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Acquiring Talent - Step 2: Evaluation

After successfully attracting talent to your organization, the focus shifts to that of evaluation. Even if the organization has the ability to attract top talent, it will do you very little good if participants are unable to evaluate that talent properly. An important element of the evaluation process is to ensure that you know what you are looking for. As you design your interview questions and process, you have to be mindful of the competencies, attributes, traits, etc., that you are looking to discover/reveal through the interview process. Once you've settled on what you are looking for, it is simply a matter of doing some research on interview questions that align.

The Structured Interview

The structured interview means that each applicant is asked the same questions. In this way they can be evaluated against one another. Obviously, that means it's important that the right questions are being asked. To do this, a recruiter must make sure to spend time with hiring managers to truly understand what those managers feel are key attributes for the role, and blend that with his/her own understanding of what the organization needs from a skill set and cultural match. There are a couple of great resources for designing interview questions and processes. Aberdeen Essentials ( is a great research backed site with a lot of human capital management tools. Another great site for ideas, information, and tools is RE:Work from Google. (

The Interview Process

Another best practice in interviewing is ensuring that multiple people are involved in the evaluation process. This helps provide a more robust evaluation of a candidate's strengths, weaknesses and fit. It also has the added benefit of getting everyone on the team calibrated around the interview process. I prefer the following process:

  • Phone interview with Recruiter

  • Phone interview with Hiring Manager

  • Face to Face interview with Interview Team (will vary by position)

Getting multiple points of view will not only strengthen the evaluation process, but it will also improve the candidate's experience because he or she will have multiple opportunities to ask questions from different people in the organization. Ideally this will give the candidate a "feel" for the culture of the organization. Additionally, when a candidate is ultimately selected, more people in the organization will be familiar with and bought into the new hire on their first day.

Evaluating Your Candidates

There are two fundamental elements to evaluating your candidate. First, it is important to hold a debrief session (it can be a phone call or in person) with everyone who has interviewed the candidate. The debrief session should be structured with feedback geared towards those skills, attributes and competencies that your team identified as important early on in the process. It is also important to get more subjective feedback with respect to cultural fit in the organization and/or fit on the specific team. Remember to consider this feedback in the context of both the company and the candidate. In other words ensure that the needs of the business and the needs of the individual you are considering adding to the team being met.

Second, utilize an interview scorecard that places a premium on objective feedback (without ignoring subjectivity altogether). I prefer scorecards that evaluate:

  • Technical Skills

  • Management Skills

  • Leadership Skills

  • Cultural Fit Indicators

The key to utilizing a scorecard is to ensure that it is simple enough so that your teammates are willing to use it. If it is overly complicated, adoption of the new process will be difficult to achieve.

Evaluating candidates is no easy task. You have to ask the right questions, you have to properly interpret the answer to those questions and you have to do so in a collaborative, often cross functional environment. That said, it is a skill and with practice and feedback we can all get better at it. Ultimately, having a well thought out and disciplined plan and approach can and will, overtime yield better and more consistent results.

Happy Hunting!

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