Whether you’ve hired 100 people or you’re looking for your first employee, the job never gets any easier.
How do you know if someone will be the right fit? It’s a difficult task – you have to find the perfect balance of skills, knowledge, personality, and more and then keeping your fingers crossed that you’ll not only love them but that they’ll love you back.
A lot of it is a gut feeling, but luckily, there are tools available that can help you make a more informed decision.
The right assessment, for instance, can give you great insight into whether or not someone will be a successful member of your team. It arms you with deeper knowledge and more relevant information than you might get from an impromptu in-person interview or subjective phone call.
But with so many assessment types, how do you know which one is the right one to use?
Well, we’re here to break it all down, showing you some of the best survey types and how to use them to make your job – of hiring someone else – easier on you and more effective in the long term.
5 Best Assessments to Help You Find the Right Candidate
If you’ve ever posted a job online on a popular job posting site, you know how quickly hundreds of applications can roll in.
This isn’t a bad thing – you want a big pool of candidates to choose from so you find the exact person you’re looking for. But things can get tricky when it comes to narrowing down who’s right for the job.
That’s where a recruitment assessment can help!
A recruitment assessment lets you narrow down job applicants quickly and efficiently by comparing candidate answers to essential recruiting questions.
This gives you an opportunity to automatically weed out candidates who don’t meet your deal-breaker requirements.
Possible questions to ask here are:
- What is your minimum salary requirement?
- Do you require sponsorship to legally work in the U.S.?
- Do you have a college degree?
- Are you interviewing anywhere else?
Recruitment assessments will not give you the clearest picture of each and every candidate on a personal level, but they will help you to get rid of some of the noise that makes looking for the right candidate so difficult.
Knowledge tests are particularly useful when you’re hiring for a certain role or position that requires technical know-how, for instance in the fields of programming, law, finance, and more.
If you need your hire to have industry-specific knowledge you can only gain through education or experience, this assessment can help you test that knowledge and make sure they know what you’ll need them to know.
It can also help you gauge their level of knowledge, allowing you to qualify candidates for junior, senior, or director level positions.
Knowledge assessments are obviously great for you as the hiring manager because they give you a quick overview of a person’s knowledge, but they’re also great for candidates because it gives them an idea of what they need to know and what will be expected of them should they get the job.
It sets expectations for you both, meaning you’re both set up for success.
Example: Hiring a videographer? Send them a knowledge assessment about video marketing statistics and video equipment functionality.
Skills assessments are similar to knowledge tests in that they give you a clearer picture of a person’s knowledge but differ in the way that knowledge is applied.
They usually fall into one of two camps: they test either a person’s direct skill set with questions that have right and wrong answers, or they test a person’s skill set via a more subjective assessment, like a writing sample, project, or presentation.
These can be great to send to candidates after a recruitment assessment, (where you’ve cleared them of any logistical hiring obstacles,) and just before an in-person interview, so you get a better idea of how capable a candidate might be for the role.
It’s really a great measurement of job readiness – if you see their answers or skill applications don’t match your expectations, this test helps you narrow down your candidate list even further, saving you time and effort.
Wondering if you should implement a skills test in your hiring process?
While knowledge tests are great in more technical fields, skills tests are great in gauging softer skill sets, like communication, creativity, management, and more.
Consider using a skills test when you’re hiring in interpersonal fields like sales, creative fields like graphic design or writing, or senior-level fields where candidates need the right combination of hard and soft skills to be effective.
Example: Hiring an entry-level graphic designer? Send them a sample piece of long-form content, like an ebook, and ask them to design a cover page for it. Give them one hour to complete the project and outline any requirements you have for formatting, use of collateral, software, etc.
Do you prefer working early or late? Do you need to be closely managed or are you an independent worker? Do you like to socialize in an open office or would you rather have a quiet place to get your work done?
These work values can affect culture fit and happiness, which hugely affects your company’s retention and turnover rates.
The more you know about your candidates’ values, the more insight you’ll have as to whether or not they’ll be successful at your company.
If you’re wondering where a candidate’s values lie, use a values assessment to dig a little deeper.
A values assessment can also give you a better idea of a candidate’s general integrity, showing you crucial markers about their opinions on things like absenteeism, tardiness, specific corporate protocols, and more.
When should you use a values assessment?
- When you’re hiring entry-level retail positions.
- When you’re hiring any consumer-facing roles.
- When you’re hiring any role that deals with sensitive information, such as a person’s medical history or criminal record.
Use a personalized PDF report to take the assessment to the next level. It will help your candidate to get better insight in their values.
Are you looking for a high-level manager, leader, director, or c-suite executive?
If so, a leadership assessment can be used to help you find just the right person.
First, these assessments help you uncover subjective traits that make someone a natural leader, like self-awareness, time management, forethought, listening skills, competency, and more.
Many of these are hard to gauge through conversation. When you’re interviewing for a higher-level position, you might rely on generally unreliable metrics like a person’s education or how they answer one particular question. But these are poor indicators of a person’s ability to lead and can result in a high turnover rate for some of the most important positions in your company.
The right assessment, on the other hand, can give you a larger picture of what makes them a good leader and whether or not they’re equipped to manage your team.
The right leadership assessment can also help you diversify your team, showing you what traits your team may be lacking and helping you find someone to fill the missing gaps.
For instance, your company’s tech team might be amazing at getting work done and fixing major issues, but they might not be the strongest at interdepartmental communication. Someone you interview for this position should be able to pick up the slack and show this team how to communicate more effectively with others.
This test should measure a candidate’s ability to:
- Lead by inspiring curiosity and growth.
- Implement and execute on their planning in the short and long term.
- Think strategically.
- Learn from past challenges and obstacles.
- Collaborate toward a unified goal.
How does it do that? Here are just a few example questions a leadership assessment should include. Candidates should be encouraged to answer based on how strongly they think the statement matches their personality on a scale of one to ten:
I need a steady timeline in which to complete tasks and assignments.
I have a high level of credibility within my industry.
I always ask questions and encourage others to do the same.
I only build relationships when it’s beneficial to me.
I enjoy working with people of diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Include positive and negative traits in your leadership assessment, but phrase each question in a neutral tone. You don’t want applicants answering every single question the same way because they think that’s what you want to hear.
Call them what you want – assessments, surveys, tests. The name doesn’t matter as much as their purpose: helping you find the right person for the job in an efficient and measurable way.
Overall, assessments help you increase employee retention, keep your employees happier over a longer period of time, ensure higher productivity and collaboration, and provide you with a replicable process that delivers objective, validated results.
If you don’t know which assessment is right for you, keep in mind that no single test will give you a complete picture of your candidate.
While one might test technical skills, it might not test emotional intelligence or soft skills.
Use the right combination of assessments, phone interviews, in-person interviews, and project-based work to figure out who you’re looking for and soon, you’ll find the perfect person with the right aptitude, personality, skills, and culture fit for your company.