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Candidate Assessment – What’s the best method?

On14/ 07 /17

The recruitment process has changed enormously over recent years. Once upon a time, one interview might be all that was required. However, times have moved on and many organisations now use assessments to vet candidates.

But how do you decide whether or not to use assessments and how can you be sure that they help you to reach the right decision?

We take a closer look at assessments, their potential benefits and how to choose the method that works for your organisation.

Why Assess Candidates? The Benefits


In many cases, a traditional interview format will allow an organisation to adequately assess applicants. However, some hiring managers want the reassurance that they have thoroughly assessed candidates to carry out a role.

There is increasing pressure to hire well to maintain efficiencies and keep costs down. We all know that hiring is costly, and employing the wrong person can result in significant financial losses.

Assessments can be an effective way to determine actual skills, as well as how candidates respond to pressure. They can lead to more accurate candidate evaluation and help to standardise hiring practices, leading to a fairer process.

Potential Negatives


The most obvious negative that assessments can present is longer hiring timescales. Organisations may be nervous about losing potential candidates to other offers due to these longer timeframes or because competitors offer a simpler hiring process.

Despite this, candidates that are a good fit with the organisation will invariably agree to take part in the testing.

Equally, some hiring managers believe that if you ask the right questions, an interview can tell you all your need to know about a candidate. There is also debate over the value of some assessment methods - a good approach is to avoid basing a hiring decision solely on the result of one assessment.

Key considerations

Before embarking on candidate assessment, the hiring manager must know the precise requirements of the role to ensure that any evaluations are relevant.

There is no point in going through the motions if the results of an assessment aren’t going to reveal anything about the candidate that actively impacts the role.

As an example, if a position simply requires a reasonable level of literacy or numeracy, these can usually be gauged from the candidates CV, qualifications and past experience.

Assessment Types

Written Assessments are valuable when exploring candidate’s numeracy and literacy skills. If attention to detail is a key requirement, a short test will quickly help to establish a candidate’s skills.

Oral Assessments are a useful way to evaluate a candidate’s presentation skills and how they respond to pressure. In marketing, for example candidates will often be asked to respond to a mock or real brief and present their approach.

Psychometric testing is favoured by some organisations, particularly in scientific and mathematical fields. These tests are designed to provide an accurate summary of a candidates skills and abilities including verbal, abstract, logical reasoning and personality traits.

If you’re looking for the right candidates for your organisation, contact us at Bucks and Berks. We recruit for a wide range of positions across multiple sectors.
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