Why You Need to Hear Out Your Job Candidates

Finding the perfect fit for a job isn’t easy. And, with today’s talent shortage, it doesn’t look like it will get any easier.

In fact, ManpowerGroup’s ninth annual Talent Shortage Survey revealed that 36 percent of employers globally reported talent shortages in 2014—the highest percentage in seven years. But is this alleged talent shortage really to blame for a lack of skilled candidates?

The truth is, your job candidates are qualified—you’re just not hearing them.

A new study, by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, found that people rate job candidates more competent when they hear them. In the study, when hypothetical employers and professional recruiters reviewed candidates’ qualifications, they found the candidates more appealing when they heard the pitch, than when they read it—even though they used the same words.

“In addition to communicating the contents of one’s mind, like specific thoughts and beliefs, a person’s speech conveys their fundamental capacity to think—the capacity for reasoning, thoughtfulness and intellect,” said Chicago Booth professor Nicholas Epley.

Instead of writing off a candidate based on their resume, cover letter and social profiles, here are four things you can do to better hear (and evaluate) job candidates:

Related Article: 10 Interview Questions to Save You From Hiring a Fake

Give New Meaning to Visual Resumes

Relying on text-heavy resumes to determine if a job candidate is qualified is an outdated, inefficient way to evaluate candidates. After all, the Chicago Booth study revealed, we generally find candidates more appealing when we hear them.

Give candidates a chance to be heard (and seen) before tossing their resumes into the “no” pile. One way to do this is by having candidates submit a visual resume—literally. As short-form video sharing apps, like Snapchat and Vine, rise in popularity, expect to see more candidates use these apps to create visual resumes to supplement their written resume.

Take Snapchat hopeful Elski Felson, for example. He used Snapchat’s “My Story” feature to apply for a job with the company that has since gone viral. While it’s not usually recommended to make bathroom jokes or comments on your booze intake in a job application, the video definitely gives you a taste of his personality and enthusiasm for the job. 

Not only can short-form video resumes give you a chance to see candidates before bringing them in for an interview, but it also enables you to hear candidates pitch their qualifications. Video resumes make it easy to assess more than just what’s on paper, from professionalism to personality to skill set.

Related Article: 12 Best Tools for Screening Potential Hires

Meet With Candidates Outside of the Office

You might be the one doing the interviewing now, but think back to when you were the one being interviewed (recall the sweaty palms, dry throat, jumbled thoughts, word vomit). It’s hard for anyone to put their best foot forward when interview jitters take over. So consider giving candidates a second chance to impress you—outside of the office.

When possible, meet with top job candidates in an informal setting after the interview. Invite candidates to attend a professional development or fundraising event. Or help them get a better feel for things by allowing them to sit in on a team meeting. This gives you an opportunity to evaluate candidates in a more relaxed environment and a chance to hear how candidates interact with other industry professionals or future colleagues.  

Video Interview

Screen Candidates via Video

You might be thinking it’s just as easy to hear candidates during an in-person interview—or phone interview, for that matter—as it is during a video interview. That might be so, but there is one crucial difference: video interviews are recorded. The nature of both one-way and two-way video interviews allows you to start, pause, rewind and re-watch interviews at your convenience.

When it comes to really hearing what candidates are saying, being able to refer back to their answers is extremely helpful. Not to mention, it makes collaborating over hiring decisions much easier. Consider replacing the traditional phone screen with video.  

Related Article: Teleworking: How to Create Presence in the Distance

Put Candidates to the Test

After conducting one interview after another, candidate responses can all begin to sound the same. Break the monotony by having candidates vocalize their achievements and skill set in the form of a live presentation. What better way to put candidates’ communication skills to the test than to have them prepare a short presentation related to the job at hand?

Not only do live presentations allow you to see how a candidate performs under pressure, it also gives you an opportunity to listen to candidates’ ability to persuade, entertain and connect with the audience. For sales, customer service, public relations and other jobs where communication skills are essential, interview presentations are a must.      

Use Voice Analysis

To emotion analytics startup Beyond Verbal, it’s not about what you say, but how you say it. As voice analysis technologies begin to take off, it won’t be long before we see them being used during the hiring process, to better evaluate candidates.

Beyond Verbal Website

Image via Beyond Verbal

Just last year, Beyond Verbal released Moodies, a mobile app designed to extract, decode and measure human emotions in real-time by listening to a person’s voice. It analyzes more than 400 different mood variants and offers updated emotion analysis every 15-20 seconds.

Voice analysis tools can make it easier for employers, hiring managers and recruiters to accurately assess candidates based on more than just what they’re saying, but how they say it and whether they mean it.

When it comes to hiring, it’s important for candidates’ voices to be heard—literally.      

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