How first time managers actually should be going through an applicant's CV

Choosing the best candidate for a role in your company can be a bigger challenge when you've never done it before (

When you're new in the hiring game, fishing out the right employee is a matter of knowing what you want.

Your first management position is a big win; it’s a sign that you’ve done something awesome in your career. It’s also the first time that the success of your career rides on the performance of your team members. That’s why it’s important to have people in your team who share the same vision and tenacity as you do.

But we can’t hide from the fact that competition for top players in the job market is high, and when you’re fishing out a new hire, you need to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff so that you land up with the best of the best. How you do that, especially when you’re new in the hiring game, depends on the following:

Think before you search

Abraham Lincoln once said: “Give me six hours to chop down one tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” You need to have a detailed understanding of what you want from a vacant position before embarking on the recruitment process. Too many recruiters unknowingly spend their time trying to sharpen dull axes, and in the process, lose out on valuable time and money.

If you take the time to put effort in fully understanding what qualities you’re looking for in a candidate, you’ll have done half the work and eliminated any potential risk when you decide to bring in a new hire to your team.

Pay close attention to the initial interaction

If you work in an industry where the demand for jobs is high, chances are that the response is large and potentially overwhelming. However, pay close attention to how candidates respond to your job ad - it will reveal a lot about how interested they really are in joining your company. Candidates serious about getting the job will take the effort to craft a personalized cover letter. These are usually the same candidates who will follow up their application with a phone call or an email too. On the other hand, someone who doesn’t want to be remembered will not show eagerness.

Tip: When sifting through applications, one question you shouldn’t find yourself asking is, “Why am I still reading this?” However, if half way through a job seeker’s application you find that you’ve lost focus; perhaps the cover letter includes generic phrases, the candidate is lying on their CV, or the like, it’s usually an indication to move to the next one.

Do not overanalyse CVs

Following on from the point above, you need to keep an open mind and understand that CVs are by their nature imperfect and that they are not always the best representation of a candidate’s experience and personality. If in every application you’re looking for every small detail you included in the job ad, you’re not going to get someone who’s going to tick all the boxes. In other words, don’t make assumptions based on a candidate’s CV. One effective way to refrain from judging a book by its cover is to ask all applicants to include a list of references (to contact).

Using references to their fullest potential

You’ll need to make most of a candidate’s references so that you get as much information as you need. Remember that even though a candidate’s skill set is important, their personality will also weigh heavyily on the success of your team.

References are an excellent source for finding out more information about an applicant’s personality. For instance, if your team thrives on collaboration, you’ll want to chat to a referee about a candidate’s level of teamwork. If the candidate prefers to fly solo, he or she may not be a good fit for your team. It’s important to think about what matters to you and your company culture, and use that as a guide to asking the necessary questions.

The hiring process is never an easy feat, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. But having a clear understanding of what you’re looking for in a potential hire, will make the process a lot easier on you and boost the chances of success for your team.