Effectively assessing candidates is a huge challenge both in terms of the time it takes and coming up with a thorough and balanced way of assessing a candidate, which is relevant to the role you are considering them for.

Now I’m not a fan of an elongated process especially when many of the steps are just repeated but just a different person asking similar questions, often dragging the process out for months, by which time the best candidates have been offered and accepted a role with a more agile company. However, I do think undertaking more than just a telephone and face to face interview can give you a more balanced and broader view of someone’s ability to do the job.

In a previous life as a Contact Centre Manager we started off by just interviewing candidates and whilst this is useful and gives you a sense of their ability to communicate, hear about their previous experience and a chance to ask some questions it doesn’t show you on a practical level their ability to do the job.

Having got fed up with hiring people who could tell a good story in an interview but not deal with a real-life customer scenario, we decided to add in a role play. Giving the individual a scenario in this case a phone call with a general enquiry enabled us to hear their telephone manner, ability to understand information, communication style, professionalism and see if they can talk and type at the same time. This very quickly made a difference to our retention rate and the percentage of new hires passing probation. It made for happier people too as the ones who made it through were more suited to what we were asking of them.

Some companies will go further than this and ask candidates to complete psychometric testing, presentations or other bespoke pieces of work. There is no right or wrong answer and there certainly isn’t one process you could use that would be relevant for every role. However, I believe it’s about getting a balanced view in different ways and most importantly, ensure it’s relevant to the role in question.

At Simplify we understand the importance of having the right people for the role, where possible we work with people who are known to us or come highly recommended from a trusted source. To substantiate someone’s suitability we want to understand their values and behaviours, assess their experience, qualifications, pace, quality and consultative ability. We believe in having multiple interactions (but not spreading this across weeks or months), asking a range of formal and informal questions tailored to the role, undertaking practical assessments that mirror the role in question, employment and personal referencing as well as standard pre employment checks. This ensures we have the right people in the right role who can match our high standards and can provide the quality service to our clients that we pride ourselves on.

Whatever you do to assess candidates, if you get it right you will receive a strong individual, with the right values for your company, the right skills and qualifications for the role and a good fit in terms of role requirements and career progression. Get it wrong and you are likely to have an unhappy employee or quickly be looking for a replacement. Whilst you can just go back to the market and try your luck again, unless you change your process then “luck” is the gamble here and in reality you are likely to make the same mistake again and again, which is a costly process and a huge waste of time for all those involved.

How do you assess candidate suitability?

For more information on our services and the roles we have on offer visit our website www.simplifyconsulting.co.uk or contact us resourcing@simplifyconsulting.co.uk

Written by Matt Short Head of Talent & Resourcing