The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Hiring: Selecting Candidates

right-advisorThis is the final post in a three-part “ultimate hiring guide”, from CFIB’s preferred partner for recruitment services, Fitzii. If you haven’t already, read the first article on sourcing candidates, and the second on shortlisting candidates.

Top-5 Tips for Selecting Candidates

A landmark meta-analysis of 85 years of research in personnel selection came to the conclusion that the best way to maximize your chance of making a great hire is to use multiple valid methods of selection. It makes sense – there is no single way to best predict who will succeed in a role, but there are multiple ways to increase your odds.

These are the selection methods that we recommend at Fitzii, after helping hundreds of small businesses hire great people.

  1. Work Sample Tests

Evaluating candidates on an assignment that is similar to the actual work they’ll be doing had the highest correlation with job performance in the meta-analysis of selection methods. It’s well worth the time investment to carefully construct a work assignment that you can effectively rate.

2. Structured Behavioral Interviews

Doing a ‘structured interview’ had the second highest correlation with hiring success, while an ‘unstructured interview’ scored poorly. The difference lies in using behavioural interview questions based on past experience, then putting everyone through the same questions and scoring system. This type of interviewing has proven to be nine times as effective. Here are some more tips for doing it well.

3. Skills Tests to Prove It

For jobs that require certain specific skills, knowledge, or aptitude, it’s definitely not good enough to take a candidate’s word for it. Studies have shown that more than fifty percent of resumes stretch the truth or contain outright falsifications. A better alternative is to use an online skills test to evaluate the specific things you need the applicant to be able to do. These tests are abundant and inexpensive – Fitzii has access to a catalog of over 1500 to choose from.

4. Use a Psychometric Personality Test

Another selection method that scores highly in job performance prediction is in-depth psychometric (personality) testing, specifically designed for employment screening. These tests are most valuable for roles where personality traits are the key drivers of success – management, sales, service, and professional roles.

5. Don’t Call – Do a Reference Survey

How often have you decided not to hire a person after calling their references? That’s the problem – it’s usually just a time consuming formality. Instead of playing phone tag, our clients are seeing great value with doing an anonymous reference survey, which does a 360-degree evaluation of a candidate through a short survey of a variety of references. You’ll get a comprehensive report within 48 hours that will show you how the candidate has really performed in the past.

Trust the Process (not your gut)

The vast majority of companies use unstructured interviews to solely decide who to hire – that’s why half of the hires people make fall short of expectations. Using one or more of these methods will greatly increase your odds of making the right pick.

If you’d like to get some free advice on your selection process from one of Fitzii’s Hiring Advisors, just fill out this form and book a time right in our calendar. We offer small businesses an on-demand hiring expert that can provide all the tools and best practices, and we’ll do as much or as little of the work as you want us to.

Want More?


fitzii-jansen-225x225Edwin Jansen is the head of growth at Fitzii, CFIB’s preferred partner for recruitment services. Fitzii provides free job posting & tracking software plus access to expert hiring services and discounted job boards to help small businesses hire better, while saving lots of time, money and hassles along the way.

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