10 Tips for Narrowing the Field When Hiring | International Franchise Association

10 Tips for Narrowing the Field When Hiring


Develop a standardized hiring system to ensure a fair and effective process.

By Rebecca Morris



Employers often invest significant resources to recruit and hire high-caliber employees. To ensure a fair and effective hiring process, employers should develop a standardized hiring system that will help narrow the applicant pool and identify qualified candidates. This includes establishing practices for reviewing candidates' resumes, employment applications, responses to pre-screening questions, as well as for conducting interviews.

The following are 10 tips for developing and implementing a hiring process:

  1. Establish a standardized process.  All applicants for a given position should be subject to the same set of requirements.  For instance, all applicants may be required to answer pre-screening questions, complete an employment application and have a phone or in-person interview.  When posting your job advertisement, accurately describe the job, explain the selection process and outline the job-related requirements. These steps can help limit your applicant pool to interested and qualified candidates.
  2. Develop selection criteria and be consistent.  Define the qualifications candidates need by drafting a detailed job description.  Once these qualifications have been established, make sure the same job-related criteria are required of every applicant.
  3. Keep nondiscrimination laws in mind.  Employers should be mindful of federal, state and local nondiscrimination laws when engaging in the screening, selection and hiring process. Under federal law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees and applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, pregnancy, national origin, citizenship, disability, genetic information and military status. Many states and local jurisdictions have additional protections. Keeping in mind these anti-discrimination laws, employers should avoid questions that would directly or indirectly reveal a job candidate's membership in a protected class.
  4. Carefully review resumes.  Employers should carefully review resumes to assess a candidate's employment history, skills and accomplishments. When reviewing resumes, consider the following questions: Are the candidate's previous positions consistent with the requirements of your open position? Is the resume thoughtful, well organized and free of typographical errors?  Resumes provide employers with information that the applicant wants to share.  It is therefore a good idea to review resumes in conjunction with an employment application and other pre-employment assessments.
  5. Request an application.  Employers should have candidates complete a job application. Applications allow employers to collect and review information about a potential employee's work history, educational background and qualifications in a standardized way. This will help ensure that the employer looks at the same information from every applicant and uses the same criteria when making hiring decisions. A well-crafted application form can also provide employers with job-related information that is often excluded from resumes, such as reasons for leaving previous jobs and salary history.
  6. Draft pre-screening questions.  Employers may wish to use pre-screening questions before an interview to help assess whether an applicant has the minimum qualifications required to perform the job. When drafting pre-screening questions, keep in mind that the questions should be job-related and tailored to the specific requirements of the position.  For instance, if you are hiring a customer service representative, consider asking candidates to explain a time that they helped resolve a particularly difficult customer service issue.  Employers should use the same pre-screening questions for all applicants applying for a particular position to ensure that each applicant is evaluated with the same criteria.
  7. Conduct a telephone screen.  After you have narrowed down your list of applicants to those that meet the minimum job-related requirements, consider conducting a phone interview before devoting the time to an in-person interview. Phone interviews are generally relatively short and should focus on clarifying questions based on the candidate's resume, job application or other pre-screening information.
  8. Consider video interviews, when appropriate.  Employers may also consider conducting a video interview prior to scheduling an in-person interview, when appropriate. Where geographic limitations make it difficult to schedule an in-person meeting, video interviews can help the interviewer evaluate the candidate by assessing nonverbal cues, such as eye contact, energy and overall poise, which may not be evident during a phone interview.
  9. Conduct in-person interviews.  Where possible, employers should meet in person with the candidates that have successfully completed the phone or video interview stage. When conducting the in-person interview, interviewers should consider asking questions that elicit how the candidate has handled situations in the past that are similar to what the candidate would experience on the job.  Interviewers should avoid questions that are not job-related, as well as those that have the potential to reveal the candidate's status in a protected class.
  10. Make your decision.  Upon completion of the screening and interview process, employers should review all information gathered on all applicants and evaluate each candidate based on his qualifications as they relate to the open position. Once you have made your selection decision, extend an offer contingent on any other necessary pre-employment steps, such as a reference check, background check or drug test. It is always a best practice (and the law in certain states and local jurisdictions) to wait to conduct these checks and tests until after you have extended a conditional offer. Check your state and local law to ensure compliance with pre-employment screenings such as background checks.

When evaluating which candidate is the best fit for an open position, remember to review the applicant data gathered during the pre-screening and the interview process carefully, apply hiring criteria consistently and consider only job-related factors.

Rebecca Morris is the content development manager for ADP HR411.  Whether it’s human resources, payroll or benefits, ADP provides the services and insights that let you focus on what matters: growing your franchise. For more information, contact ADP Vice President, Strategic Alliances Joe Francis.  Find him at fransocial.franchise.org.

Disclaimer:  This content provides practical information concerning the subject matter covered and is provided with the understanding that ADP is not rendering legal advice or other professional services. ADP does not give legal advice as part of its services. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. This material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable law in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice.