For many hiring managers, evaluating a job applicant may feel like going on a blind date: the applicant looks good on paper but disappoints in person.

More than seven out of 10 senior executives interviewed said it is common for candidates with promising resumés not to live up to expectations during an interview.

The survey was developed by staffing firm Robert Half International and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from 150 senior executives with the 1,000 largest U.S. companies.

“A resumé tells a hiring manager only a limited story about the job applicant,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International.

“(Nothing) replaces in-person interaction to ensure the candidate has the requisite technical qualifications and the soft skills that will likely make him or her a good fit.”

Robert Half offers the following tips to help hiring managers make the best hires:

• Fish where the fish are. Create finely tuned job ads that describe the ideal candidate and post them in targeted places, such as industry publications and professional association websites, to attract strong candidates.

• Network. Seek recommendations from colleagues, staff and other professional contacts. Also network online and with members of industry organizations to ensure you cast a wide net.

• Stay front and centre. You know best what you want in an employee. Help prevent delays and potential hiring mistakes by remaining closely involved in the process from beginning to end.

• Narrow the field by phone. Following up on promising resumés with a 10-minute telephone interview can help ensure you invite only the best candidates to in-person interviews. This can be a time saver because you’ll get an early reading on a person’s interpersonal skills and potential fit with your team.

• Audition candidates. Bringing in workers initially on a temporary or project basis can give you the opportunity to observe firsthand their skills, performance and fit for a full-time position.

• Get help. Specialized recruiters can help you pinpoint your staffing needs. And through their networks, they have access to people you might not be able to locate on your own, including professionals who may not be actively looking for a job but are open to making a change for the right opportunity.

• Don’t delay. Don’t procrastinate when you identify strong applicants. By moving too slowly, you risk losing your first choice — and extending the hiring process.

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