10 Best Practices for Hiring the Right Employees

10 Best Practices for Hiring the Right Employees

Because having the right workers for your team is an important factor in determining your business’s success, you’ll want to use best practices in your selection process. Team members contributing at the highest level can enhance productivity, foster a positive work environment, and drive innovation and growth.

A sound recruitment strategy can minimize your risk of losing out on quality talent and help you avoid making a poor hiring decision. Hiring the wrong candidate could harm your business by leading to decreased productivity and poor work quality, which can negatively impact team dynamics and morale and hurt your bottom line.

Investing time and resources into creating an effective standardized hiring process will aid you in securing a talented workforce that can help achieve your company's goals.

This guide provides a comprehensive set of best practices that you can implement to attract and hire the most suitable workers for your business.

Hiring best practices:

  1. Know and grow your company culture
  2. Ensure efficiency in your hiring process
  3. Encourage employee referrals
  4. Write effective job postings
  5. Have criteria to limit unfitting candidates
  6. Standardize the hiring process
  7. Use social media
  8. Consider passive candidates
  9. Ask the right questions during interviews
  10. Follow up promptly

1. Know and grow your company culture

Companies with a strong and positive work culture tend to naturally attract highly skilled workers. A supportive culture sends a message that your organization values its workers, fosters a great team environment, and invests in their success. This can help retain top talent and pique the interest of potential new team members.

In today's digital age, job seekers often turn to online reviews to understand a company’s culture. Having strong workplace values can result in positive reviews from current employees and customers. These favorable comments boost your employer brand and differentiate your organization from competitors.

If your workplace culture is not yet where you want it to be, you’ll need to understand and address the key drivers. You can then take steps to improve your employer branding. This isn't just about attracting new talent, but also keeping your current employees engaged and satisfied, which is crucial for driving business success.

This process may include developing an effective onboarding program or providing opportunities for skill-building and career growth to existing and new employees.

2. Ensure efficiency in your hiring process

An efficient hiring process can save your organization time and money associated with recruitment efforts. This is because a streamlined hiring process enables companies to quickly identify and attract the best candidates, reducing the time and resources required to fill vacancies.

In addition, an efficient and positive hiring process demonstrates that your organization values its employees' time and effort, which can contribute to a positive workplace culture and help retain top talent.

Below are a few strategies for ensuring efficiency in the hiring process.

  • Establish a clear and concise job description. Attract the right workers by creating a job description that accurately reflects the qualifications required for the role.
  • Automate repetitive tasks. Save time by using applicant tracking systems (ATS) or other tools to automate repetitive tasks, such as resume screening and scheduling interviews.
  • Set clear timelines and deadlines. Establish clear timelines for each stage of the hiring process to ensure that it moves along at an appropriate pace and communicate progress.

3. Encourage employee referrals

Your company's team members can be among your greatest assets in finding new hires. They understand your company's values, objectives, and culture, making them good judges to help identify qualified candidates who will thrive in your company.

Creating an employee referral program can save time and money by reducing external recruitment efforts. Hiring individuals familiar with your company's culture and work expectations through their relationship with current employees can also increase retention rates for new employees.

Incentives for successful referrals from current team members can include rewards like bonuses, extra vacation days, or other perks. This motivates team members to refer top-quality candidates and boosts morale and employee engagement.

4. Write effective job postings

Writing a detailed and accurate job description to post on job boards will help attract the right candidates for a position. Outline job expectations, skills, and qualifications so potential workers can determine if they’re a good fit.

Below is an example of an effective job posting to attract qualified candidates, along with a breakdown of the key information to incorporate in each section.

Effective job posting

Job title:

The job title should clearly reflect the position for which you’re hiring. It should include any important position titles, such as "senior" or "manager," if applicable. Try to avoid using jargon or overly creative titles that may confuse potential candidates.

About the company:

Highlight what makes your company unique and what sets it apart from competitors. You might answer questions like, “What is the mission and vision of our company?” or “What are the unique products or services that we offer, and how do they meet the needs of our customers?” You can also describe the workplace here.

Company culture:

Be authentic in describing the values or practices that shape your company culture. It's also a good idea to be transparent about what it's really like to work there, including the work environment, the company's core beliefs, and your organization's attitudes toward work-life balance.

Summary of position:

The summary of the position should highlight the most important aspects of the job and convey a clear understanding of the position's purpose and expectations. It should also address the biggest pain points that the candidate will be expected to solve or improve upon.

Job responsibilities:

Break down the key responsibilities, ranging from daily tasks to long-term goals, into bullet points for easy readability. Be specific about the tasks and deliverables the candidate will be responsible for.


Clearly state the minimum qualifications and requirements for the position, such as education, experience, skills, and certifications. Be specific about what is necessary versus what is additionally preferred to avoid attracting unqualified candidates.


Highlight the benefits and perks of working for your company, such as health insurance, retirement plans, flexible schedules, and professional development opportunities. This can help attract top candidates and set your organization apart from competitors.

Equal opportunity statement:

Include a statement affirming your company's commitment to equal opportunity and diversity. You can follow the guidelines established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) policy statement, which prohibits discrimination based on various factors such as race, gender, age, religion, and disability.

5. Have criteria to limit unfitting candidates

Clearly outlining a position’s minimum qualifications is a useful approach to eliminate unsuitable candidates efficiently. These requirements may include mandatory education, training, certifications, work experience, or other specific skill sets.

For example, a software developer position may require a bachelor's degree in computer science and experience in programming languages like Java or Python.

Defining these requirements means businesses can quickly screen out candidates who don’t possess the necessary qualifications, saving valuable time and effort in the hiring process.

6. Standardize the hiring process

Standardizing the hiring process can reduce the likelihood of hiring bias and prevent slow-moving stages. Hiring bias refers to making a judgment about someone based on superficial factors like gender, race, physical abilities, or other personal characteristics unrelated to their qualifications or job performance. This bias can lead to discrimination against certain groups of candidates.

Key stakeholders, such as hiring managers and human resources personnel, should be aligned on the job requirements, screening criteria, and candidate evaluation process. This can ensure fair hiring practices that result in the selection of the best worker for the position.

Following the standardized process helps improve efficiency as well. By having a clear understanding of roles, criteria, and timing, everyone involved in the hiring process can work together more effectively and be on the same page. This can prevent delays, miscommunication, and confusion, which can lead to a more efficient process overall.

Using a standardized process can also help remove wasting time on candidates who don’t meet the requirements or aren’t a good fit for the position. This can save time and resources that would otherwise be spent on interviews or evaluations that wouldn’t result in a successful hire.

7. Use social media

Social media provides an excellent platform to search for, identify, and research potential workers with the specific experience and certifications required for a particular role.

You can take advantage of social media platforms like LinkedIn to connect with individuals who may be a good cultural fit for your company. Here are some specific ways you can use social media to streamline your hiring process:

  • Include relevant hashtags in your job postings. Using industry-specific language, position titles, or a simple “#hiring” hashtag can increase visibility on social media platforms.
  • Join social media groups related to your industry. You can participate in discussions, network with potential candidates, and promote your job postings to a targeted audience, such as tech or healthcare groups.
  • Utilize advanced search options. Take advantage of social media platforms' filtering options to search for candidates based on their location, industry, job title, and other relevant criteria before reaching out.

The right social media hiring strategies can help you tap into a pool of qualified candidates and speed up the hiring process, giving you a competitive advantage in the job market.

8. Consider passive candidates

Passive candidates are those who are currently employed in your industry but aren’t actively seeking a new job. One effective way to attract potential candidates is by making use of your company's online presence and employer branding. This involves utilizing the various digital channels and platforms available to reach out to them and present the job openings available within your organization.

When connecting with a potential hire, provide them with the relevant information they need to determine if the position is a good fit. This should include details on the company’s culture, job responsibilities, and benefits.

This approach can lead to a more diverse and skilled team as you aren’t limiting your candidate pool to those who are actively seeking employment. By tapping into a wider pool of potential job candidates, you increase the chances of finding someone with unique skills, experiences, and perspectives that can benefit your organization.

9. Ask the right questions during interviews

Asking the right questions during the interview process is a key factor in selecting the best candidates. While standard questions like "What is your greatest strength?" or "Why do you want this job?" can give a basic understanding of a candidate's skills and motivations, more thoughtful questions can offer deeper insights into their qualifications and fit for the role.

For instance, ask about specific details from their resume, like "What was the most challenging project you completed in your previous role?" You can also evaluate their technical knowledge with questions like "What programming languages are you proficient in?" and assess their behavior with questions such as "Can you describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult team member?"

In particular, the use of behavioral questions can be crucial when coaxing out STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) answers from candidates. The STAR approach allows the interviewer to gain a clear understanding of how a candidate behaves in specific situations, the actions they take, and the results they achieve.

When hiring remote workers, asking remote work-specific interview questions can be helpful in evaluating their ability to work independently and stay motivated without direct supervision. You could inquire about their experience working remotely, how they manage their time and priorities, and what strategies they use to maintain communication and collaboration with their team.

However, be aware that there are certain questions to avoid from a legal perspective, such as those related to age, gender, or religion. Therefore, make sure to review your organization's hiring policies and consult with legal experts if necessary.

Lastly, conducting multiple interviews with hiring managers, supervisors, or peers can provide various perspectives on the candidate's qualifications, work style, and potential cultural fit within the organization. By gathering insights from multiple interviewers, you can make a more informed and objective hiring decision.

10. Follow up promptly

Maintaining regular and transparent communication with prospective workers is both respectful of their time and interest and helpful in maintaining the efficiency and effectiveness of your hiring process.

Successful communication has three critical components:

  • Prompt responses to inquiries
  • Following up after interviews with the realistic anticipated timeline on when candidates can expect to hear back
  • Constructive feedback

This approach improves the candidate’s experience, fosters positive relationships, and maintains your organization's reputation.

Failing to communicate promptly with potential hires can diminish your company's image and risk losing out on talented candidates who may move on to other opportunities.

The importance of hiring the right employees

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)  estimates that the total cost to hire a new worker can be 3 to 4 times the position’s salary, made up of advertising, recruitment, screening, and many other hiring costs.

Companies need to hire the right team members from the very beginning.

The longer-term financial consequences of hiring unsuitable candidates can be serious, including low productivity, lost sales, and severance costs.

Additionally, the wrong hire can hurt team morale, create a toxic work environment, and lead to high turnover rates.

That’s why companies must prioritize their hiring processes and ensure they’re thorough and efficient. Investing time and resources into finding the right candidates can save companies significant financial costs and improve their overall productivity and workplace culture.

Hiring process FAQ

In this FAQ section, we’ll answer a few common questions related to the hiring process. We'll cover various factors to consider during this process and discuss effective strategies that can help you attract the right candidates for your company.

What is the most important factor in hiring employees?

The most critical factor in hiring new employees is finding someone who can be a valuable long-term asset to the company and be a strong performer in their role. This consideration should be the primary focus when recruiting new hires.

That being said, determining the right fit for your organization requires a closer examination of the job, company culture, and expectations. Each position has its own unique set of requirements, and it's crucial to identify these criteria before beginning the recruitment process.

For example, one factor to assess is the candidate's compatibility with the company's culture. If your company values collaboration and teamwork, you’ll want to look for candidates who have a track record of working well in a team and have strong interpersonal skills.

In addition, evaluating a candidate's potential for growth and development within the company can be another crucial factor in making the right hiring decision. Look for qualities such as a willingness to learn, adaptability, and the ability to take on new challenges. Consider the candidate's career goals and aspirations and how they align with the company's long-term plans.

How do I get more applicants?

Increase the number of job applicants for open positions in your company by actively promoting job opportunities through online platforms and professional networking events.

Advertising the roles on social media, job boards, and your company’s website can attract potential workers. In addition, attending local job fairs and events can provide an opportunity to connect with skilled candidates.

Moreover, encouraging employee referrals can further expand your pool of potential hires. Also, building a positive employer brand and having a strong online presence can attract more candidates to your open roles.

Implementing a combination of these strategies can help increase your visibility to potential candidates and attract more applicants to your organization.

What are the best applicant sources?

The best sources of applicants depend on the type of position you’re looking to fill and the skills and qualifications required. As a general rule, the best source of applicants is to go where they are.

This means identifying the places where your target candidates are likely to be active and engaged, such as professional organizations, industry associations, and online platforms.

For example, suppose you’re searching for a high-level technical expert. In that case, you may want to look at industry-specific professional networks or tech job boards to find specialized talent.

On the other hand, businesses seeking entry-level workers may consider contacting local colleges or attending job fairs.

Online freelancing websites like Upwork offer a convenient way to browse through a diverse pool of highly skilled professionals from a wide range of industries.

Upwork allows you to use targeted search terms to refine your search and focus on finding candidates who possess the particular skills and educational qualifications you need. You can then review a candidate's portfolio, work history, and feedback from previous clients to save time in the recruitment process and quickly identify potential candidates matching your requirements.

Find the best employees for your business on Upwork

Whether hiring freelancers or full-time employees, finding the right workers for your company is crucial to ensure your business runs smoothly and achieves its goals.

Upwork provides a platform that enables you to connect with top talent worldwide and streamline your hiring process. Features like advanced search options, skills assessments, and interviewing tools can help you identify the most qualified candidates and ensure you find the right fit for your team.

So, take advantage of Upwork's tools and features to find the perfect team members for your company. With the right talent, you can achieve your business objectives and take your company to new heights.

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10 Best Practices for Hiring the Right Employees
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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