Hiring the Right Candidate: The Strategic Approach

Hiring people is complicated.  You want to find the right team member.  You want them to be hard working, have a great attitude, be of good character and, of course, be very talented. But where do you find this perfect candidate?  Where do you find your next team member that will be a part of your team for the next 2, 3 or 10 years?  

I believe it’s not as much a matter of where, but a matter of how

There are dozens of job posting websites.  ZipRecruiter is one that posts your job position on many different sites with one click, but it is not free. Most job board sites require payment, although there are some free options such as advertising on your social media accounts, blog and website. Honestly, and this is my last comment on the where, you should post your job on a site where people are going to find jobs like yours.  

For team support and administrative jobs, we have found Craigslist to be a great place to get applicants.  $25 (even free in certain cities) gets you a lot of people responding. There are lots of ways to solve the where of finding great people, but the how has to be more strategic.

The reason I say that hiring the right candidate takes a strategic approach is that in order to be successful at anything you have to plan and then execute a plan.  It is the same with hiring. Even if you focus on the basics like character, work ethic and following instructions, you have to utilize strategy in order to discover if the candidate really has the qualities you want.

As I said earlier, there are tons of places to place an ad. You need to strategically cause your ideal candidates to find you. You need to create a way to filter the candidates.


Make sure your job ad is specific. In the job title, make sure the position title is creative and descriptive. Don’t just use “Administrative Assistant”. Describe the position, “Administrative Assistant – Bookkeeping support, Phone answering, customer contact coordinator”… Be Specific.

In the actual ad, make sure you describe the position and make it absolutely clear the required skills needed to apply for the job.  If you need someone with 5 years of experience in “QuickBooks” then that will be one of your filters for eliminating resumes’ you do not need to review.

I would recommend further filtering on your ad.  This idea came to me after much prayer and consideration. In your ad, put in a series of assignments that must be completed in order for the candidate to be considered. Here is the hiring process that I use:

     1.       Please forward the following to this email address (The person filtering the candidates):
              a.      Your resume
              b.      Your reference
              c.      Your salary requirements
              d.      Please review our website and see whether you feel you are a fit for our                              culture. Please indicate why you think you are in a simple one-paragraph                            explanation.

If they leave out one of these items – eliminate them as a candidate. You do not want to hire someone who cannot follow simple instructions.

     2.       Please no phone calls to the office.   

If they call – eliminate them as a candidate. Again – they did not follow simple instructions.

Once they have made it past these two very powerful filters – you take it to the next level with some pre-interview testing. I recently helped a small business here in Tampa Bay with this process and of the 90 applicants for the job, only 14 made it through filter # 1.  Next week’s blog will focus on the next level of filtering.
This may all seem really complicated for just trying to hire someone and we haven’t even talked about trying to find the candidate with the right skills set, but let me remind you that you can train a qualified candidate to learn the skills of the job, but you cannot train – diligence, character, responsibility and patience.  These you have to uncover in the candidate process.

NEXT WEEK – Matching the right candidate to your exact position with testing.

About the Author, Jim Brangenberg

Jim's Mission: To transform Christian-run businesses through mentoring Christian Business Owners (CBOs) by incorporating the servant leadership of Jesus Christ in their businesses, their home life and their walk with Christ.

Jim Brangenberg