The 10-Point Checklist For Hiring Employees (Free Download)

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It’s really important that you hire a right person for the job. Why?. Because an employee can make or break your business.

The cost of a bad hire can really be high.

As per a study, 42% of the employers are worried that they won’t be able to find the talent they need.

Unlike big corporations, small businesses & startups struggle with human resources. This checklist aims to solve this struggle with a streamlined hiring procedure.

So, let’s dive in.


1. The Telephonic Round

The hiring process should start with a telephonic round of interview. Because a telephone round helps the recruiter to decide if the candidate is a good fit for a personal interview.

As you may know, conducting personal interviews requires considerable time & effort. So, why not restrict the personal interview round for the fittest candidates?. The best way to do this is via a telephonic round.

From the employer point of view, what are the questions that need to be asked in a telephonic round?. Well, it depends on the type & the industry who are in. Anyways, you may test the following areas in a telephonic interview:

  • Communication
  • Domain basics
  • Family background
  • Prior experience
  • Expected pay

A telephonic interview is also a great way to set the stage for a personal interview round. You get to know something about each candidate. So, this way you can prepare customized set of questions for each candidate (for the personal interview round).

Preferably, the person conducting the telephonic round & the person doing the personal round should be the same. Yes, logically it makes the sense too. But, I have found many organizations outsourcing the telephonic round to an agency or a junior staff.

Remember, a telephonic round is an awesome way to kickstart your hiring campaign. But, if done improperly, it can result in what I call a ‘hiring disaster’.

2. Fundamental Subject Knowledge

In a personal interview, it’s important to test the fundamental subject knowledge of the candidate.

Example: If you’re hiring an executive for a supply chain position then ask fundamental questions like “What is supply chain?”, “What are the legal documents required for logistic movement of goods?”, “What is production planning & how is it done?”.

This test should be done right at the start of the personal interview itself. Because it helps us to know about the basic suitability of the candidate right away.

If a candidate is not good in fundamental areas, the interview can be cut short to avoid waste of time & effort.

Fundamental knowledge is the core requirement for any kind of job or position. If a prospective employee is not good fundamentally, will he or she do justice to the job?. Of course, not.

I find many organizations committing a mistake of not asking fundamental questions in personal interview rounds. All they do is ask in-depth technical questions.

If a candidate’s fundamentals are strong then he may be groomed further with training. But, if the fundamentals are shaky, then nothing much can be done.

3. Practical Knowledge

While fundamental knowledge is absolutely essential, you cannot deny the importance of practical knowledge. Because its the practical know-how that’s ultimately going to help a candidate perform his or her role.

So, to test the practical knowledge, I recommend you to ask the candidate to solve a case study.

Solving a case study is an effective way to know if a candidate is job-ready.

Example: If you’re hiring an executive for a supply chain position then throw up a case study like “Imagine you being a sourcing manager & the raw material running short of required quantity. How would you go with an emergency purchase without affecting price?”

While a candidate can fake his or her fundamental knowledge, there is no way out in practical case studies. Because case studies are not something that can be found easily in books or search engines.

I would go even further & say that the quality of candidate hired directly depends on this checklist point. Yes, this check is one of the most important points in this list!.

4. Leadership Skill

My concept of leadership is slightly different from what is generally perceived by the management world.

To be precise, leadership, in my point of view is about intent & the ability to perform your role independently. If there is a problem, a leader knows how to arrive at & execute a solution independently.

A leader should not only come up with solutions but also with fresh ideas. The ideas to help the organization grow.

That’s a leader for me.

But, how to test if a candidate possesses such leadership skills?. Simple. Ask a relevant question.

Example: Ask a candidate questions like “How will you decorate this office building within 2 hours without anyone’s help?” or “One of your colleagues has suddenly fainted. How do you handle the situation?”

Hiring a leader means hiring a person with an idea, execution abilities & intent mindset.

5. Communication Skill

Communication skill is required to effectively share ideas & information with others. In an organization, communication can be various formats like on phone, email or in person.

Each communication channel requires different approach & standard. So, make sure that the candidate has the required basic communication flair.

Remember, that communication should not a be main criteria to reject or accept a candidate. The general thumb rule is that a good communication skill is an added advantage.

If there are two shortlisted candidates with equal points, the one with better communication skill should be preferred.

But, how do you go ahead & test the communication skill?

Ask the candidate to take a test like:

  • Write a dummy email
  • Call a customer
  • Meet a manager

If you are hiring for roles like front end salesman, then communication skill becomes a most important requirement.

Whereas, in case of technical roles, a good communication is like a ‘feather on the cap’.

6. Social Profiles

The CV or Resume doesn’t always speak the truth.

Therefore, I recommend using social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to check the activities & profiles of the candidates.

Specifically, you should be looking at the following sections:

  • Job & Designation
  • Website
  • Previous Employment
  • News Feed
  • Endorsements

This is an awesome strategy to check the trustworthiness of the candidates. And, best of all, it doesn’t cost a penny.

7. The Previous Employer

Talk to the previous employer to gather further feedback about the candidate.

Questions to ask the previous employer:

  • How was the conduct of the candidate during employment?
  • If given a chance, would you hire him or her again?
  • What are some of the best qualities of the candidate?
  • What are some of the bad qualities of the candidate?

The previous employer acts as a validator to the abilities & characteristics of a candidate. If the previous employer gives a thumbs up, you can rest assured that you are hiring a right person for the job.

Again, you need to a bit cautious with this approach. Example: If the candidate has left the previous employer on bad terms then it may happen the feedback won’t be fair.

8. The Documents

It’s important to check if the candidate hasn’t forged the submitted documents.

In connection with this, the following checks must be conducted:

  • Validate the copies of the documents with the original ones
  • Confirm the degrees from the respective institutions or universities
  • Check the criminal records by getting in touch with the police authorities
  • Confirm the resident status & employability status as per the laws of your country

This is an important step from the legal point of view. So, do not ignore it to avoid a legal mess in the future.

Plus, this step will help you to ascertain the trustworthiness of the candidate.

9. The Medical Test

Of course, you would want a mentally & physical fit employee. Don’t you?.

So, how to ensure the same?. Simple. Ask the candidate to take a medical test from a recognized medical institute.

Some companies reimburse the medical test cost to the candidates. But, that’s your choice.

After getting the medical test report, you will need to study it to get the verdict. And, also extract some data to your employee database (like blood group etc.).

To avoid forgery, remember to confirm the report from the institute itself. Alternatively, you may tie-up with a medical firm & direct all candidates to take the test from there.

10. A Hiring Agreement

Last but not the least, you need to designate the candidate as an employee. This has to be done legally by entering into a two-party agreement.

The first party being your company & the second party being the prospective employee.

Take the help of a lawyer to draft such an agreement.

Important points to taken care of in the agreement:

  • Notice period
  • Probation period
  • Leave allowed & related calculation
  • Leave procedure
  • Code of conduct
  • Anti-competition clause

Also, as per the laws of your country, you may need to fulfill additional requirements.


So, following is the checklist for hiring employees:

  • The Telephonic Round
  • Fundamental Subject Knowledge
  • Practical Knowledge
  • Leadership Skill
  • Communication Skill
  • Social Profiles
  • Previous Employer
  • The Documents
  • The Medical Test
  • A Hiring Agreement

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