Selecting Who to Interview

Jun 26, 2020

Hire Right, Part III – Choosing Whom To Interview

Note: This is the third in our Hire Right series, showing candidates and employers the process of finding the best employees.

Hiring Right means selecting the best candidates for interviews. Here, we show you how.

If you’ve mastered the tips laid out in Part II and written an attractive job listing, qualified people should be knocking down your door – or at least filling your inbox – with interest in working for you. It feels good, right? An enhanced company culture isn’t far away.

So you’ve got a bunch of interesting applications and you’re eager to hire the right person – now what? Well, a big part of making the best decision for your business is finding someone who fits into the culture you outlined in your job listing.

application overload

You’ll learn a lot about a person in a job interview, but there’s still plenty to discover when sorting through applications, resumes, and cover letters.

You won’t find the exact right person to hire based on the application, but you will find people who are worth your valuable time to schedule and conduct an interview. Here are some tips on how to find and interview the top candidates:

red flag

Weed Some Out

Just as important as choosing which job candidates to interview is knowing whom to eliminate. Some applicants will eliminate themselves – and we’ll get to that in a minute – but others will force tough decisions. It’s not supposed to be easy. If you need to make a “Maybe” pile as backup as you’re moving through applications, that’s OK as long as you end up with a small group of the best candidates.

Here are a couple red flags that can get application discarded immediately:

Social Media

If someone’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok account is filled with insensitive comments or depictions of questionable behavior, that person is not – NOT – coming to work for you.

Even if he or she has an amazing work ethic and practices effective habits, you don’t want that person representing your company and potentially bringing you down. Let that be someone else’s problem and move on to the next application.

Work History

You’ll never begrudge someone for looking for upward mobility and greater financial stability, but a lengthy job history might identify someone who is directionless, difficult to work with, or unable to handle adversity. It might not, too, but you don’t have time to worry about or ask those questions when so many more appealing candidates are present. Some people are always looking for a new job, and those people shouldn’t be working for you.


You may be surprised by not seeing anything to do with a candidate’s resume on that short list of red flags. That’s because resume aesthetics are not a make-or-break aspect of making the right hire for your company. Unless you’re hiring for a graphic design or writing position, or one that requires constant attention to detail, a fancy resume free of typos isn’t a deal-breaker. Of course you won’t brush off multiple tying errors, but as long as the qualifications are there, the look of the resume shouldn’t matter. More vital is the…

Cover Letter

This is how a candidate can truly set himself or herself apart. Many cover letters are the same, and your response to such repetition should be the same, too.


As a boss, you’ve read hundreds of letters from eager potential employees who describe their “passion” for their work and a go-getter attitude. You can’t knock passion and hunger, but you can assume that most applicants will describe themselves similarly.

Look for people who exude those traits, whose excitement for the job is evident through more than just overused words and abstract attributes. A cover letter doesn’t have to be a work of literary art, but it should reflect the person writing it more than it reflects a standard blueprint for writing one.


Make A List

The perfect candidate – much like the perfect employee – probably does not exist. But someone who comes close is out there, and you can probably find multiple versions of that person within your group of applicants. Knowing what you want goes a long way, so it’s good to make a list of about 10 desired qualities before you look at resumes. That way everyone can be judged fairly and there’s less room for arbitrary decisions.

You can reasonably expect for the best candidates to check 7-8 items on your list. That doesn’t necessarily equal an automatic interview, but it’s a good starting point for helping you stick to the job description. And now we’ve come full circle!

There are other ways to sort through candidates, such as creating an assessment to measure each candidate’s skills in important areas. The strategies discussed here in detail, though, will put you on the way to finding the best candidate. In Part IV, we’ll go into how to conduct an effective job interview. Thanks for reading.

Have you had trouble finding the best candidates for your job? Do you struggle to separate into “Yes,” “Maybe,” and “No?” categories? Leave a comment below and share your story.

Author: Ford Saeks, Business Growth Specialist, Keynote Speaker, Author and Consultant. Helping you find, attract, and keep your customers. Find out more about Ford


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