By Mike Podesto, founder of Find My Profession, Inc.

One of the most challenging parts of running your own business is knowing how to make quality hiring decisions. After all, the success of your company is going to be directly impacted by the team that you are building. A strong team can make your job easy and help your company flourish, but a weak team can do just the opposite.

As the founder and CEO of a company that helps executives transition careers, I have reviewed literally thousands of job descriptions for my clients. By spending just a little bit of extra time on the job posting, you can save countless hours screening applicants while ensuring your next hire is the best candidate. Below, I am going to explain how I screened over 350 applicants without reading a single resume, resulting in a top-performing hire.

Posting the Job

Last month, I decided it was time to hire a new member of the team. So, I did what most hiring managers would do in this situation. I went to one of the major job boards to post it. Within an hour and a half, I had received over 350 applicants. In that short period, my budget had been used up and it was time to start screening.

Screening the Applicants

Most hiring managers have the picture-perfect candidate in mind while screening applicants. Usually, it boils down to one or two key skills or qualities. For me, on this particular position, it was attention to detail. Could you guess how many of those 350-plus applicants claimed to have a keen attention to detail when asked on the application? If you guessed that every single one of them claimed to have it, you are correct.

But how many were able to prove it? Five. Only five candidates of the 350-plus had proved that they could pay attention to detail. What sort of screening process do you have in place when you post a job? If you are simply filtering resumes through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), chances are you are missing out on some amazing talent.

Be Creative in Your Job Postings

When it comes to hiring, you can't be afraid to break away from the status quo. Traditional hiring practices tend to be outdated and unappreciated. Set yourself apart and find unique ways to post jobs and screen candidates that are not fully dependent on the resume. If you are hiring a developer, ask them to do a coding test. If you are hiring a designer, ask to see their work portfolio. If you are hiring a sales leader, have them sell you on themselves in 100 words or less. 

Anyone can hire a resume writer and look great on paper. Actions speak louder than words. I was able to identify five of the 350 applicants as a fit through a simple, yet effective test. Hidden within a fairly detailed job description was one sentence that made all the difference. This sentence was the ultimate test of one's attention to detail. And it went like this: "You are known for your acute attention to detail! (Bonus points if you find the typo in this job description)." This test had two parts to it, both confirming the candidate's attention to detail. The candidate had to have a strong enough attention to detail to read the 450-word job description in its entirety and notice this one crucial sentence. Then, they had to find the typo.

Screening Made Easy

All that work screening hundreds of resumes was made extremely easy by one simple test. Not only was I able to save myself tens of hours reviewing resume after resume, I was able to feel confident with my shortlisted candidates. After interviewing my five shortlisted candidates, I was able to make a decision leading to my next hire. I am happy to report that months later, this candidate has exceeded all of my expectations, continues to display excellent attention to detail and is one of my top performing employees.  

Mike Podesto is the founder of Find My Profession, Inc. | Definitely Not A Recruiter | $100k+ Executive Career Finder 

Published on: Apr 4, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.