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How to hire with confidence: 5 effective strategies

How to hire with confidence: 5 effective strategies featured image

We’ve all been there – questioning our recruiting decisions and fearing the consequences of mis-hiring.  

But today’s landscape has seriously exacerbated hiring anxieties. You’re dealing with a challenging job market that’s riddled with high competition, skills shortages, and more – making recruitment more daunting than ever. 

In this article, we show you how to hire with confidence despite all this. We look closely at what’s eroding your confidence and equip you with five simple strategies to hire better, prevent missteps, and feel comfortable with your choices.

What erodes confidence in hiring?

Here are some factors that can lead to apprehension and uncertainty in hiring.

1. Problems with resume screening 

Resume screening doesn’t verify if candidates truly possess the skills, qualifications, and experience they’ve listed or tell you how skilled they are. So you don’t really know if you’ve progressed the right candidates to the next round if you’ve used this method. 

We surveyed 1,500 employers on their hiring practices and found that 87% of them experience problems with resumes, including issues with gauging accuracy, ranking applicants, and determining candidates’ skills. 

2. Tight labor market conditions 

The World Economic Forum recently suggested that tight labor markets are still prevalent in high-income countries: there are more open positions in the market than talent to fill them. 

These skills shortages make finding the right talent more difficult. Moreover, the war for talent can lead to rushed hiring and compensation decisions, diminishing confidence in your choices. 

3. Biases and discrimination 

Professors from the University of Chicago and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that applicants with “White sounding” names on their resume were 50% more likely to be contacted for an interview versus those with “Black sounding” names. This clearly indicates the biases in hiring, and the biases don’t end here.

Conversely, one survey showed that 53% of today’s recruiters believe their jobs would be in danger if they didn’t meet diversity targets. This can lead them to feel obligated to select diverse applicants – even over far more skilled applicants.

With various forms of biases and discrimination at play, feeling confident you’ve made objective decisions for your company is challenging.  

4. Remote hiring 

A recent report by Forbes suggests that by 2025, 22% of employees will be working fully remotely and 93% of employers will continue hiring remotely. Issues like technical troubles, a lack of insight into non-verbal cues, and difficulties verifying candidates’ identities can hamper confidence in hiring. 

5. AI skepticism

Research by Intelion Systems, an AI (artificial intelligence) and IT consulting company, showed that the adoption of AI in hiring is on the rise. However, over a third of recruiters are concerned that AI might exclude skilled and qualified candidates. 

There’s no doubt AI will continue to transform hiring processes. But it hasn’t fully won the confidence of decision-makers just yet.  

6. Previous hiring mistakes 

Many recruiters still think about mis-hires from the past. Some even suffer from “the one that got away” syndrome – regretting the loss of a top candidate. We spoke to HR expert Yashna Wahal about how this impacts confidence. 

“These emotions can linger on, making you question future decisions. What’s worse? This self-doubt increases your cognitive load, hampering your sense of judgment and leading to more mistakes. It’s a vicious cycle”, Wahal said. 

7. High turnover rates

A survey of 1,500 American workers showed that about a third of new employees quit their jobs within the first three months. Forty-six percent of them claimed it was because they felt misled about the role during the hiring process. 

Turnover that’s directly attributed to bad hiring processes can be nerve-wracking and diminish confidence, especially if recruiters don’t fully understand the root causes.  

8. Negative candidate reviews 

With the rise of social media, candidates commonly discuss their application experience with your company publicly. Negative reviews, especially from rejected applicants, can leave you feeling anxious about your hiring process. 

How to hire with confidence and certainty

Here are five simple but effective strategies to overcome the above hurdles and boost your confidence in hiring. 

  1. Switch to skills-based hiring

  2. Use AI judiciously 

  3. Opt for structured interviews and frame of reference training

  4. Make careful, data-driven offer decisions

  5. Hedge yourself against post-offer jitters 

1. Switch to skills-based hiring 

We asked Gaby Hermes, Operations Manager at KNB Communications, about how to hire with more certainty. “My advice is to go beyond resumes and develop a comprehensive hiring process that considers both tangible and intangible aspects for a successful team fit,” Hermes said. 

At TestGorilla, we believe you can make the best hiring decisions by replacing traditional recruitment methods with skills-based hiring. 

Skills-based hiring

In this approach, you screen and assess candidates based on their skills rather than their background, education, or experiences. For instance, you can use online or in-person tests, practical tasks and case studies, simulations, and so on. 

Our research showed that for those who used skills-based hiring:

  • 92% found that it was better at identifying talented candidates compared to resumes

  • 84% reported that it had a positive impact on diversity, and 22.5% reported a very positive impact

  • 88% of employers saw a reduction in mis-hiring

  • 89% saw better employee retention 

  • 74% reduced their cost-to-hire – super beneficial to businesses that struggle with confidence due to lower hiring budgets

These results show skills-based hiring can improve hiring decisions, eliminate biases, and reduce turnover – increasing confidence in recruitment. Additionally, it also enables hybrid and remote companies to tap into global talent pools and test candidates thoroughly, even in online settings. 

Finally, 82% of employers who use skills-based hiring also said it reduced their time-to-hire – indicating they felt confident enough to make faster decisions.

At TestGorilla, we believe skills-based testing should be used as part of a holistic hiring process involving multi-measure talent assessments that look at various aspects of a candidate’s suitability for a role, team, and company. This eliminates the limitations and biases associated with relying on a single measure. 

Talent assessments can include: 

  • Job-specific skills tests evaluate candidates’ real-life abilities to perform the specific duties in a position.

  • Cognitive ability tests look at mental capabilities like problem-solving, analytical thinking, and decision-making – which are rapidly growing in importance according to the World Economic Forum.

  • Situational judgment tests provide insight into their thought processes and how they approach different scenarios in the workplace.

  • Personality and culture questionnaires help determine if their core traits, motivations, values, and working styles align with the team’s and company’s.

  • Behavioral interviews dive deeper into their attributes and experiences.

2. Use AI judiciously

A New York University (NYU) project looking at AI in hiring found that many Fortune 500 companies already use some form of AI-based solution in their recruitment and screening processes. AI is reshaping hiring – but many recruiters are still skeptical of its use. 

Many don’t have transparent insights into how AI processes work. Plus, there’s evidence to suggest that AI algorithms can both introduce and perpetuate biases in hiring processes.  

At TestGorilla, we believe you should adopt AI in your hiring processes to reap its benefits and stay competitive. The catch? Don’t rely solely on AI

Here’s how you can incorporate AI in recruitment to boost confidence in AI-enabled outcomes. 

Job descriptions

Write an effective skills-based job description and use generative AI like ChatGPT to scan it for biases, inconsistencies, and ambiguities. Then use AI software to publish the open position on job boards and social media channels. 


In 2021, Lan and colleagues found that AI-enabled talent-finding software streamlined candidate data processing and introduced or advanced more diverse candidates from LinkedIn, GitHub, and other sources. 

While you can use AI to source talent, regularly audit if candidates coming through match your expectations before increasing your reliance on these tools.

Screening and assessments 

At TestGorilla, we don’t think AI is an effective tool to screen or assess candidates. Amazon had to stop using its algorithmic AI tool when it was found to favor male over female candidates during resume screening. 

Another study at NYU also found that AI-enabled algorithmic personality testing wasn’t a reliable measure of personality and couldn’t be used as a valid testing instrument. 

So, once you’ve sourced applicants, put them through skills-based processes like talent assessments and use objective test scores to shortlist candidates. 

Candidate communications and experience

Generative AI tools such as AI-driven email and chatbots can help answer candidate queries in real time, keep candidates engaged and  informed, and reduce frustration through the application process. 

But, 95% of professionals believe that technology should aid – not replace – the personal touch to recruitment processes. Using AI-assistance in combination with human interactions is the best way to prevent negative candidate reviews that can kill confidence in hiring. 


Use AI to manage interview scheduling. While you should conduct interviews yourself, tools like ChatGPT can help generate relevant and effective interview questions tailored to the specific skills and expertise required for the job. 


Pew’s survey  of 11,000 participants revealed that 71% of American adults were opposed to AI making final hiring decisions, and 66% said they wouldn’t even apply to companies that used AI in hiring decisions. AI tools should improve in accuracy and objectivity before you can gain confidence in using them for final selection decisions. 

You can, however, use AI to send automated rejection letters to those who didn’t cut it and stay in touch with them through newsletters, hiring updates, and more. 

3. Opt for structured interviews and frame of reference training

Interviews – either virtual or in person – let you verify candidates’ identities, dig deeper into their expertise, and assess their cultural fit. You truly get to know the individuals behind the application form, thereby enhancing confidence when you hire them. 

Like any other part of the hiring process, though, interviews are also prone to unconscious biases and flawed decision-making. For instance, an affinity bias can lead to an interviewer favoring a particular candidate who’s similar to them over someone who may be more qualified.  

When we spoke to legal writer Kate Stacey, she suggested, “A key part of hiring with confidence is ensuring your process is free from discrimination.” With that in mind, consider these strategies to harness the power of interviews while minimizing bias

Use structured interviews

Compared to unstructured interviews, which are more free-form, structured interviews comprise a fixed set of carefully crafted questions that assess the competencies the role requires. Importantly, every candidate answers the same questions, making the process fair.

There’s much evidence to suggest that structured interviews help to reduce bias. But a recent study put this theory to the test. 

Researchers evaluated gender bias in structured interview simulations where participants interviewed candidates for heavily male or female-dominated roles. Findings demonstrated that structured interviews minimized discrimination, even for highly gendered roles – showing just how powerful this method is. 

Finally, an empirical study in the Journal of Business Research demonstrated that structured interviews have a higher predictive validity than unstructured interviews – meaning they increase the likelihood of choosing a candidate who succeeds in the job. 

Go beyond job-specific questions 

The empirical study referenced above also studied predictive validity across four structured interview question types. Findings revealed that questions relating to candidates’ backgrounds and past behaviors significantly predicted job performance – more so than job knowledge questions. Hypothetical situational judgment questions did, too.

Chris Estrada, Founder and CEO of Nationwide United Auto Transport, echoed this. 

When we asked Estradea about hiring with confidence, he said, “By asking candidates to describe past work experiences, their answers can reveal their problem-solving and adaptability skills, crucial for our fast-paced industry. For example, when recruiting for our logistics team, I often ask about a time they had to adapt quickly to unexpected changes. Their answers give insight into their resilience and flexibility, traits indispensable for the role.”

Provide frame of reference training 

Good interviewing doesn’t stop at providing interviewers with a structured set of well-rounded questions. There must be a way to ensure fair and objective evaluations of candidates’ responses. 

Frame of reference (FOR) training equips interviewers with the knowledge and tools they need to assess interviews effectively and objectively. Training covers these topics: 

  • Establishing key skills and competencies required for the job so interviewers are clear on the criteria 

  • Learning how to recognize behavioral indicators that demonstrate the presence or absence of required competencies 

  • Understanding how to ask past behavioral questions and when/how to ask follow-up questions

  • Learning to score responses objectively based on predetermined criteria 

  • Practicing interviewing with an advisor and receiving feedback before interviewing candidates

We recommend using FOR training – but taking it one step further. Recent research shows that a “restructured” FOR approach has higher rating accuracy and predictive validity than traditional FOR training, in both online and offline settings.

In this approach, interviewers practice and receive feedback from advisors at least a few times. This eliminates an interviewer’s tendency to use their performance in the practice section as an “anchor” and only slightly adjust their techniques after that – which is what often happens without the restructured approach. 

4. Make careful, data-driven offer decisions

Nothing boosts confidence in hiring like knowing that you’ve made the right choice for the company. Here’s how to make effective decisions at the offer stage of the process.  

Conduct a comprehensive evaluation of shortlisted candidates

  • Compile and analyze data from shortlisted candidates’ online test scores, interview ratings, and other assessment methods. This gives you quantifiable and objective data to work with.

  • Compare each candidate's performance against established criteria – including skills, qualifications, and cognitive abilities – to get a complete picture of candidates’ suitability for the job.

  • Conduct focus groups with multiple evaluators to mitigate individual biases and provide diverse perspectives on candidates.  

  • Consider factors like pay expectations and notice periods before deciding.

Don’t rush your decision 

Research conducted shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic showed that nearly 50% of 300 C-suite senior leaders regretted a hire they made in the past year. 61% of these were related to candidate skills not matching role requirements – a problem that skills-based hiring can avoid. For 56%, the poor decision was the result of rushed hiring. 

Panic hiring isn’t uncommon, especially if you’re desperately trying to bridge skills gaps or backfill roles. But it’s important to balance quality and speed. 

Skills-based assessments combined with AI and tech systems help accelerate earlier parts of the application process. So, there’s no need to rush when it comes to the final decision. 

Research before establishing pay packages  

In conversation with us, HR expert Yashna Wahal recounted an interesting anecdote from her own talent acquisition experiences. “Hiring confidently isn’t just about choosing the right candidate. I once hired the best person for the job. But knowing I’d significantly overpaid them left a knot in my stomach.” 

In addition to selecting the right candidate, ensure you’re happy with the offer you make. Here are some tips: 

  • Conduct market research to gather data on average salaries for this position in your industries. 

  • Consider the candidate’s skills, qualifications, and experience. 

  • Factor in benefits and stock options, viewing compensation as a total package. 

  • Account for budget constraints and establish your upper limit before negotiating with candidates. 

  • Don’t settle for a number you can’t justify to yourself or other stakeholders.

5. Hedge yourself against post-offer jitters

There’s always a chance that something goes wrong even after a candidate has accepted your offer. The below steps can help mitigate risks and reduce anxieties in this phase. 

Stay connected with selected candidates 

Keep in touch with candidates in the lead-up to their first date. This is an effective way to spot red flags like slow response time, ghosting, and other indicators that candidates are having second thoughts about joining your company. 

It also gives candidates a chance to let you know about any concerns they have about working arrangements or other factors so you can proactively address them. 

Additionally, ensure that your candidate fully understands what’s expected in the role before joining, and check in with them regularly in the first few months to support them at this critical juncture and prevent turnover.

Conduct background and reference checks

Imagine hiring a candidate who’s perfect on paper, only to find out they lied about their qualifications, have work permit issues, are facing legal or financial problems, and so on. Situations like this can tarnish your reputation – and feel like a betrayal. 

That’s why you should conduct thorough background checks either before or just after the offer stage so you can feel confident in your decision and address any pressing issues before the candidate starts work. 

Make probation periods standard practice 

Using probation periods is an effective way to deal with candidates who end up underperforming. 

A probation period is a trial period that usually lasts three to six months. During this time, employers and employees can assess job fit. Either party can choose to part ways if they’re unhappy. 

Having a probation period takes the pressure off because if it doesn’t work out, you can view it as a candidate failing an extended assessment rather than a failure of the hiring process.

HR expert Medi Jones also shared some valuable advice with us on this. “Explain from the get-go that your business uses probation periods. By approaching probation periods with transparency and open communication, you can hire with confidence and prevent the need for a stressful firing later down the line.” 

Trust the process

Finally, if you’ve adopted the right hiring strategies, you’ll likely have made the right choice. In the end, if you’re choosing between two equally fitting candidates, trust that you’ve made a good decision no matter who you end up with. 

Skills-based hiring helps employers hire with confidence

Today’s complex hiring landscape and a growing distrust in traditional recruitment methods can leave you feeling uncertain about your hiring decisions. This insecurity can increase mental strain and cloud your judgment. The good news? There are several ways to prevent this. 

Skills-based hiring and structured interviews using platforms like TestGorilla are excellent and objective ways to screen and assess candidates. Plus, these methods provide you with robust, reliable data to inform your final decision. Additionally, AI tools save time and improve the candidate experience, while background checks help to vet candidates thoroughly. 

Hiring with confidence isn’t merely about choosing the right candidate. The right strategies will help you feel conviction throughout the hiring process, giving you the calm, clarity, and focus you need to win the talent war.


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