Totem-Gold-400x265How Do You Select For What You Really Need?

Let’s assume you’re already confident with your starting point for recruiting, and if not we suggest you jump to this page for the basics but if you are, you might benefit from building on that with this little article.

Quite often when we’re recruiting we spend the minimal time exploring what we need up front, we take a gut feel approach to the needs of the role, dust off an old copy of a job description and then run a standard interview to select the best candidate.

There’s a huge amount of evidence that suggests that if you take this approach, your new recruit will fall flat on their face within months of taking up the role.  But there are some simple steps you can take to designing your recruitment process that will yield far better recruitment results.

We’re not simply talking the all-encompassing Assessment Centre here, they can often be too wieldy and over the top for a number of different reasons.  It may be that the position is quite junior, and an assessment centre costing more than the actual salary of the role is unjustifiable, or it may be the sheer volume of candidates you need to wade through is too high…

But there are some golden nuggets and best practices we can take straight from a well-designed assessment centre, and apply to them to situations that require a little more flexibility.

Assessment centres often get good press from employers because they give you the opportunity see how a candidate performs over a longer, and more consistent window.  The value of this is quite high as you can see how a candidate will actually perform, rather than how they say they can perform.  One major drawback to simply using an interview!

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Start by being particular when choosing the competencies for any given role, being mindful of the requirements for the job – does it involve planning and organising? Motivating others?  Clear communication?

There are a surprising range of possible competencies and the ones which are relevant to a particular job are determined through job analysis.

In recent conversations with our clients, particularly those seeing a resurgence in hiring activity, such as Retail and Professional Services, we’ve come across two recurring challenges:

  • How do we measure remote management, inspiration and engagement of people when we don’t all work together in a store or office?
  • How do we measure adaptability in client meetings or face to face customer conversations?

Similar skills, different contexts.

For these two examples, a structured interview combined with a work sample test are going to be extremely insightful for finding the best candidate – perhaps just as useful as a more expensive, full-blown assessment centre.  The difference being that an assessment centre is measuring a wider set of competencies and takes a long time, whereas here we’ve paired it down to strictest essentials.

If you’re recruiting for a role where you need to see how a candidate reacts in a critical situation faced frequently in the post, it might be worth you using one of these work sample tests.  Think about that situation that can make or break someone in the role, and design an assessment that helps you pick the best candidate.

So how do you design a strong, robust work sample test?

Here are some top tips:

Write out and agree what behaviours you’re looking for – so you’re creating your scoring forms.  Be really specific eg “asks the client what their measures of success would be,” or “explains their key message to the store manager over the phone, then asks them what that means to them and how they can implement it”

Create a scenario typical to the role that someone can step into for the purpose of the assessment “eg you’re in a field management position and need to call one of your store managers, or you’re about to meet a client who has let you know they’re not happy.”  Write a more detailed brief about the situation and what you want them to do

Check that the scenario and the brief you give the candidate, gives them the opportunity to display all the behaviours you’re looking for

Observe each candidate in the scenario and score them against your pre-agreed scoring forms.

Using the above method, you’ll be to reduce the amount of time and spend on assessment centres and quite importantly, you’ll be supporting the hiring manager to really focus on the core elements of the role they’re recruiting for.  That’s extremely helpful for overcoming the classic “I like him” or “she seems like a good fit.”

To get in touch with Totem about your assessment design needs is simple, click me!