Gauging Talent
If the applicant does not meet your basic criteria, diplomatically close the interview by saying that the most qualified applicants will be contacted.
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Gauging Talent

Planning on some new hires? Snow Magazine labor guru Fred Haskett lays out the critical steps to take before and during the talent evaluation process.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth article in a five-part series.

The recruiting and employment processes begin when the need for additional staff or the replacement/refilling of an existing position is under consideration. Often, owners and managers discuss the manner of filling a vacancy or the justification for adding a position in advance. When you must hire someone take a moment to consider why you need someone right now; what functions will this person perform; how much will these additional costs impact profit margins; and how will you recruit for a qualified candidate?

Next, it’s important for the manager to develop a complete and thorough job description. This serves to analyze not only the manager’s reasons for the position, but also the specific essential and non-essential tasks of the position. Likewise, prepare the manager to search for specific qualifications necessary to successfully complete the tasks of the position


Job descriptions vary in format, but do have similarities among them. All job descriptions should include:

  • Job title
  • Status (exempt or non-exempt)
  • Department
  • Supervisor’s title
  • Summary of job functions or duties
  • Specific job functions or duties
  • Supervisory responsibilities – If any
  • Qualifications
  • Physical demands
  • Work environment

Other aspects of the hiring process that should be prepared in advance include:

  • Job application
  • Conditional offer letter – Draft prepared
  • When and where to show up for the process
  • Hiring packet – Company information
  • Drug and alcohol testing procedures
  • Testing – Physical; personality
  • Agreements – Confidentiality; non-disclosure; non-solicitation; non-compete

When you put these aspects together in advance you are better prepared to have the hiring process be comprehensive and flow smoothly for both the organization and the candidate.

So, now that you are now ready to begin the hiring process, where do you start?

Advertising For Candidates
Employers must be careful in their wording and selection of methods when advertising

Internal resources may include: Internal job postings; word of mouth; employee referrals (with or without referral awards)

External resources may include: Classified advertisement in the local newspaper or professional journal; state’s job-services agency; a professional recruiter; internet postings on a career web or professional site


Application Screening
Applications and resumes should be carefully reviewed. Be sure the applicant has the minimum qualifications you set. If the job duties require accuracy and thoroughness verify the application was completed this way. Determine those applicants you will interview carefully.

The company must determine who should interview prospective candidates. Employers must be cautious as to the type of information asked during an interview process.

For example, any questions regarding race, age, gender, marital status, disabilities, criminal record, finances, religion, national origin, and sexual preference are not job related and may be considered illegal. Make sure you know the rules of the road in your state.

With the exception of referencing, a personal interview is the single best means of evaluating the qualifications of a potential new hire. Divide the personal interview into four parts:

  • Put the candidate at ease 
  • Ask your questions
  • Answer the candidate's questions
  • Summarize final statements and indicate when you will get back to the candidate.

Interview Prep
Proper preparation increases the likelihood the interview will be thorough. So, Set aside enough time for an interview. Remember, it can take 30 or even 45 minutes to establish rapport. Also, limit distractions, especially phone calls and text messaging.

In addition, before the interview the candidate make sure you have a clear picture of what it takes to do the job.Review the application and ensure it is complete.  Encourage applicants to be honest, and confirm all employment gaps. Don't forget to “sell” your company.

In addition, during this process verify key application information, such as:

  • Why is the applicant looking for a job at this time?
  • When is he/she available to start?
  • Why is he/she interested in working for your company?
  • Is the applicant willing to work for the salary you’re offering?
  • What hours is he/she available to work? What hours can’t they work?
  • Does the applicant understand the job requirements?
  • Does this person have a history of terminations or frequent resignations? If so, have them explain.

If the applicant does not meet your basic criteria, diplomatically close the interview by saying that the most qualified applicants will be contacted. Remember, every applicant could be a customer or the friend of a customer. Avoid making this process a negative experience for the applicant.

Offer Letter
Provide the chosen candidate with an offer of employment letter. A suggested standard job confirms critical “need-to-know” information previously discussed with the candidate including:

  • Position title.
  • Position salary
  • The name of the individual who is the position’s manager
  • Starting date
  • The eligibility period for company benefits
  • Any special accommodations
  • Expense reimbursement policy if applicable

 As Head Harvester, with the Harvest Landscape Consulting Group, Fred Haskett coaches green and white industry owners. He is also a frequent Snow Magazine contributor.