Selecting employees

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Last updated on January 15, 2018

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 skills.

  • 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.

  • Presentations 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 consideration.

  • 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.
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