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How To Hire Better: Tasks for Making Great Hiring Decisions

To hire better, employers hiring for digital learning roles may need to upgrade the entire hiring process from job descriptions to making the offer.


The hiring environment is especially competitive right now. Between the pandemic, the great resignation, and the rising cost of living, many people are looking for new roles. Yet, the best candidates are being more choosy about where they work and under what conditions. That means employers in every industry may need to learn to hire better if they want to attract the best candidates for the role.

Employers hiring for digital learning roles need to move quickly but not recklessly to find and hire the right candidates. If you think your hiring process could use an upgrade, this post is for you. We’ll take you through the entire process, from writing the job description to making the offer and show you how to get the best candidates onboard.

Prep Work to Help You Hire Better

The work you do before the interview will go a long way toward helping you hire better. Getting super clear on the job, salary, and core criteria will increase the quality of your candidate pool.

  • Write a clear and comprehensive job description. It’s hard to hire well if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Think through every aspect of the job and get it all on paper so you can fully assess any candidate that comes your way. You can use our sample job descriptions to help get you started.
  • Define your core criteria. Know and write down the criteria that you will use to assess candidates. This could be experience, work samples, specific technical knowledge, values, or culture fit. Create a rubric that you can use for resume assessments and interviews.
  • Identify non-negotiables. What are the core skills or attributes the candidate absolutely must have to be successful in this position. Discuss them with your hiring team so everyone is on the same page. This should be a short list.
  • Think strategically about job posting. Job boards are useful, and specialized industry job boards can be really valuable, but they’re not the only way to find candidates. Make sure you’re also getting your team and senior leadership involved. Ask them to spread the word and use their network.

One last point about listing your job. If possible, include the salary range in the job description. You’ll save time for everyone if you allow candidates to self-select away from roles that don’t meet their basic salary needs. And if you haven’t investigated salary ranges in the last year or so, it might be time to adjust. Prices are rising everywhere, and employees are expecting higher wages, if only to keep up with inflation.

Interview Tips To Help You Hire Better

Interviewing can be stressful for both you and the candidate. Your goal is to get the information you need quickly and with minimum inconvenience for everyone involved. Here’s how to improve your interview process:

  • Don’t interview in isolation. Have teammates help you. They can assess each candidate against the rubric you created. You want multiple, diverse perspectives to make a balanced decision and avoid subconscious bias.
  • Have multiple conversations. One Zoom call is not enough to get a feel for someone. Schedule a few conversations, whether online or in person, to give everyone a chance to fully explore how the candidate will fit into the role.
  • Ask for portfolio samples or a trial project. At minimum, you should ask for samples of previous work. Ideally, you also want to ask for a trial task that’s relevant to the job. Make sure you’re respectful of the candidate’s time. Your task shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours and it’s a good idea to pay for sample work, especially if you expect to use it.
  • Know how to tell good candidates from superstars. More on that below.

Look Out For These Key Behaviors

You’ll find plenty of good candidates, but there’s a difference between a good candidate and a great one. During the application and interview process, look out for these key behaviors that mark a candidate as a potential superstar:

  • Coming prepared with insightful questions about your organization or project.
  • Answering behavioral questions with thoughtful, honest stories.
  • Connecting the dots between what they’ve done and the role they’re applying for.
  • Showing passion for both the role and the deeper purpose behind the role.

In short, don’t just grab the first solid candidate that comes along. Look for someone who impresses you with their way of thinking. Hold out for the wow factor to get a candidate who will thrive in the role.

If you find someone who makes connections you wouldn’t have made, or thinks about things in new and interesting ways, you can be fairly sure that you’re adding diversity to your team. Diversity in approaches, modes of thinking, experience, and cultural background can make a strong team even stronger.

Be Ready To Work For Top Candidates

Remember that now, more than ever, interviewing is a two-way street. You’re not just trying to decide if this person is the right hire for you, they’re also investigating whether the job you’re offering is right for them. The candidate is paying attention to how you treat them from the first interaction through the offer and acceptance process.

When you find a great candidate, be ready to make a competitive offer. Don’t be surprised if they have multiple offers on the table and be ready to negotiate. That doesn’t mean you always have to offer the highest salary, but you do need to be open and honest with the candidate. Show them you’re doing the work to meet their needs. Be ready to discuss benefits, bonuses, and salary.

At the end of the day, most people aren’t going to make a decision based on money alone. Great candidates are looking at the big picture including the team, the impact they can make in the role, and how it will help them meet their long-term professional goals. Make sure you’re taking the same wide-angle view.

Empathy and Respect Help You Hire Better

All of these recommendations boil down to a few key points: be candid and open with candidates, treat them with respect, and practice empathy. Do all that, and you can’t help but hire better.

For help finding the right candidates for your open positions, contact Teamed. We specialize in connecting talented digital learning professionals with the organizations that need them.

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