While all recruitment marketing efforts are focused on hires, it's qualified candidates that we really want or need. And the more, the better. I've talked before on how to measure qualified candidates in your recruitment funnel but that only works if you know what a qualified candidate is to your organization.
Let's take a look at what actually makes a candidate qualified for a position at your organization and how you can filter on these within your apply & interview process.
1. Competencies - When I say competencies, I mean the base-level knowledge needed for the position. If you are looking for a JAVA developer, the candidate better know JAVA. If you're hiring a Social Media Analyst, they should know their way around Twitter, Facebook and the Blogosphere.
How to test this?: Depending on the skills needed to be tested, this approach can change. If you are looking for cold calling skills have them do mock cold calls for your company. If they are going to blog a lot, have them write a guest post for your blog. If they are going to write code for you, have them write a code snippet you can look at. Don't take their word for it, instead have them show you their competence in the interview process.
2. Skills: Competencies are the first filter in the process and transferable skills are the second. Identify what skills enable employees to succeed at your company and for the different positions you are recruiting for. These skills can be anything from being outgoing, adaptable, ability to manage others, etc. It all depends on the position.
How to Test?: Similar to competencies put your candidates into situations during the interview that make these skills show through whether it's a mock situation or case study based interview.
3. Culture Fit: One of the most important but least filtered qualifications for companies. It's very important, especially for smaller organizations, to understand their company culture and identify the types of personalities and people that thrive in it. Great employees are ones that buy into the culture.
How to Test?: Get potential hires in front of as many current employees as possible. Whether it's open houses or through interviews, the more opinions you have on a particular candidate the better (although you need to make sure 1 or 2 people have the final say so you can more easily close on a qualified candidate)
There are a number of factors in determining if a candidate is qualified. Create a list of these factors for your organization and figure out ways to test these qualifications with your application and interview process. Once you have these filters in place, make sure to track recruitment metrics on how any qualified candidates get through each step of the process.
And most important use the job distribution sources that bring in the most qualified candidates!