How Due Diligence Can Improve Your Company's Hiring Process

Some prospective employees are a bad fit. Some don’t even exist at all. Make sure your job prospects are worth interviewing using the Internet. 

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #438

Intern MG is back from his foreign semester abroad! (Did I mention he was living in a castle? Well, he was. A castle. With turrets.) Now that he’s back, he’s acquired another job, this time at International Ad Giants, Inc. They’ve recognized his explosive potential and promoted him to hiring manager. At 22. Hiring manager. Goodie for him.

His days are now packed with seeking out and vetting oh-so-highly qualified applicants for positions at the big firm. They want copywriters! His initial thought was to post the job on craigslist ... but 3,917 job applicants later, that hasn’t worked out so well. He asked them all to come in for an interview. All of them. Big mistake. I found him lying comatose under two and a half feet of resumes. Nineteen cups of coffee later, we discussed the need to pre-screen candidates before spending too much time with them.

Pre-Screen Job Applicants

Instead of jumping right in with every job candidate, there are some simple steps to take which will help eliminate unsuitable candidates quickly. The internet makes it easy. You might find the notion of ruthlessly eliminating unsuitable candidates to be uncompassionate. You might want, in your heart of hearts, to believe that every human being has inherent worth. On the one hand, you might be wrong about that. On the other hand, the movie Soylent Green points out, quite reasonably, that all people can ultimately be of value to their fellow man, woman, intersex, or asexual societal population unit.

Look at Cover Letters

The first line of defense against hacks, bots and applicants with bad hair is the cover letter.

Look at the applicant’s cover letter. Cover letters should show the person at their best. Are there spelling errors? Is the style they already write in the way you prefer to communicate? Nothing says “potentially disastrous lack of professionalism” like errors in a cover letter.

Indeed, errors might mean they’re not even real. I’m not talking about writing style. Different people have different styles. A style you’ve never seen doesn’t necessarily mean bad, but typos definitely do. In the era of spell-checkers in our phones, typos in a cover letter show a shocking lack of attention.

Even for a casual company, a cover letter should be professional. If it starts with “Hey, dude, I really want you to hire me,” that’s probably how they’ll email everyone else in your company, your clients, your investors, your CEO, and your division head. 

Decide the attitude you want and select people with cover letters in that style.

One of the cover letters MG found was a little off. It had a professional tone, but some suspicious typos. The style showed personality, but the typos indicated carelessness. It was time to take a closer look and determine what this person named “Dorgus” was all about.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.