First, identify the right hiring strategy. Referrals from current employees are often best. At GE Medical Systems, just 1 percent of the people who send in résumés get interviews. But 10 percent of employee referrals result not just in an interview but in a hire, reports Fortune. Result: The firm courts employee referrals through a generous bonus program.
Track how you find your best hires. Aside from referrals, weigh your results using interns, temps and professional recruiters. With each method, measure “first-pass yield” (the percentage of résumés that result in interviews) and “second-pass yield” (the percentage of interviews that lead to offers).
Here are other techniques to hire smart:
Grade each résumé. Objectively evaluate résumés of candidates who meet all job requirements and other prerequisites.
Like a restaurant guide, create numerical “grades” to tell at a glance who’s the most promising candidate.
Example: Take every qualifying résumé and rate it on a 1-10 scale for depth of experience, education and relevance of affiliations and activities. Use a preprinted form or computer spreadsheet. Establish a “perfect 10” for every job so that you apply a fair basis of comparison.
Screen by phone. Call the highest-rated candidates for a short phone interview. Read from a prep sheet that summarizes the job and describes a few pros and cons. Then ask three questions: To what extent are you interested in this job and why? What makes you stand out from other candidates? What do you like most and least about your current job?
Note the responses on a form. Close the interview by explaining your hiring timetable and inviting questions.
Match competencies. List up to 14 well-defined skills that the position requires. Then use the résumé, application and phone interview to rate how closely each candidate has what it takes to succeed. In the face-to-face interview, prompt individuals to discuss those areas where they lack key competencies. Let them commit to gaining new skills or modifying their existing skills to fit your needs.