5 Techniques That Help You Winnow Out Unqualified Job Candidates

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Today's Question: How do you screen applicants to weed out the qualified from the unqualified?

The answers below are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization composed of ambitious startup founders and business owners.

1. Examine Their Social Footprints

We are living in an era where just about everyone has a digital footprint. If you know how and where to look, those footprints can tell you a lot about prospective candidates. As a rule, I always take a look at an applicant's LinkedIn profile, at the very least.

— Steven Buchwald, Buchwald ">

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2. Check References

It's hard to know sometimes just by looking at a resume or LinkedIn profile who is truly excellent at what they do. We are huge advocates of checking references. As a business owner, I place a lot of value on feedback from a fellow business owner. Startups are often small organizations where employees absolutely have to execute in order for the team to succeed. Any chance to ensure that the prospective hire can make stuff happen is key. There are a lot of ways to do this, but in the past, we have started all new hires with a consulting-type project to see how they run with it.

— Norah Eddy, Salty Girl Seafood

3. Observe How They Work and Think

We like to start with a test. We have candidates build something small and generally similar to what we're hiring for in a set amount of time. This isn't just about code quality or design style – it's also about seeing how they think, if (and how) they ask for help or clarification when they don't understand something, and how they communicate overall. We look to see how it is to work with them – How fast or slow are they? Are they big-picture people or are more detail-oriented? We've been happy with the results.

— Uchechi Kalu Jacobson, Linking Arts Web Design ">

4. Focus on What They Have to Offer and How It Will Contribute to Your Business

Motivation is key to us at Aligned Signs. As such, I like to ask questions such as "Why did you choose this career path?" and "What is the most rewarding and least rewarding part of the job?" This way, I get to know candidates' aspirations better and can see what they are bringing into the business.

— Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

5. Ask Them to Record a Video

I ask all new employees to record a video to answer several questions. This allows me to weed out applicants who aren't willing to put in the effort, as well as gauge how well everyone's social skills are.

— Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning