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5 Things Recruiters Can Learn from the Presidential Debates

With the 2012 Presidential Election less than three weeks away, we’ve officially entered the dreaded zone of back and forth debates, non-stop trash talking commercials, and endless political posts on Facebook. Even though this time of year can be annoying, there are some things that recruiters can learn, especially from the Presidential debates.

Americans don’t simply let someone walk into the White House without an intense screening process, the same way that you shouldn’t hire new employees without knowing all that you can about them. While the vetting process isn’t quite as intense for normal job candidates, there are still a lot of similarities.

Here are five things recruiters can learn from the Presidential debates:

  1. Interview your candidates thoroughly. Just as Americans want to know as much as they can about each Presidential candidate before they make a decision, recruiters should learn as much as they can about each potential employee before choosing who to hire. Keep in mind that it usually takes more than one interview to learn everything you need to know about a candidate – you not only want to know about their experience and their skills, but their attitude and how they will fit in with your company culture – so it helps to have a series of different types of interviews with different people in the company.
  2. Understand what each candidate’s strengths are. By thoroughly reading through their resumes and conducting several interviews, you should eventually be able to pinpoint what each candidate’s strengths are. Once you know each candidate’s skills and abilities, you can more easily decide who’s talents align with the job and your company as a whole.
  3. Understand what each candidate’s weaknesses are. Just as you need to know what each candidate’s strengths are, you also need to know what each candidate’s weaknesses are. You can unveil a job seeker’s weaknesses by simply asking them what they think their own weaknesses are and by asking a number of other behavioral-based questions. You shouldn’t always discount a candidate because of their weaknesses, but instead ask yourself how you might be able to help that job seeker overcome their weaknesses and whether or not they’re willing to grow and learn within the position.
  4. Check the facts. Just like Presidential candidates, most job seekers will say almost anything to make themselves look good, which is why you need to check all the facts. Make sure you verify a potential employee’s education and employment history, try to speak to a few references about the candidate, and maybe even conduct a thorough background check so you can be assured the person is who they say they are.
  5. Pick the person that’s best for the job. Once all the interviews are complete and your fact-checking is done, you might be left with several candidates that you think have enough experience and are qualified for the position. This is where you need to use your gut instinct to pick who will be best for the job at hand, not necessarily who has the most experience or the most education.

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