The Art of Hiring

Kristin Sheridan
July 14, 2023
Discover the art of hiring with our expert guide. Learn effective strategies and insightful steps to enhance your recruitment success.

Proven Steps for Successful Recruitment

Hiring is complicated. I’ve been in the search business for 20 years and no matter the role, or the company we get the same question … how do we know this person will work? The honest answer, you don’t. There are no guarantees in this business. What it really comes down to is gut instinct, calculated risk and a well thought out effective hiring process. And while I can’t advise you on the first two, I can share some proven steps to increase your chances of hiring success. 

Effective Prep Process: Pre-Interview Tips

  • Evaluate you and your team’s strengths and weaknesses: There is an expression in this business: “people hire people they like” meaning we tend to hire people who remind us of us. It makes us feel comfortable. Instead focus on bringing on someone who compliments your team’s skills, not replicates them. Develop a list of absolutely necessary skills and experiences this person needs to have. Having that list in front of you helps to focus during your initial evaluation. 
  • Define success (& be realistic): Set short, medium and long term goals for this person. A successful hire will not solve all problems within the first week. It takes time to build relationships, understand the business and dig into the role. 
  • Set the interview process: Choose interviewers who the hire will regularly interact with and have different perspectives. Try to avoid those with extremely busy schedules. Think of recruiting like dating, it’s all about momentum. The quicker you can work through the process, the more engaged everyone will be.
  • Stick to the Process: Of course things come up, but when you change course (like adding interviews) it can both send the wrong message and create a negative candidate experience. 

Effective Interviewing Process: Interviewing Tips 

  • Avoid a purely casual conversation: Good rapport is important but at the end of the day, this person is here to do a job. You need to assess them accordingly. Come prepared with a list of questions that will help you really understand what their role was and what they were directly responsible for. Don’t be afraid to probe and really dig into examples they give.  
  • Meet the candidate in person: It’s the best way to truly get to know someone. You don’t need to do this for every candidate but at least for your top 2 finalists. If that’s not possible, opt for a video interview. 
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Assessments: Assessments are generally good tools to identify how the person works best, where they need to further develop and their potential compatibility with your team. Use assessments towards the end of the interviewing process and only give them to serious contenders. 
  • Do a gut check in real time: When you’re halfway through the interview ask yourself, do I truly understand their experience?  Do I know if  they are a strong candidate or not a fit? Don’t be blinded by a charismatic person who is a great interviewer. 

Effective Hiring Process: Post-Interview Tips

  • Reference check- both blind & given: Be prepared with specific questions about the candidate’s experience. When you ask specific questions, you get specific answers. (especially around any red flags). If you can successfully navigate a blind reference, do it. Since it is unsolicited, you arguably get better insight. Just be sure to respect confidential searches and not to call someone at their current company. 
  • Be Honest with Yourself: If you’re not 100% in, you’re out. Despite all the data, if you have serious pause or aren’t  excited about making the candidate an offer, it’s telling. It’s okay to restart the search. It might seem like more work immediately but it could ultimately save you from the more tedious task of having to let go and re-hire again in the near future. 

Most of all, remember that while a well-thought out hiring process will help mitigate risk, ultimately hiring is an art, not a science. Have more questions on building a successful team?  Shoot me an email at or drop us a note here.

Kristin Sheridan

Kristin Sheridan

President & Co-Founder

For more than 15 years, Kristin has been a leader at top multinational firms including CT and Caldwell Partners. Throughout her career, Kristin has built an impeccable reputation as a trusted partner and advisor to executives and board members across finance, sales, legal, marketing and HR.