The Right Fit

Have you identified the candidates for your business? Bryan Burkhart gives tips on how to pick the right one.

Updated: Mar 04, 2014, 19:56 PM IST

Have you identified the candidates for your business? Bryan Burkhart gives tips on how to pick the right one.

Once you have interested candidates, how do you figure out which one is the right one for your team? The answer depends on two things: The person’s fit for the role., and the person’s fit for the team.

Here’s the evaluation process we use:

E-mail interaction: Because we typically start our interview process based on a recruiting campaign conducted by e-mail, the correspondence itself allows for basic analysis of the candidate. Is the candidate interested in the role? Is he or she responsive to our e-mails? Does the candidate take the time to proofread a response? If so, this person is a viable candidate and ready for the next step.

Phone screen: Before setting up a first interview, we ask for a brief phone screen. This allows us to assess: Is the candidate enthusiastic? Is the candidate articulate? It also gives us the chance to determine why the candidate is interested in the position.
In-person interviews: We have multiple people, three to five, meet with a candidate for in-person interviews. They generally last 30 to 60 minutes, and we try to form two different assessments. First, is the candidate a culture fit? One of our values is, “Care deeply about our colleagues.” This assessment has been relatively easy for us to make, because we work hard to hire people who are genuinely good folks. During the interview process, we have a candidate meet with multiple employees to get a broad sense of the candidate’s ability to fit in with the existing team. Second, we ask detailed questions about the candidate’s background, work experience and skill sets to determine if the person is a good fit for the role.

Case study for short-list of candidates: Candidates who make our short-list are given case studies that approximate the actual job. We provide an assignment, with all of the necessary background information, and then set up a time for the candidate to come back into the office and present the case to a handful of us who will make the hiring decision. This in-depth evaluation allows us to separate the great candidates from the merely good. Here are some examples:

For a finance candidate: Under a nondisclosure agreement, we gave the candidate historical financial information about the company and the specific levers for our growth. We then assigned him the task of developing a 12-month revenue model.

For a floral buyer: We gave the candidate floral recipes — the individual stems that make up a single arrangement — for our markets for the coming week. She then walked us through the sources that she would use to procure the necessary flowers from around the world, and at what prices she could buy them.

For a direct marketing manager: We provided the candidate with monthly customer goals for the next year and an annual marketing budget. The task was to present a detailed marketing plan, noting the number of customers acquired each month by each marketing channel and listing all of the corresponding costs.

On-the-job cultural assessment: Before candidates receive a formal job offer, they are invited to spend real time – often a full day – on the job. This gives us the chance to see how we feel about future team members in our work environment. For the candidates, it provides a comparison point between the job they envisioned and the reality of working at the company every day.
Has your hiring process evolved? What have you learned?

Bryan Burkhart is a founder of H.Bloom.