Last updated on May 4, 2017
You can use a number of methods, besides an interview, to assess a candidate’s suitability for the job.
There are a number of common assessment methods that may be suitable for small to medium-sized businesses.
- Written applications
give you an understanding of a person’s background. These can be useful
if you need an in-depth look at what the candidate has done previously
and if writing skill is important for the role. However, don’t be tied
to this method as it can be misleading and time consuming for both you
and the applicant.
- Informal chats allow you to
talk to the person to get to know them, but they can be very unreliable
and should be used in conjunction with other methods. Informal chats are
useful when recruiting upper-level jobs and when you need to hire for
skills other than practical or technical competence, such as management
- Work sample tests assess the ability of
the applicant to do an actual task required for the job, for example
answering a phone, pouring a beer or changing a tyre. Work tests can be
useful if the job is task orientated and the candidate needs to have a
certain level of proficiency from day one.
- Written tests
include multiple choice, true/false or short-answer questions. These
are useful when you need to determine a level of knowledge or
understanding of certain aspects of the job. These are also useful where
a level of language and literacy is a prime concern. Be careful,
however not to eliminate people for reasons not related to the job.
require candidates to prepare a visual and speech on a set topic for an
interview panel. These work best when public speaking or presentations
are part of the job, such as a sales person or trainer.
- Examples of previous work
are useful if they are relevant to the position. Thismight include
graphic artists or photographers providing a portfolio of work, or
furniture makers providing photos or actual pieces of work for
- Referee checks should always be
conducted, both verbally and in writing. Ask for names and numbers of
people who will confirm and provide concrete evidence for the
candidate’s claims. It might help to give an example of what the work
entails and ask the referee to recall a time when the applicant
undertook similar tasks.