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The 3 Most Helpful Screening Processes You Should Conduct To Assess A Candidate's Suitability

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

There is a famous Chinese saying that goes “shaky roads reveal a horse’s strength, but long days reveal a man’s heart”. Learning about the capability and personality of a person takes time. However, effectively discovering candidates of quality is a tall order for people in the Human Resource (HR) industry. In the recruiting business, there exists a trade-off between a comprehensive screening process and the maintenance of a friendly screening process. What is an ideal screening process like?

The classic industry-standard for screening candidates involves the filtering of hundreds and thousands of resumes. But really, can a candidate’s suitability simply be screened from what they have summarised in one page?

Here are the 3 ultimate things you can do to assess your candidate’s suitability for the role:

1. Technical Interviews

Coding and algorithm tests are becoming increasingly common when it comes to screening a candidate for job positions involving technical problem-solving abilities such as those that require professional knowledge in programming and software development. In such instances, the CTOs are mainly looking out for a candidate whose technical ability and personality are suited for the day-to-day work environment of the business.

Assessing Their Professional and Personal Interests

While going through the test together with the candidate, you are simultaneously discovering their passion and their initiatives in life. Based on the questions that they pose to you while completing the test, one can tell if they have the drive and motivation to work in your company.

On top of that, you get to witness how the candidate engages in communication with others. Do they display the willingness to learn from the people around them and actively collaborate to find solutions to the problem at hand? Many companies use technical interviews as a platform to assess how a candidate participates in problem solving when placed in a team setting. This influences their impression of the candidate – on whether or not he would be someone worth working with in the long run.

Assessing Their Ability and Future Performance

Someone who obtains stellar results for their programming modules in school may not be able to spontaneously produce a code to solve a problem that arises at work. There will be no textbooks or professors around to guide the candidate, will he still be able to independently perform?

This interview also provides you with a platform to test the candidate’s ability when faced with challenges that are likely to happen on a day-to-day work basis. It enables you to understand the theoretical background of the candidate and their aptitude when it comes to handling unexpected challenges at work. Likewise, it also allows for the candidate to demonstrate their strengths in situations that are relevant to the job that they are applying for.

A point worth noting about technical interviews is that it recognises that every individual is different – someone who is weak in interviews presentations may be strong in programming. You might very well be letting go of someone valuable to your company if you only focused on their non-technical characteristics. Don’t make that mistake!

2. Assessment Centers

Assessment centers are especially useful for situations where:

  • You are looking out for specific skill sets that are essential to the job position, or

  • You are hiring fresh graduates who have limited work experience, or

  • You are assessing the performance of a large number of candidates who're placed in a team setting

Although tests like these do not guarantee a candidate’s performance in the company, the cost of an assessment centre is still found to be way more affordable as compared to the potential cost of a bad hire in the long run.

An assessment centre provides a fair and standardised ground for all candidates to be tested on for qualities such as verbal reasoning, quantitative skills and working style. Simulated business exercises are commonly conducted in this screening process, with the candidates being grouped together in teams.

Hiring Accurately

With the simulation of different real work situations in this process, you are able to easily observe the candidates in action. Their behaviour, communication and management skills in a team environment can be put to the test, and it can effectively serve as an indicator of their future performance in a similar scenario at work. This helps you ensure that you hire people accurately, particularly those who possess skills that are suited for the role.

With a basic interview, recruiting managers are often faced with the risk of applying different measures to assess a candidate. Interviewer bias, the ‘halo’ effect and the clone effect are some of the potential biases that are more likely to arise during a basic interview. An assessment center will therefore offer a greater degree of objectivity to be applied to the screening process due to the broad array of exercises conducted. On top of that, this step helps you to make more effective comparisons between candidates who seem to be of equal quality on paper – through observing how both perform in a ‘real world’ business situation.

Enable Candidates To Get A Feel Of The Company

As the assessment includes responding to typical business problems that are faced by employees in the company on a regular basis which gives the candidates a realistic perspective on the role and the company that they have applied for. It is not easy to obtain such insights during a basic interview and this reciprocal experience will not only help you to assess the candidate’s suitability for the role, but also enable the candidate to assess the company.

This would also provide an opportunity for the candidates to speak to key managers and staff members in the company to get a sense of what it is like to work for the company. After going through these exercises at the assessment centre, they can then re-evaluate their decision on joining the company – whether this would be a role they would enjoy working in.

Therefore, an assessment centre helps to guarantee that your selection of candidates will be in alignment with your overall business goals and objective; which will ultimately improve your rate of attrition.

3. Reference Checks

What is more important than getting the job is how one performs in the job. Additional information about a candidate’s skills, performance, knowledge and work history should also be obtained from a different source. This source could provide a more neutral, analytical and reliable assessment of the candidate.

Additional Read: The Importance of Reference Checks

Validating That The Candidate Is The A* Employee That They Make Themselves To Be

So far, you have only absorbed what the candidate wants you to know about him through his resume and the interview. There are candidates who seem like great employees on paper but fail to perform during an interview. On the other hand, there are also candidates who do well during an interview but end up under-performing at work. As unfortunate as it sounds, resumes can be easily embellished, and interview responses can be perfected with a bit of coaching or even plenty of practice. In a competitive job market, more and more candidates are seeing an increasing need to exaggerate and pad their achievements to have the upper hand.

Additional Read: 7 Common Lies That Job Seekers Tell (+ How They Embellish Their Resumes)

One way to ensure that the person you have shortlisted after the interview is who they have claimed themselves to be is to obtain feedback from people they have previously worked for through conducting reference checks. Referencing allows you to pick out aspects from a candidate’s resume or a candidate’s interview response for further clarification with the referees – to find out if they had exaggerated or lied about their achievements at work. Past performance is a good predictor for future success, and it is through these feedback that you can have a gauge on their performance in your own company.

Obtain More Insights Into Their Personality

Reference checks can also highlight the softer skills such as approachability, communication and collaboration. It is important to obtain references from different groups of people, i.e. the candidate’s previous manager, subordinate or a stakeholder they have worked with. The feedback received from these people will enable you to assess the candidate’s consistency when working with different people.

This will also serve as an opportunity to check back with previous managers on the candidate’s strengths and how he performs in a working environment. Knowing this will let you know the management style you should execute to help the candidate to thrive at work. For instance, whether the candidate is someone who needs close supervision or does not like being micromanaged.

Being able to communicate with key stakeholders, chair important meetings and lead a team are skills that are far more difficult to assess with a test. These skills, however, are the most valuable skills needed for any candidate to succeed in the workplace. It is worth noting that the ability to obtain references is also an indicator of the possession of good people skills. Reference checking is therefore a credible and reliable way to go beyond the paper – both the test and resume – to assess the suitability of a candidate for the company.

Are you conducting any of these screening assessments in your recruitment process today?

While conducting these screening assessments, it is also vital that you consider the method that suits your business the best.

Does your company engage in mass recruitment? Assessment centers will be a better fit for you. As smaller companies do not conduct mass recruitment, they generally carry out reference checks to screen their potential candidates. It is important to properly screen your candidates to verify their suitability as a wrong hire can be costly and could ultimately amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted for the company!

robin is a company that specialises in human resource technology. We automate your reference check process, so you can streamline the once-tedious task to just a few simple clicks. Click here to schedule a demo and find out more about how we can help you.

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