5 Steps to Hiring the Right Person…Everytime!




Once your position has been advertised, shared through industry bodies, or referred through employee’s networks , applications will begin to arrive. So, what’s the next step to hiring the right person? Yep, you guessed it, using a great selection process to choose a candidate.


According to the University of Technology Sydney[1], the most common techniques used in the candidate selection process are the assessment of written applications, panel interviews and reference checking. Whilst these methods are cost-effective, it is important to note that selection decisions should not be made based on the use of one technique. For a great selection process, we advise using multiple techniques to assess all of the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities required for the advertised position.


Below, we delve into the techniques that comprise a great selection process, these being written applications, interviews and reference checking.


Written applications- Covering letters and CVs


Written applications allow candidates to express why they are the most suitable person for the position advertised. Initially, the covering letter is a key factor in the written application method, as the candidate must articulate how they meet the specified criteria outlined in the position description. However, the candidate’s CV will be of most importance. When reviewing the CV, it is essential to look for distinguishing factors that will demonstrate why that individual is better equipped for the position than other applicants.


Some key factors to be on the lookout for include:

  • Clear contact information
  • A career objective
  • Academic achievements
  • Past experience that demonstrates how they have the required competencies or meet the selection criteria
  • A list of accomplishments or key contributions
  • Continuous employment history
  • Relevant qualifications
  • Excellent structure and minimal spelling/ grammatical errors




Interviews are useful in allowing you, as the hirer to get to know an applicant first-hand. It is vital to adequately prepare for the interview by creating a structure that outlines the start time, introduction, position details, organisational overview and interview/question time.


During the interview/question time, we recommend using questions that reveal an applicant’s knowledge and credentials, problem-solving skills, and behaviour. Behavioural-based questions can add objectivity and relevance to employment interviews, particularly when recruiting people for their values.


Here are some of our favourite behavioural questions to ask during interviews:

  • Tell me about a difficult decision you have had to make at work? What process did you follow to make this decision and what was the outcome?
  • Describe a conflict you have dealt with at work. How did you handle this?
  • Tell me about a time you motivated your employees or co-workers. How did you do this?
  • Have you ever gone above and beyond to exceed a customer/client’s expectations? How did you do this and why?


Interview style


There are numerous styles for conducting interviews, however the most common are panel interviews. This method of interview is commonly utilised as it provides time and cost efficiency for the organisation.


Whilst panel interviews are useful for obtaining a thorough analysis of each candidate, the experience of meeting with multiple panel members can be quite intimidating. Therefore, it is important that the panel members provide a comfortable setting for the applicant and ‘break the ice’ by having a friendly chat before the interview’s commencement. When assessing a candidate, it is vital to look for their engagement with all panel members, as well as the ability to clearly and concisely articulate their answer to each question.


Reference Checks


Reference Checking is a great supplement to the use of interviews, as it measures whether or not the specified skills of the applicant are accurate. By verifying the skills of the applicant, one is able to make more informed hiring decisions and ultimately save the organisation time and money through selecting the right candidate. The key to a successful reference check is to ask appropriate questions that fill in your gaps of knowledge about the applicant. Questions for referees or previous employers should address the following points:

  • Dates and job title of previous employment
  • The required duties of the applicant’s previous position
  • The applicant’s strengths
  • Areas for improvement
  • Any performance or conduct issues encountered with the applicant
  • Why the applicant left the job
  • Whether the previous employer would re-employ him/her, and why.


Stay tuned for the last installment of our five part blog series- Offer of Employment and On-boarding!

[1] http://www.hru.uts.edu.au/recruitment/recruiting/selecting/techniques/


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