Selecting the right candidate

Selecting the right candidate for your organization can represent the difference between reaching your goals and achieving success, and failing. Oftentimes, deciding which candidate to hire is a very difficult choice. By asking a series of questions, your decision may become less difficult and your ability to attain your goals easier.


* Why is the candidate seeking new employment?

If the answer is more money, you may want to pursue another candidate. After you have spent valuable time and money training him or her, a candidate who is simply money-motivated may leave your organization in the short term for a few more bucks.

Make sure the candidate is excited about your organization and wants to join your team for the right reasons. More challenge, greater opportunity and a desire to gain specific experience all are sound reasons. More money is not.


* What immediate positive impact will the person have on your organization, and what are his or her potential long-term contributions?

This can be pretty straightforward when a candidate possesses a unique skill or specific talent that you desire. If the candidate lacks some distinct capacity, it can be difficult to answer these questions.

However, when comparing candidates for a position, answering these questions should prove useful during the decision-making process. It also forces you to examine what each candidate can potentially offer from both in both the short term and the long term. Immediate impact may not outweigh long-term potential.


* What will a candidate bring with him or her?

The answer can be interesting. One candidate can bring habits that are destructive to your organization. This is bad. Another candidate can bring customers, positive energy, knowledge of an industry your organization would like to penetrate or wisdom from years of experience that your organization or team lacks. These are all good things that a potential candidate can offer.

Ponder this question with respect to each candidate, and you will find positives and negatives regarding a candidate that may not be present on the resume.


* Does the candidate possess the capacity to grow with or within your organization?

A candidate should have the ability to grow with an organization as well as within an organization. This allows the person to not only contribute immediately but also long term. When analyzing candidates and trying to establish who you will select; asking this question affords you the opportunity to, again, think long term.

Chances are, you will invest extensive time and money in a new hire throughout that person’s career. The longer an employee stays with your organization, the more valuable he or she becomes. Make sure that the candidate will be happy long term.


Is the candidate a fit from a cultural standpoint?

In today’s world of “lean and mean” organizations, when employees are expected to do more with less, organizations are leveraging teams. Multidiscipline teams work together to successfully accomplish their goals. Introducing someone into a team who comes from an organization with a radically different culture may prove disastrous.

Diversity is important among team members. That has been demonstrated again and again. You should be attempting at every opportunity to inject diversity within your organization. Investigate your team’s dynamics and ask the question regarding the candidate’s cultural fit.

Hiring someone from a higher performance workplace environment may assist you with your endeavor to supercharge a team. On the other hand, hiring someone from an organization where independent achievements were trumpeted and politics ruled the day may prove fatal.


By answering the above questions, as well as questions more specific to your organization, your ability to select the right candidate is made easier. Developing a matrix listing the candidates, the questions and the answers is a valuable tool to utilize when making this tough decision.

Many things go into selecting a candidate and no matter whom you select, make sure you have a backup with whom you are comfortable. This will lessen the probability of having to start the search process again from scratch.

Ask the above questions, select the candidate to pursue, then hire that person.

Shawn Fier is vice president of operations for Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847) 585-8006 or [email protected]