Home » Blog » Uncategorized » Apples and Oranges: How to Select the Best Candidates

Apples and Oranges: How to Select the Best Candidates

By Matt Poepsel, PhD

Time out! We need a better game plan.So you’re looking to add a new hire to your team. Game on! But wait … How will you decide which candidate is the best of the bunch? If you’re like most companies, you’ll rely on a series of poorly structured interviews, guesswork, and a bit of hope. You may get it right. You may end up right back where you are now.

Trying to pick out the best candidates should be as easy as comparing apples to oranges. Unfortunately, many searches stumble from the very start by relying on a manager’s “gut feel” about what the job requires. This spills over into candidate ratings and perceptions. To make the best choice, we need to take the subjectivity out of our decision making processes.

But how?

Even before you solicit candidates, it’s important to understand what’s required to succeed in role – not only from a skills perspective but from a behavioral perspective, too. Consider it a “role recipe”, if you will. For example, which traits are important for the job? How will the ideal candidate function in the job environment and what will that experience be like for him or her? Don’t forget that very few employees work in a vacuum (other than Industrial Vacuum Repair Specialists). It’s important to understand how a person will perform in the role but also as part of the team and as a part of your organization. Just like it’s important to know you don’t need oranges if you’re making an apple pie.

Before you begin swapping notes about who’s the best candidate, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does this job really involve?
  • What skills are required to succeed?
  • What type of person will excel at this type of work?
  • How do those behavioral types complement your company objective and culture?

Your #1 goal is to remove any potential bias from the selection process. While gut reactions may be helpful in choosing produce, they’re counterproductive and potentially inappropriate when it comes to finding the best candidate.

Know your job, then get to know your candidates. This way you’ll create a recipe for success instead of disaster.


Matt Poepsel, PhD, is the VP of Professional Services at PI, the "Godfather of Talent Optimization," and the author of "Expand the Circle: Enlightened Leadership for Our New World of Work." For every N. E. Patriots game, he prepares food and drinks that originate from the opponent's region.

View all articles
Copy link