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July 22, 2004
Establish Criteria When Fielding Candidates.
by Steve Kuhn,

The economy is picking up, and companies large and small are hiring. The activity level has not reached the fervor of the mid-to-late ‘90’s, but indicators show steady progress. Once your organization has recognized a need for additional staff, has exhausted internal resources, and has made the decision to use a search firm, certain criteria must be established when fielding candidates.

When hiring, experience has shown that the smoothest, most effective, and timely hires have occurred when:

  1. Established candidate criteria are in place;
  2. The recruiter has access to the hiring authorities (not just the resume screeners);
  3. A solid interviewing process is established.

For now, we will focus on candidate criteria. Hiring authorities must consider several requirements when screening applicants. When I ask a hiring authority for the "top 5" requirements, the list usually stops at three. It seems the last two requirements are evasive, or they fall into what may be described as "understood requirements": works well with others, is an effective communicator, possesses leadership capabilities, has progressive experience. It is fair to say that these criteria are required in all applicants. What we recruiters are looking for are the "must have" requirements ­ criteria that set candidates apart from the others. Here are a few examples:

  • Educational requirements;
  • Years experience;
  • Location;
  • Specific industry experience (retail, pharmaceutical, IT, healthcare, etc.
  • Availability;

These examples may seem obvious, and indeed, they are just the tip of the iceberg. Candidate criteria can be as varied and unique as the companies in the marketplace.

These "must have" requirements - tailored to your organization’s specific needs - are extremely helpful to your recruiter. They enable the search team to quickly determine the fit of a candidate. Time is of the essence in today’s market. Establishing and maintaining effective candidate criteria is just one step in making a sound, timely, and ultimately successful hire.

  About the Author
Steve Kuhn, of
Steve Kuhn has over eleven years of successful recruitment in the fields of logistics, supply chain management, distribution operations, transportation and engineering. Steve holds a BS degree in industrial distribution from Texas A&M and recently completed his first Marine Corps Marathon held last month in Washington, D.C.

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