With your head spinning from the parade of job candidates you've interviewed, you may be very confused about who said what and who you thought was the best person for the job. That opinion may have changed as each candidate came and went. This is precisely why it is so beneficial to take notes. And we don't mean scribbles in the margins of their resume, but actual notes on the pages of prepared questions you used during the interview. You are using prepared questions aren't you?
Rating each candidate
Remember when we said preparation also means having a rating method to compare candidates? As you ask each question and take notes about the candidate's answer, you should also assign a rating for their response to that question. It may seem like a pain at the time, but will definitely be beneficial when you approach decision-making time.
The rating system you use can simply be a 1-5 scale, or something more elaborate. Design a system that works best for the types of information and answers you expect to get.
You can ask for business, personal, and even education references from your candidates. Getting the opinion of someone a job candidate has worked for in the past can be extremely helpful or of very little help. Often past employers are hesitant to say anything about a past employee for fear of being sued. If you do get any input from a former employer or other reference (or even if they refuse comment), make sure you document everything about the conversation and take notes about what they said. If you can't get in touch with the reference after several tries, make a note of that as well. This can help you protect yourself from any negligent hiring suits. Background checks, criminal records checks, and other references can be very important for certain types of jobs.
Keep records of notes and resumes, and other correspondence with candidates who applied for the job for one year.