puzzle of the mindIt’s an age-old tale — employers, hiring managers, and recruiters are all looking for the most efficient and effective way to fill open positions with the most qualified candidates available. For some this means a number of different candidate search tactics including implementing social recruiting tools, online sourcing methods, or paying for the posting on job boards. But are they really working?

At one point in time, my company was looking for help in building our social media and marketing so we used our own product — where candidates respond to job challenges instead of filling out a traditional application — to find freelance candidates. Not the average job listing, right? This didn’t involve sourcing or social recruiting, and no surprise, the results were overwhelming. We received full media plans and aggressive insights from applicants into how we can build our social media presence. Sometimes it just takes challenging candidates to truly find their worth.

Finding a candidate who fits perfectly into a position, as well as the overall company culture, is an absolute must. With that being said, there just isn’t a quick fix for finding the right candidate, especially when you’re hoping to fill highly specialized positions.

Here are five ways to find the right candidates for your job opening:

1. Draw candidates in with a unique culture. Are your tired of endlessly scouring for suitable candidates? It’s about time you let your company do the talking.

Employers that place a strong focus on their (awesome) company culture not only retain employees for longer periods of time, but they also draw in more qualified candidates. Going the extra mile to  to market your company’s unique and valuable culture will allow both active and passive job seekers to directly seek out positions at your company. And these aren’t the robot-like candidates who apply to every job listing they come across, these candidates will usually knock your socks off with their qualifications and “fit”.

Every company has their own unique culture, but it’s your job to go out of the way to express why your company is just plain better. Think like Google. Simply stated, if you build it, they will come — so get working!

A strong company culture goes beyond a cool office and fantastic holiday parties — although those are enticing. Good company culture means placing a high value on employees through assorted acts of engagement, growth opportunities, respect, and most importantly, a shared vision for the future.

2. Get the full story. You’re never going to find employees that truly fit your position unless you move past what’s on paper. Your candidates are living breathing specimens–focus on getting to know them in more ways than one. Just because a candidate has the experiences and references to set them apart from the competition, doesn’t necessarily secure them as having what it takes to meet your on-the-job qualifications. Plus, some candidates may take a page from Scott Thompson’s book and embellish their qualifications anyway.

Candidates can be tricky, so don’t let a gleaming resume lower your guard. Use your hiring process as a time to get to the “big picture” for each of your candidates by asking the tough questions and involving them with hands-on experiences. Drop the standard hiring process and create a unique multi-faceted way to truly assess your top candidates for each new job opening.

3. Consider a candidate’s online brand. It’s been reported that 92 percent of employers are currently using or planning to use social networks for recruiting this year — that’s a lot. While social media platforms are certainly a beneficial part of the recruiting and hiring process, they shouldn’t be the only way that you find and assess your candidates prior to and during the hiring process.

Stick to checking a candidate’s social media in the early stages of the hiring process, but continue to search for new and unique ways to truly test your candidates’ abilities. A strong online brand is certainly a characteristic that can set a candidate apart from the competition, but their social engagement isn’t a sure-fire assessment of what they can truly bring to your company.

4. Look past the perfect interview. All that glitters is not in fact gold. A strong interview might not always be a good indication of the actual qualifications of a candidate, especially when it comes to a well-crafted video interview. While the potential candidate may receive high praise for their ability to effectively communicate their skills and experiences with a flair for technology, keep in mind that articulation won’t get to the root of what they can really bring to the position. Continue to move toward next steps in your hiring process that reveal the true influence this candidate will have on your company.

5. Offer your candidates a way to express their worth. Oftentimes, hiring managers truly don’t have the time or ability to directly assess how a candidate can handle the challenges that may arise in the position they’re applying for. While they might be a perfect fit on paper, who’s to say they won’t crack under pressure? Potential employers should consider creating a way to challenge their candidates in a way that directly produces results to decide whether they are fitting of the position. Look past a standardized skills test and think of something more creative.

Determining whether a candidate is the perfect fit for your job opening shouldn’t involve a quick fix. You will never get to the bottom line of what a candidate can bring to your company unless you create a specific way to ensure the proper assessment of their qualifications.

What are some unique ways you assess candidates during your hiring process?

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