Candidate Selection: Comparing Apples to Apples

Reality TV shows are great at illustrating the necessity of apples-to-apples comparison. As the end of the season draws near, judges start looking for the smallest detail to differentiate (and eliminate) contestants. By this point, each contestant’s skill level is practically the same, so the judges have to focus on what matters most.

As a hiring manager, you want candidates who are comparable on the same level, making it easier to identify the differences. Those differences will tell you which candidate is the right fit for the job. This means you need to pare down your candidate pool until the remaining ones are all apples.

How do you get to an apples-to-apples state?

Create formulas for candidate interviews and assessments.

In a previous post, we covered how to determine the needs of each position in order to create consistency around how each candidate is treated and appraised. Using a formulaic approach can help to reduce interview bias.

Don’t make notes later.

Making notes during or immediately following the interview means you aren’t missing critical information when it’s time to make a decision. Having a guide to follow or a worksheet to fill out will help each interviewer stay focused on what’s important while ensuring each interview is consistent. Our white paper on structured interviews can help you design questions and a scoring model for interviewers to use.

Weigh all parts of the application consistently.

All the pieces of an application, including the resume, interview responses, test scores, work samples and background check, create a portrait of the candidate. If work samples are the most important part of your interview process, keep it as the most important part for all candidates. Your goal is to standardize how important you consider each element of a candidate’s application.

Look for consistencies, then differences.

After gathering all candidate information, look at the qualities and measures that are consistent across candidates, such as educational backgrounds or technical skills. Once you’ve identified what’s similar among the candidates, evaluate the differences. Based on this information, you can start to make an informed decision about fit.

Make the choice.

After completing the steps above, you should have a clearly defined basis to choose Candidate A over Candidates B and C. By removing much of the subjectivity from the process, you should have a candidate who is the right fit for the job. Additionally, for candidates you did not choose, you now have solid evaluations to support the decision. Documenting the process helps ensure you’re in compliance with EEOC policies and practices.

Understand that at the end of the day, your apples-to-apples comparison is still going to reveal differences. After all, there’s a wide variety of apples to choose from at the market!

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