Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers!

Today’s Question: What is the best way to weed out unqualified candidates without being so stringent that you lose out on talented people who don’t check every box?

The answers below are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.

jessica1. Ask for Referrals

It’s very likely that the talented people within your company know other talented people. “Birds of a feather flock together,” as the saying goes. Whenever you’re hiring, ask your employees for referrals. These people are more likely to fit your culture than the random applicants you’ll pull from an online platform. You could offer bonuses to those who refer great matches for added incentive.

— Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs 

kyle2. Evaluate Based on Aptitude

The best way to identify quality candidates is by watching them apply their skills in real life. Give candidates a task that allows them to show you what they are capable of. Prioritize aptitude over achievement when evaluating the results of the task. Candidates may not get everything right, but they will be able to show you how quickly they learn.

— Kyle Wiggins, Keteka 

ajmal3. Decide on Your Rock-Bottom Qualifications

This really depends on what qualifications you are looking for as an employer. Would you be okay with a candidate who didn’t graduate college? Would you consider someone with less than one year of experience? Would you consider someone without any referrals? Pick your rock bottom — the absolute minimum qualifications — and start weeding from there.

— Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning 

alexis4. Ask a Variety of Simple but Relevant Questions

Ask many questions to probe different areas of relevant knowledge domains, but keep the difficulty at a level such that anyone who is qualified would be able to answer easily. Qualified candidates will answer most of the questions correctly, and you can reject the candidates who don’t. This method is great for initial screenings because it is fast and produces no false negatives.

— Alexis Campailla, Memurai 

bryan5. Look for Candidates Who Are Willing to Grow

Measuring a candidate by standardized scores or by the apparent reputations of the institutions listed on their resume is not a good method to hire by. Instead, look for candidates who seem genuinely interested in growing. These are people who acknowledge the difficulties they’ve experienced and express themselves honestly. Think twice about candidates who don’t seem to show an interest in evolving.

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