Once a job application has been received it is helpful to first consider whether the applicant has worked in a similar environment, in the same business climate and industry. Past behaviour can be one of the best indicators of future behaviour and it will allow you to recruit staff who can hit the ground running, which in turn will avoid any unnecessary training costs.

Typically when reviewing an application you will only have a few minutes to screen candidates.

When reviewing an application’s it may be helpful if you initially consider three primary areas:

1. Experience (what does the job require in terms of specific job related experience and in what environment. Are there any life experiences which would be valuable in terms of completing their duties? Applicants who give examples of how they resolved or found solutions to difficult scenarios could be more suitable for the position). Having in depth experience of how an industry operates or specific product knowledge is a positive.
2. Qualifications (what knowledge is needed to perform certain elements of the role)
3. Skills (what special skills are required in order to carry out the job properly)

It may also help to consider areas which are less quantifiable, but nevertheless still significant. Communication skills are key and if the applicant can clearly relate their message to the reader, this can be a very valuable personal skill. Expect no spelling mistakes which surprisingly can occur more often than one may think. If you believe the application is well written, easy to read and interesting, this lays the foundation for a clear and logical thinker.

Layout of an application is also something to look out for. Applications which show employment history by laying out in a neat and easy to locate order with areas focused on particular expertise can indicate a good candidate. However, bizarre colours and wild fonts could be one for the unsuccessful pile.

Creating a ‘person specification’ and comparing it to the applications received helps you concentrate on the necessary traits of the ‘perfect’ candidate. A person specification should list all of the required attributes for the job, and also the desirable ones. Ticking these off against the information in the application gives you an easy to manage way of assessing how suitable each candidate is.

Many people claim they can judge whether the candidate is the right person for the role within the first 5 minutes. However, my advice is to take more time, listen to what the employee says and ask them for ideas and thoughts. Here at Peninsula we have had some of the best business ideas from interview candidates, obviously this has worked for us and there is nothing to say that your next big business idea could result from a potential employee, so I always try and seek what business ideas they have.

Of course appearance is everything however; this can always be something that can be improved upon. I have interviewed candidates who looked like they have spent the night “on the town”, when in fairness they came across well in the interview and subsequently I offered them the job.

Remember applicants will be nervous; you may not obtain the best answers given the pressure they are under, so try to put the individual at ease. Finally there have been times when I have been unsure about a particular applicant, you cannot decide whether you should hire them or you feel you need more time to make your decision. Do not be afraid to ask them to return for a second interview because ultimately you need to make the correct decision. Employing the wrong person can be costly to you, both in terms of wasted time and expense.

Do you have any recruitment tips and experiences that you would like to share? Email me at alanprice@peninsula-uk.com

For help on the above, or any other aspect of recruitment, please call our 24 Hour Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.