In The Workplace

We are hiring at least 300 workers for our projected expansion early next year. What would be the most efficient and effective approach to take in evaluating job candidates? — Long Shot.

Many of today’s recruiters don’t realize there are various approaches you can take in evaluating job applicants. Such lack of awareness can be problematic in the long term, to the point of adversely affecting the organization’s performance.

For one thing, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to hiring candidates. Much depends on the nature of the job and sensitivity of the position. If you’re advertising for non-management jobs, the standard approach is to administer a standard intelligence quotient (IQ) test, which you can get for free from the internet, although the number of questions may be limited.

Sometimes, organizations rely on the recommendation of manpower agencies, which are not usually equipped with the right internal hiring talent and tools which must go through a certain special process. Many times, they bypass the process because they want their candidates to be accepted right away by their clients, who are in a rush to get people on board.

So, what’s the right approach? As I said, non-management applicants must pass the IQ test as a first step. If they pass the test, they can proceed to a series of interviews by a hiring clerk in human resources (HR), a ranking member of HR, and an official representing the requesting department, in that order.

By using the following process, you should have a better understanding of how to identify potential employees who could help you in your expansion:

First step: Screening interview. Assign your hiring clerk to perform an online interview. Normally, this takes only 30 minutes. This short-duration interview must test the veracity of the applicant’s qualifications, including educational attainment, employment history, and other basic requirements as identified by the requisitioning department.

When an applicant gives at least three “wrong” answers, the HR clerk must disengage diplomatically. This is efficient as you can schedule at least 20 candidates in one day to determine which one among them has the basic qualifications to warrant an in-depth, face-to-face interview with a ranking HR official. This process should not be repeated by other interviewers.

Second step: Face-to-face interview. Those who pass the online screening process may proceed to be interviewed by an HR official. The questions asked are open-ended, situational, and pertinent to the job. If a job vacancy is for an accounting clerk, one question that may be asked is: What accounting standards and procedure that are difficult to perform? Why?

Further, when choosing the situational approach, HR must assess the candidates’ answers based on certain standards like resourcefulness, conceptual ability, logic, and communication skills, among others.

Third step: Targeted interview. This is to be done by an official of the requesting department. In this case, the interviewer must define the key qualifications which are imperative for an applicant to perform the job successfully. The interview questions are designed in advance and should be asked of all applicants.

To ensure the process is objective, whoever is tasked to conduct the interview must use a standard form that assigns weight or value to each question. The form must allow some flexibility to accommodate questions that will isolate the most interesting qualities of an applicant that cannot be found in his or her resume.

To do this, the following questions may be asked: If we talk to your former boss, what do you think the boss would say about you and your performance? What were your most significant accomplishments with the help of your boss? How would you describe your boss’s management style?

At times, the interviewers may be tempted to hire an applicant without completing the three-stage interview process. That happens when the requesting department finds someone who appears to be unique from other applicants, when in fact, they are not.

This is the halo effect, a type of bias which colors our positive and overall impression of a candidate while rejecting that person’s major flaws. The challenge, therefore is how to manage a job vacancy that may become obsolete in the future due to various factors, like the advancement of technology.

The important consideration, therefore, is to screen candidates based on the future needs of the organization, including the possibility of performing certain jobs with fewer people on board.


Bring Rey Elbo’s leadership program called “Superior Subordinate Supervision” to your management team. Contact him on Facebook, LinkedIn, X or e-mail or via