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Achieving efficiencies in the assessment process

We have previously written on the power of employer brand, which is communicated through the entire recruitment lifecycle – and candidate assessment is no exception. Efficient processes not only improve the number of qualified candidates in your pipeline, but also clearly and accurately measure the suitability of each applicant. All whilst simultaneously helping to enshrine your employer, and therefore consumer, brand. Conversely, inefficient assessment processes could mean that high-potential candidates are overlooked.

Assessment begins at the earliest stage of recruitment

The assessment process begins at the very earliest stage on the recruitment journey, when role requirements are initially formalised. It is here that needs in areas such as technical knowledge, career aspiration, team fit and leadership and learning ability are determined – thus ensuring that decision makers have a solid starting block to measure potential candidates against the hiring process. It is also crucial that gap tolerance and minimum thresholds are identified as early as possible to reduce subjectivity – and therefore minimise the risk of unconscious bias – during the latter stages.

Once applications have been collected, collated, sorted and sifted in line with the above criteria, first interviews can be conducted. It is here that hiring managers have the opportunity to glimpse the personalities behind the shortlist index and explore the experiences and mind-sets of candidates to get a feel for whether they will excel in the role in question. At this stage, decision makers will be able to determine who should realistically progress on to personality or ability tests - and only if these are relevant for the role.

Too often, external recruitment providers will, as a matter of course, present each and every candidate with generic tests which seldom assess for the specific competencies required for the actual role in question. There are three major problems associated with this approach: time and resources are habitually wasted on unsuitable candidates; jobseekers who are well suited to the particular role they are applying for may be unfairly deselected because they don’t hit the mark; and, perhaps more importantly, individuals may become frustrated and disengaged with the process because they are being asked to complete irrelevant tasks.

Talent lost through outdated assessment

It is worth noting that a recent study by Indeed found that 30% of all candidates - and 57% of those earning over $100K (£86,172) - won’t spend longer than 15 minutes on an application. In addition, companies with 45 or more screening questions are losing 88.7% of their potential applicants who abandon the process before completion. A sobering thought for anyone with talent management responsibility.

It is clear, then, that a rigid approach to assessment is outdated and unfit for purpose. Dedicated internal talent acquisition teams who truly understand not only the intricacies for the roles they are recruiting for, but also the types of personality that will fit well with existing teams, will be able to suggest and implement suitable assessment methods for individual vacancies. For example, graduates may be required to attend an assessment day, while functional managers may instead be invited to present to a panel.

Once candidates have undergone relevant and tailored testing, the best performers can then be invited back for second – and perhaps third – stage interviews, where they can meet additional stakeholders, perhaps from other functional areas, and a final decision can be made.

Making efficiencies in candidate assessment

Assessment must always be about delivering the right person for the right role – and this should never be compromised. However, given this starting point it is vital that every candidate is provided with an experience that is positive, professional, understandable and relevant.

It is worth noting that organisations with unusually high brand equity are more likely to offer particularly short application processes. According to further data from Indeed, Netflix, for example, has just five screening questions  and a total one-minute time to apply - for vacancies at all levels, with Apple, Facebook and Amazon also recording some of the fastest application times.

If you are looking for support in formalising a best-practice recruitment process, get in touch today