A hiring process without assessments is a recipe for disaster

As you can tell, I’m saying that from experience. Having interviewed countless candidates, I’m convinced that people have become good with interviews. And irrespective of your thoroughness as a recruiter or an HR professional, the smarter candidates can boast their way into a vital position. You don’t want that to happen, do you?

I believe all hiring processes should have an component for assessments. This is quite practical for creative or technical positions (like designers or coders) — you just need to have an assessment ready that tests their ability to solve their problem using the skills they have and the skills you need. They don’t meet the standards you’ve set. They’re out of the race. It’s that simple. Giving them another chance is foolish and a waste of company’s resources. My experience says that the creatives either have it or don’t. They can’t get creative in 24 hours! It’s developed overtime and you’re in the business of hiring accomplished professionals. This isn’t internship.

For the non-creative/non-tech folks, particularly in the management or senior leadership roles, simply as for a portfolio. Wait. “What’s a portfolio? And why the hell would a manager or leader have it in the first place?,” you ask? One awesome trait of high performers is that they will document their best wins somewhere. These would be vital details about the project they worked on, the responsibilities, the challenges they faced and how they resolved it. Most would usually stop at 1 or 2 pages. Anything more would be an overkill and they know it.

A bunch of these case studies would be their portfolio and you can base your motivational and behavioural interview questions based on these cases. It’s a solid way to separate the wheat from the chaff and a sure-shot way to hire a top-grade performer.

What if they don’t (and most wouldn’t) have a portfolio? We take utmost care with the questions we ask during the interviews. These should be directly related to the vision, mission and outcomes you’ve set for the role you’re hiring for. And don’t forget your scorecard — specificity is the key. Anything outside the scope of these parameters is wishy-washy and unproductive.

The biggest mistake recruiters, hiring managers and HR professionals make during an interview is to keep it general. (Some of the questions would make me cringe.) We can’t afford to keep things general, it’s a matter of building a world-class team or one that will take the company down. The more specifics we get into the person’s history, experience, strengths, weaknesses and behaviours, the better you are able to narrow down on a high performer.

I know it’s a massive responsibility but nobody but you are responsible for whoever ends up signing the dotted line. Assess before hiring because your company’s future is at stake.

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