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What selection assessment methods actually work?

So here we are at the business end of the recruitment activity. By now you have identified your need to recruit and you have defined what skills and experience you require in your new hire. From that strong start, you’ve advertised your role and you have received candidates who are hungry to join your team. You’ve completed the shortlisting exercise and now you are ready to assess your potential recruits. How do you go about that? In this article we look at 5 of the most common forms of selection assessment.

Assessment techniques

There are many different ways of assessing candidates. Here we briefly describe what is available and the pros and cons of each:

1) Biographical interviews

The biographical interview or the ‘run through the cv’ gives the hiring manager an idea of the actual experience a prospective hire has gained over their career to date. Whilst this is a good opportunity to explore what they have done, it doesn’t give you much more than a general feel of the candidate.

2) Competency based interview

The Competency based interview is designed to explore how a candidate’s experience fits a pre-defined set of competencies or behavioural indicators. Typically the competency based interview will lead to all candidates answering the same question to determine how they would approach a particular issue. This is a good way to compare answers between candidates but it does also narrow the conversation. Just using competencies could lead to you missing out on great skills that you hadn’t previously considered. Competency based interviews can also lead to a lurch into the theoretical unless managed carefully.

3) Group exercises

Group exercises involve a number of candidates performing a shared task together whilst being evaluated. This can be excruciating for the candidate and obviously breaks their confidentiality. Whilst useful for understanding how the candidate would work in a team environment, it typically only gets used for entry level roles.

4) Case studies/work based problems

Case studies involve a candidate being given a work related issue, usually on the day of the assessment. They are then given time to present their proposed solution to a panel of assessors. This gives the assessing panel an indication of how they would approach often real life business issues. In-tray exercises are a similar approach used for administrative positions.

Variations of this type of selection assessment exist for creative roles. Here, candidates may be asked to bring examples of work they have delivered with them or to effectively provide free consultancy for the hiring organisation. The risk for the candidate is that they effectively work for free. Whilst the benefits for the organisation are obvious, they should be used with caution as reputation could quickly become tarnished if this is standard interview practice. 

5) Psychometric testing

On-line testing is very popular, especially for senior roles or roles that require a high degree of numeracy or literacy. A candidate completes the questionnaire in advance of the selection assessment and feedback is often provided as part of the selection assessment programme. The cost of using psychometrics tends to prohibit its use for most roles but they do give a good insight into a candidate’s preferred style of working or their specific ability in a certain area.

How many methods should I use?

It is advisable to use more than one method of selection assessment to get a rounded view of the candidates. How many you use depends on your budget, how much time you have available and how long a candidate is likely to wait for a decision from you. Hot jobs may require you to make a decision on the day or you risk losing your preferred candidate.

Selecting your first choice

So once you have conducted your round(s) of assessment, how do you reach a decision on who to offer a role to? 

A pre-arranged scoring matrix helps here and making that decision by involving a panel of assessors reduces the chance that the decision biased towards or against any perceived characteristics.

Next steps

Once you’ve got your preferred candidate accepting your offer, you can start planning the induction. Click the below button to access the next blog in the series.

Do you need some recruitment support?

Cornerstone Resources can help design and tailor your recruitment process. This will ensure you attract, select and retain the best candidates for your vacancies and for your organisation.

Contact us today by clicking on the left hand button. to discuss how we can help you.

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