Selecting Talent: Being Compliant and Effective Part 2

The following is part 2 of a transcription from a webinar we hosted with HRM Innovations. To watch the webinar, you can follow this link

Always make sure to do integrity checks such as background checks, references, education, etc. If drug testing is important to the position, we want to make sure that happens. We also always do work references and it is always a red flag if someone cannot produce good work references. Once we have all of our ducks in a row we can make an offer. This offer can be contingent on final clearance of all the integrity checks we just mentioned.

The last piece to setting up a great system is to have solid onboarding. We like to do an engaging orientation that requires interaction. You will of course cover your policies and procedures and really make sure to set clear goals and expectations. This means covering the review process as well.    

Learn more about Onboarding now

So I want to go over a few principles of employee selection. There are a lot of different tools out there is use and each of these will have their strengths and limitations, but the key is to find the ones that are applicable. The more measures used, the more accurate you can be in making a good hire.

When developing your guidelines, please consider the following:

  • Employment application & resume sort:
    • Education, credentialing
    • Work experience
    • Gaps of employment
    • Reasons for leaving
    • Grammar, punctuation, content, layout
  • Interviews & questions:
    • Phone screen
    • Onsite (individual, team, panel)
    • Final
  • Integrity checks:
    • Background- convictions, sex offender, credit
    • Work references
    • Education/degree, credentials/licensure 
    • Drug testing, physicals
  • Assessments:
    • Personality, IQ tests
    • Work sample, presentations
    • Realistic job preview 

Your Job Task Analysis (JTA) will help you determine what will be required for the role. The following should be considered in your JTA:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Abilities
  • Education, certifications, credentials, licenses
  • Transferable skills from other roles, industries

The JTA determines what competencies are needed for the role and from that we develop the interview questions. 

Download your JTA Template


So now you will want to summarize the JTA and define job requirements and then determine the qualities of an ideal candidate. You’ll want to consider if there is any job-specific physical and environmental needs or American Disability Act (ADA) requirements. Next we will develop the job description and the job posting. This works best if it is a collaborative process so involve HR and the hiring manager. If you have a subject matter expert, or someone currently excelling in the role you should include them in this process as well.

When you’re doing the resume sort you want to look for red flags. Red flags include spelling errors, gaps in employment history, and education just to give some examples. Once you have your JTA you will need to work on some interview questions. During the phone screen you are looking for red flags and to see if they would be a good culture fit. For the onsite interview you really want to dig deep and confirm their competencies. It is also good to have them provide a work sample, which we will talk about later. Lastly, if it is appropriate, give them a realistic job preview.    

The biggest thing for the pre-qualifying interview or phone screen is that if you’re using a temp agency, you want to make sure they are doing these as well. After the phone screen you should narrow it down to at least 3 candidates that you can bring on site for interviews. Be diligent in this process and make sure you can bring in a good number of qualified candidates to avoid wasting a hiring team’s time.   

Some tips for the face-to-face interviews:

  • Determine the interview team 
  • Prepare for the interview beforehand
  • Set the tone to make the candidate feel welcomed
  • Final candidate rating and assessing

Let’s talk about a couple things that you can’t do in an interview. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on:
race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, genetic information, and sexual orientation. Questions that ask a candidate for information about these topics are a violation of federal, state, or local laws. 


I’m sure you’ve all heard about structured and unstructured interviews. We recommend always doing a structured interview especially if it is based on your job task analysis results. Structured interviews include cultural fit, work samples, hypothetical situations, and a realistic job preview. 

On the flip side, let’s look at unstructured interviews. This is when people use more of a conversational tone and have more open-ended questions. These tend to rely on more if the interviewer likes the interviewee which ends up being much more reliable. Unstructured interviews lack specific questions that relate to the actual competencies of the role. They also are more vulnerable to claims of discrimination because it is difficult to prove the equal treatment of all candidates. To increase your chances of a good hire, structure your interviews, require assessments, and ask for a work sample from candidates. For the best chance of making a good hire, you will want to ask for a work sample and do a mental ability assessment. 

In a structured interview there is situational and behavioral. Situational is the ‘what if’ questions. This is better than unstructured interviews, but not as effective as behavioral based. Behavioral based questions are they ‘tell me when’ questions that pull on past behaviors and tend to be more valid. It is our responsibility to select and retain the best people possible. The better your organization does at this, the more effective you will be overall. 

The last section I want to touch on is onboarding and orientation. The key here is to engage early and retain. I mentioned in the beginning that typically a candidate will make a decision in the first 6-9 months whether they want to stay with your organization or not. Put a process in place that sets your new hire up for success. Spend as much time on this as you do selecting talent for the organization. We break this up into four categories: 

  • Onboarding
    • New hire orientation
    • Cover P&ps, safety, and technical training
    • Assign a mentor/buddy
    • Confirm why they made the right choice
  • Communicating
    • Share the company and departmental vision early
    • Show how each team member fits into the big picture and how their role affects overall goals 
  • Defining
    • Clearly define role, expectations, and goals
    • Show the new hire how they will be evaluated and when
  • Leveraging
    • You hired this person for a reason, leverage their knowledge
    • Get buy in and ask for ideas relative to their role to engage them

Final thoughts here. We always want to tie the results to the JTA, so you are figuring out what competencies are needed and what qualities are desired for the role. Keep in mind, we are human, so we cannot create a process that will completely ensure we won’t make a mistake. The best you can do is set up a structured process and follow your list. Lastly, make sure to have an effective onboarding process and engage your employees early on.

selecting talent ss.PNG