Mining for a Diamond in Rough Times | Jobs In ME
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Mining for a Diamond in Rough Times

By: Margaret Hansen

Employer Bright Spots

Mining for a Diamond in Rough Times

When you are down to a few top candidates for any position, making a final decision is never an exact science. It's anyone's win and a tough call for hiring managers, particularly when such a large labor pool exists. Top candidates have come this far in the process for good reason, and any one of them could probably do the job. So, whom do you choose?

Here are some ways to narrow down your best choices:

Talk to other managers in your company. Not only will you avoid bias, you could gain some great insights as well. Show the reviewers the job description, its requirements, and each candidate's resume. Explain how each person has performed thus far. Getting your notes in order will make for a quick presentation, listing pros and cons. Ask for feedback, then compare their analysis with your findings.

Make it a fair contest and assign points for the best possible answers ahead of time. This isn?t black and white, but you could score an answer higher if, for example, an applicant explained how they would solve a problem by delegating as opposed to doing the task themselves. Ask the same questions of each candidate. Tally your points up. This will allow you to focus on what you?re looking for in an employee and not get clouded by a candidate?s charm.

After searching, interviewing and selecting the top candidates, do you know if they can actually do the job? Put them to the test to find out. Have them attempt to solve a real workplace issue. Depending on the position, evaluate how they perform specific exercises, such as:

  • Taking a customer call or writing a response to an angry email
  • Detailing how they would promote one of your products
  • Improving an existing process
  • Attending and contributing to a staff meeting
  • Explaining their sales approach to meet a particular goal
  • Shipping a package

A written test could ask how they would handle management tasks, such as dealing with a difficult employee or enforcing company policies. The point is to make sure that the exercise reflects and relates to the position to which they are applying.

Finally, if you haven?t done so already, make sure that resume verifications are part of your final screening process. This means checking each person's education credentials with each institute of higher learning and verifying all job timelines with past employers.


Margaret Hansen has been writing professionally since receiving a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maine. She has worked for multiple organizations as a weekly newspaper reporter, a weekly newspaper editor, and in a variety of internal/external marketing communications roles. Her freelance career has focused on writing and editing for print, email and web publications in the employment industry, as well as manuscript editing and resume writing.