Where job interviews are concerned, the more practice a candidate has, the more comfortable they become with grueling questions and subtle tests of knowledge. However, even the most skilled candidate has the possibility of saying something that can be deemed inappropriate for interview settings, even if it may seem harmless.
Technical skills tests, behavioral/personality assessments, and interviews can produce vastly different outputs. For instance, if there are three candidates in the running for a position: one could perform the best on the skills test, another could have the best judgment and score well on the personality assessment, and another could be the most impressive conversationalist and give the best interview. Therefore, none of these methods should be used alone, and the most effective way to find the most capable talent is a combination of all three.
Skill tests are merely a way of evaluating what candidates claim they are capable of. On their own, resumes and interviews are inherently flawed methods of evaluating skills because candidates sometimes exaggerate, or even fabricate, their abilities. Skill testing can come in the form of a simple task or assignment, a series of tasks, or knowledge tests; different forms are more appropriate for different roles. This method of candidate assessment is incredibly beneficial to incorporate in the recruitment process because it is compelling to actually see a candidate perform rather than trusting their claims. Also, skills tests are mostly objective—making the results simple, clear, and accurate.
Personality assessments focus on predicting how a candidate will behave in certain scenarios. Most assessments are a series of questions based on the Five-Factor Model, which demonstrates five personality “super traits”:
- Openness to Experience
The goal of a personality assessment is not to determine someone’s ability to perform the job’s tasks, but to predict how they will collaborate with others, respond to high-stress situations, etc. As opposed to skills tests, how a company interprets the results of a personality assessment is highly subjective and dependent on the job. It’s also vital that behavioral assessments are implemented and interpreted carefully—it could be harmful to turn down a highly-skilled candidate on the sole basis of a personality trait or behavior that doesn’t fit the company’s standards.
Interviewing is the most traditional and trusted method of assessing whether a candidate will be an asset to a company. As it should be—before paying someone for their skills, hiring managers and leaders should speak to them face to face. But depending on interviews alone is not entirely trustworthy and places a lot of trust in a candidate’s resume and verbal claims which could turn out to be misleading.
Recruiters and hiring managers have a tendency to trust their intuition much more than third-party methods, but here’s the truth: an interview has no way of assessing an individual’s abilities that are relevant to the job. Interviews are absolutely necessary before hiring someone, but should only be used after it has been proven that a candidate has the skills and behaviors necessary to perform the job duties. This will result in a more valuable interviewing experience, more appropriate use of everyone’s time, and more capable hires.
Finding the Right Combination
A strategic, effective recruitment process will include a combination of technical skill tests, and personality assessments that are compared to the personality type and behaviors that the company finds are best for each particular role. The key is to remember that hiring is not a “one-size-fits-all” process—each role deserves unique assessments and personality standards. Taking the time to develop a specialized approach based on each role’s unique needs will result in more accurate and capable hires, as well as a more enjoyable process for everyone involved.