Corporate Payroll Services

How to Recruit that New Team Member

You’ve gone through a needs assessment, determined that you require a new employee and you’ve posted the position on job boards.  The applications are starting to roll in.  What should you do before you start scheduling applicants to come in for face-to-face interviews?

Tracking System

At a minimum, establish a system for tracking candidates throughout the hiring process.  For a small organization, it’s wise to have one person responsible for the tracking.  In order to give a favorable impression of your organization to potential hires, you should have a consistent workflow for the interview process.  It will help you stay on top of the paperwork and make it easier keep the interviewing team informed.  Plus, you’ll be able to respond to candidates promptly and guide them through the process professionally.


You’ll probably need to narrow down the pool of applicants to those that you most want to interview based on scanning their resumes.  If you’re too stringent, though, you might miss out on an excellent candidate.  Look at items in the job description like your minimum requirements.  Check to see if the candidate has equivalent “real world” experience that might suffice for a high school or college diploma, or for specific training or certifications.

Phone screening lets you get a more in-depth perspective on whether the individual has the desired skill set.  Be prepared with standard questions to get a consistent read on candidates to compare later.  If you talk to a large number of candidates, they may begin to run together.  Or you may get off track in an interesting conversation.  Your list of questions will ensure you consistently get all of your boxes checked.  This list should come from your job description.  However, you’ll also want to ask questions that will give you an idea of whether this candidate will be a good fit with rest of the team.  Asking open-ended questions will help accomplish this.  Our downloadable guide will also help you with questions.

You can also have the applicant perform skills tests.  This can be done on site or online.  Just make sure that your candidate is not performing real work (for which you may owe them compensation), or that the test takes so long that you dissuade an otherwise great candidate.

What Not To Do

Do not use social media to do research on your candidate.  You’re likely to discover information such as religion, familial status and ethnicity that cannot be used in a hiring situation.  Even if you do not actively rely on this information, if a potential hire is not selected, they may challenge you on these things.  It will be harder for you to defend your decision than if you just didn’t know about this protected information in the first place.

The Interview

Now that you’ve pre-screened and narrowed down your applicant pool, it’s time to for the in-person interview.

Here’s what you should do

Make the applicant comfortable.  It can be stressful to sell your skills and expertise to a complete stranger.  The more nervous the candidate is, the tougher it will be to get an accurate assessment of how they will fit into your organization.  Here are some ways to get the interview started off on the right foot and make them comfortable.

  • Be on time. It shows respect.
  • Make sure the interview room is a comfortable temperature.
  • Introduce each person on the interview team. Give a brief synopsis of their role and how the person might interact with them.

Remember that the evaluation goes both ways.  Not only are you assessing the candidate, they are assessing your organization.  Is yours a place they’d like to work?  Is the culture a fit?  Do they see themselves interacting with you on a daily basis?

Let the Applicant Do the Talking

Encourage your candidate to open up by asking open-ended questions.  Encourage communication and clarification by asking follow-up questions, too.  You may find yourself talking to a very chatty individual, though.  Don’t let the interview get off track.  Guide the conversation to the topics you want covered; keep the conversation focused on job-related topics.

Explain the Next Steps

When the interview is done, you usually don’t want to indicate whether or not you plan to offer the role to the individual.  If you think the applicant is in the running for the open position, you can emphasize that there are just a few other candidates and that you look forward to talking to them more once the final decision is made.  Conversely, if you’ve ruled out a candidate, let them know that you expect to make a decision by X date (e.g. in the next two weeks.)

What you should not do

Do not ask discriminatory questions.

  • Avoid questions where the answer can reveal information about the candidate being part of a protected class. This includes information about race, religion, gender, age, national origin, marital status and so on.
  • If you ask questions that make a candidate provide this information, it can make your final decision appear to be biased.
  • If there are job requirements that might lend themselves to finding out this information, focus your question on the job requirement, not the personal information.
    • For example, if the role requires the candidate to be available on weekends or in the evening, ask about their availability during those hours. Do not ask if they have children or adequate childcare to be able to work during that time.
  • If the candidate volunteers the information, that’s fine. Just do not inquire about it.
  • If a co-worker starts to ask a question that may elicit potentially discriminatory information, you may need to cut in and re-phrase the question.

Do not take notes that may be found to be discriminatory.  For example, do not write “Older.  May not be tech savvy” or “has a baby” in any of your notes.  If you do take notes, write them as if you expect a judge to review them in a discrimination claim.

After the Interview

Select a Candidate

Try to meet with the interview team as soon as possible, while the interviews are fresh in their minds.  Often one candidate will stand out, making the decision an easy one.  If that’s not the case, however, use the job description to narrow down to the best applicant.  Use it as a basis for discussion about who has the best skill set to perform the essential functions of the job.

When you’ve determined the top few candidates, check their references.  If possible, seek out reference from a former manager to get input on how the potential employee performed in their previous job.

You may decide to have other contingencies written into the job offer, such as a background check and/or a physical or drug test.  You must apply these consistently to all similar positions and follow specific rules for conducting these checks.

Tie Up Loose Ends

Once the new employee has joined your organization, remove the job posting from your site and job boards.  Follow up with applicants who were not selected for the position, especially those who came into your office for an interview.  They deserve the courtesy of a follow-up call letting them know they haven’t been selected for the position.

Next, we’ll talk about how to welcome your new employee.