The Recruiters’ Guide to Candidate Assessments

By Emily Johnson - Nov. 6, 2017
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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Emily Johnson – blogger and content strategist at Her opinions are her own. 
“As a business owner or manager, you know that hiring the wrong person is the most costly mistake you can make.” [Brian Tracy]
Hiring new employees is one of the most difficult tasks for business owners as well as managers. There are many candidates who think they are a perfect fir for a job. However, as you already know, not all of them are as qualified as they say.
In order to find a perfect new employee, you need to spend several hours searching for people online, reading a number of resumes and cover letters and running many interviews. Is that actually enough to find a great candidate for a job?
How can you know that they will perform well? Are you sure that going through a candidate’s CV and having a conversation with them is enough for you to know that that particular person is the one you’re looking for?
The answer is: no.
A great resume and a positive interview don’t guarantee that you’ll employ the right person. Remember, hiring the wrong employee is not only time consuming, but it can also be very expensive. Thus, you need to maximize your chance of employing the right employee. You can do that by putting your candidates through various assessments.
Here are six assessments that you might want to put your candidates through before you decide to hire them.

1. Skills assessments

Let’s be honest. The fact that a person writes in their resumé that they are an experienced writer, cook or IT specialist, doesn’t mean they really are. Of course, I’m not saying that everybody stretches the truth, but as a business owner, you need to take that into consideration.
There are many articles encouraging companies to employ people for potential, not experience. After all, what you are searching for is a person possessing certain skills. Experience is not always that vital. But, how can you know that a person really possesses certain skills?
In order to know for sure that your candidate, whether experienced or not, has the necessary skills, you could consider putting them through various assessments. For example, if you’re looking for a writer, ask them to write a sample article for you; or, if you need a teacher, tell them to conduct a lesson in your school. This way you’ll see how they actually perform in practice. It’ll help you make the right decision about whether or not to employ them.

2. Personality tests

Pre-employment personality testing is becoming more and more popular. Not all jobs are suitable for all types of people. Some require strong social skills, other individualism or rational thinking.
Did you know that many employees quit their jobs because they are bored with the work, unchallenged or can’t use their skills and attributes? Also, many suffer from work depression because they can’t cope with their duties. You don’t want to have to deal with the consequences of such events after you’ve employed the wrong person. Prevent it from happening!
Put your candidates through personality tests to find out if they possess the right temperament, skills and character traits required for a particular job.
One of the most popular personality tests that you can use is Myers-Briggs Personality test. Also, check other tests here.

3. Thorough resumé check

It might almost sound too simple. You open a file, a potential candidate’s resumé pops up, you read what’s most important for you (education, previous jobs and experience) and you think you know a lot about a person. The truth is, you know very little for you didn’t pay attention to the really essential details. Thus, before inviting a person to an interview, decode their resume!
While reading your candidate’s resume, check if:

  • There are no mistakes;
  • The layout is original and creative;
  • No information is missing (like skills or educational background).

Also, pay attention to what people include in their list of hobbies or other interests. It’s a good idea to talk a bit more about their hobbies during the interview. This way you’ll check if they are truthful and honest.

4. Social footprint check

If a candidate has included information about their twitter profile or a personal website on their resumé, don’t hesitate to check it. If they haven’t included such information, you should still search for their profile, at least, on Facebook.
By reading a potential future employee’s social profiles, you’ll check if the information they put online matches the information on their resume so as to avoid hiring someone who commits resume fraud. Also, you’ll be able to figure out the answers to illegal questions without asking them. 
You can use social media profiles as tools to better get to know your candidates.

5. Behavioural assessment

While assessing your future employee, you need to be able to check not only their skills and personality traits, but also figure out why, for example, they got fired from their previous job or what they liked or disliked about it.
There are many questions you should ask during an interview. But don’t forget to interpret the answers too. After all, you wouldn’t like to have a psychopath working for you, would you? And yes, it does happen.
Also, avoid asking general questions like, for example, “tell me about yourself.” People find it hard to answer such questions because they don’t know what exactly you’d like to know (after all, you are holding their CV in your hand with all the necessary information).
Remember, always ask the right questions when you conduct a job interview.

6. Appearance at interview

Did you know that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she is dressed? For instance, people who like comfort will not wear high-heels, but flat shoes. Those who wear tailor-made suits are likely to be confident and successful in life. Also, those who wear black might communicate to others that they are serious. Blue, on the other hand, suggests creativity and peacefulness.
Thus, clothes say a lot about your personality – pay attention to it and trust your first impression. Also, remember that an interview is a formal meeting, so people who you’re interviewing should not be wearing sports clothes. If they do, they don’t take the meeting seriously. Expect formal clothes or smart casual attire.

Emily Johnson is a blogger and a content strategist at She is also a contributor to many websites about career advice, productivity, work issues, blogging and writing. You can always find more works of hers on Twitter.


Emily Johnson

Emily Johnson is a blogger and a content strategist at She is also a contributor to many websites about career advice, productivity, work issues, blogging and writing. You can always find more works of hers on Twitter.

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