Often, job applicants are modestly presented or exaggerated. And the search for the truth is up to each organization’s human resources department or hiring manager.

A strong, comprehensive and multi-layered evaluation process will help you find that truth while providing countless benefits to your company. The most important of these is decreasing the risk of a bad hire. 

Below are a few guidelines for finding quality candidates using a multi-dimensional strategy.

Job Description

Ensure that this is updated to reflect the current responsibilities of the role. Job descriptions often include almost everything or too many responsibilities–some of which are outdated. The job description will be the first hurdle for those who are unqualified for the position, so it’s important for it to be accurate.

Many companies struggle with whether or not to include the salary in the job description. There are pros and cons. You could omit the salary in hopes of garnering a cheaper hire, although that could also deter a higher-level candidate from even applying. Offering a salary range is a common compromise.

The Online Job Ad

Advertising on the Internet results in larger numbers of applicants. The process of sifting through these applications can be daunting, but it is an important step that, if not handled properly, could cost the company thousands of dollars. At this stage, a simple checklist is helpful for those tasked with sorting through the masses.

Employment Application

Requiring both an employment application and a resume can help easily weed out applicants who are not fully dedicated. For jobs that attract a high volume of candidates, those with “See Resume” written in can be omitted.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

The ATS can help with quality assurance. This is a paid service that reduces search time by electronically screening resumes or applications and discarding those that do not meet the pre-determined criteria.

Social Media

At this point, you should have a list of desired talent. The next step is to check their social media sites. Do these candidates appear to fit in with your company culture? Do they exude professionalism? How are their communication skills?

Keep in mind that being gregarious online can be useful in certain positions. Additionally, a large social media following can indicate a wide client base and be helpful for business development.

Phone Interview

The 20- to 30-minute phone interview is the official first-round interview and is a low-cost alternative to an in-person interview. Aside from the information and experience found on a candidate’s resume and application, this is where the open-ended questions begin to hold more value.

The Individual Assessment 

The assessment piece of the evaluation, which is an unbiased report, will uncover a candidate’s highest potential for success. A competency-based behavioral assessment is critical and should ideally occur before the in-person interview. It is beneficial to know the type of individual you are speaking with and to have some insight regarding his or her job competencies.

Another benefit is to avoid creating an initial emotional connection before you have the results of the assessment. Sometimes when an emotional connection is made between a candidate and a hiring manager, human nature makes it difficult for us to detach from that positive feeling. It then becomes challenging to remain nonpartisan toward the candidate. If, however, the assessment is given before the in-person interview, the hiring professional can focus on the solid findings up to that point, and then begin to evaluate the cultural fit.

Finally, consider the training element. Some people will come into a job role ready to hit the ground running and others may need significant coaching and training. Your assessments will show how much guidance a candidate needs, whether he or she is open to change, and if there are any red flags to consider.

Spare yourself the aggravation of a bad hire and follow a comprehensive hiring strategy. Someone once said, “You can teach a chicken to climb a tree, but why not have the squirrel do it in the first place?”