed information about the role and ask pointed, guiding questions to learn more about them. While these may seem obvious, they’re among many common hiring mistakes that run the risk of scaring off top talent and ineffectively weeding out unqualified candidates.