How can I evaluate a potential new hire so that I ensure that the candidate is the best fit?

Trust your gut. Don’t be afraid to extend an offer to the candidate that “feels right,” or dismiss a candidate who doesn’t feel like the right pick, even if you can’t put your finger on why. Your reaction to what was said — or what was left unsaid — is often remarkably accurate.

References can help to shape your decision, but probably not the ones the candidate has provided. It’s only natural for candidates to provide their allies as references. A good recruiter can conduct a rigorous reference check, and may also have an indication of what the candidate’s reputation is “on the street.”

Many companies use credit checks as part of the vetting process. They feel that financial information can offer insight into a candidate’s level of responsibility. However, many candidates who had solid credit histories prior to this economic downturn have been victims of circumstances beyond their control. Researchers who have followed the trend towards credit checks have concluded that there is no evidence showing that people with weak credit are more likely to be troublesome employees or steal from their companies. As a Connecticut state representative told The New York Times, “Bernie Madoff had a pretty good credit score.”

Education verification has been troublesome for many job seekers in recent years. We have seen more than one placement fall through when a client learns that the candidate does not have the degree indicated on his resume. In some cases, the degree was not even a requirement for the position — the deception was a deal breaker. I am continually frustrated by employers who won’t hire an experienced industry veteran with a proven track record because he hasn’t earned his college degree.

If a candidate feels right, don’t delay in extending your offer. The job market is picking up and that candidate may be entertaining multiple offers.

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