Test Job Candidates 3 Different Ways

by Guest Author on March 12, 2013

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The following is a guest post by Kelly Gregorio.

Finding the right candidate for a position is a lot of work. In addition to the investment in time, ending up with a bad hire wastes money spent training and exhausts you since you now have to start the whole process over again. By implementing testing into the three stages of the hiring  process, you can maximize your potential for finding the perfect candidate the first time.

 The Application Process: Test Attention to Detail

If you’ve ever been in charge of hiring before, you know how overwhelming it can be when your inbox is flooded with applications. What’s more overwhelming is the wasted time spent reviewing candidates who clearly don’t meet the necessary requirements. This is laziness (and panic) in a job applicant who is scrambling to land a job anywhere, doing anything. Luckily, there is a simple way to weed some people out.

Implement a subject line test. It can be anything you want; it just has to be specified in the job listing. An example would be, “When sending your resume to our HR Manager please only type your last name and two of your best personality traits in the subject line.”  While this information won’t be of too much use to you as a recruiter, it’s an easy way to weed out people who don’t follow directions.

Because you’ve implemented a subject line test, you won’t have to waste time reading cover letters and reviewing resumes of unattractive candidates. Instead, send all emails that fail your first test to a separate folder, and only visit them should you not find enough people to pass to the second round of interviewing.

The Interview: Test Attitude and Problem Solving Skills

By testing a potential employee’s cognition you will be able to see their problem solving skills at work. While logic puzzles have been popular in the past, asking, “How many tennis balls can you fit into a truck’s bed?” doesn’t relate to the real issues a position holder might encounter one day.

You’re better off posing a question to a unique problem you’ve dealt with in the past or an outstanding issue that has arisen in your line of work. Even though you’re creating questions based on actual events, try to keep the test fun and quirky wherever possible; this will make your candidate feel relaxed enough to let their true personality shine through.

Remember to value results as they compare to your company. Perhaps a correct answer is not as important to you as a problem solving process that reflects intuitive, organized thoughts and a positive attitude. You are the person to determine the quality of results; let your company’s culture act as your guide that helps you judge the value of responses.

Post Interview: Test Ability

Once the initial interview is complete, you’ll have a good idea whether or not particular candidates will make it in the next round. For those that seem promising, supply them with a third, take-home test at the end of the interview.

Depending on what professional niche you’re in, the test’s content will vary.  (For example, if you’re hiring a blogger you might supply a sample topic, while an accountant might get some practice numbers to crunch.)  The important thing to remember is to give everyone the same test (so you can properly compare the results) and give everyone a fair deadline to email their results back to you.

Such a test will give you insight into the actual abilities of a candidate; it will tip you off on their eagerness for the position and their capacity to meet deadlines. Use the results of the ability test to dictate which people will get a call back for a final interview.

In Summary

As a hiring manger, you know the ins and outs of finding a candidate of value.  However, implementing additional tests to different stages of the hiring process will only make the experience easier and more insightful. In addition to hearing the right answers, you’ll get to see some real time results that give you the confidence needed to say those two magical words: “You’re hired!”

About the Author:

Kelly Gregorio writes about employment trends and workplace tips while working at Merchant Resources International, a company that provides businesses working capital. You can read her daily business blog at www.blog.cashprior.com.

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  • http://www.mondayisgood.com/ Tom Dixon

    When I worked in restaurants many years ago, our big test was if you brought a pen with you when you asked for an application. The subject line test is brilliant, I’m going to use that one!

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