Hiring is one of the most important responsibilities any manager has. It’s also one of the most difficult. It’s often tricky to even know where to start with a stack of resumes and applications. Most managers have a good grasp of basic interview and hiring “dos” and “don’ts.” Here are a few pointers that will allow you to go deeper in the candidate selection process and find an ideal employee.

See if they make an impression with their resume or cover letter

Sometimes, you can learn a lot about a prospective employee by what isn’t on their application. Submitting an application with a resume and cover letter is a great opportunity for a job seeker to show some personality and let their hiring manager know a little more about them than their job history. An applicant who does this well shows initiative and should move forward in the candidate selection process.

Go beyond just assessing only skills in the job interview

Of course, every job requires a certain set of technical skills and experience that will enable them to be successful in the job.  However, their long-term engagement requires assessing much better than that.  It’s important to understand their goals, motivations and desires in the interview to ensure that they’ll be a motivational and cultural fit as well.

Ask references questions that go beyond performance

It should be standard practice to follow up with an applicant’s references. You should always check with your HR manager to make sure it’s appropriate, but if it is, consider asking them about the candidate’s personality, demeanor, and even other attributes that might be important to align well with your team.

Give them a trial task 

The candidate selection process doesn’t have to be confined solely to pre-determined interview questions. Give them a test run by choosing a task that your team needs to complete and ask them how they would approach it.

See how they fit in

It’s important to see how a new hire will interact with other members of your team. Invite them (in advance) to go to lunch with their potential co-workers or sit in on a department meeting. Better yet, if your company has a standing social gathering, invite them to see if they hit it off with the staff.