By now you have received a multitude of resumes and cover letters so the fun can begin.
First Round Selection
The process for hiring is essentially the same whether you are searching for a Purchaser, an Engineer or a CNC operator. Before printing off all the documents and handing the stack of paper to your selection team to review, shortlist the applications.
- Remember the cover letter you requested in the Job Posting phase? If the application doesn’t contain one, toss it. An individual who cannot follow an instruction as simple as providing a cover letter should be rejected.
- Review the job frequency. Consider how often you want to go through this process and use that number as the threshold. For me, the magic number is 3 years. If the applicant burns through more than 1 job every 3 years they get set aside. Leeway is given for people working part time jobs and those just getting out of school.
- Finding typos or grammatical errors are not good reasons for shredding resumes as they may offer insight into the applicants personality later in the process.
Several theories exist about trying to hire someone who is already employed over someone who is unemployed. From my experience, if your goal is to find the best person for the role, you need to ignore these details.
A good test of your own confidence is to put people whose resumes suggest they should have your job at the top of the pile. You need to find candidates and build teams who are better than you. Remember the stronger and more successful your team is, the better you look.
Before handing out the resumes and cover letters, sit with the team and go over the ground rules regarding selection. They need only review the experience and education and ignore the names of the applicants. Consider redacting applicants names to ensure fairness. Ethnic or female sounding names or job experience dating back to before your birth date has no bearing on the hiring. A rather cheeky relative of mine was not having any success getting interviews until she changed the first name on her resume from Linda to E.L. Requests for interviews improved dramatically.
Distribute the resumes and cover letters to the team and ask each person to place a grade from 1 to 5 on the cover letter. Don’t worry too much about decimal places as people immediately assume they are judging a figure skating competition and hand out 3.25s and 4.50s. If you are leading the process, keep your scores for each applicant recorded separately so you don’t sway the results.
Collect the applications, sum the scores, including your own and narrow it down to three candidates and two back-ups. You must ignore the urge to bury an application because you scored it low but the rest of the team scored it high. Failing to follow this advice undermines the process and your credibility should the group request a recount.
Next we need to contact the applicants. Remind them you are calling them in to interview at the best prototype printed circuit board shop and conduct a quick check to ensure they
- are still looking for work
- provide a range of salaries which aligns to the figure you determined
- can start work reasonably soon
Assuming these responses are favourable, set up the interviews with three to five candidates and your selection committee. This begins the most fun part of the process, interviewing the candidates.