By Jessica Miller-Merrell
Pre-employment assessments have been used by organizations for years to determine whether or not a candidate is a good fit, but these one-sided assessments just are not fitting the bill anymore. We can all agree that filling a position has just as much to do with the candidate feeling the fit is right as it does with hiring managers selecting the right person, and yet most companies are only doing their due diligence on one end of that spectrum. In fact, Aberdeen’s 2014 study called “Translating High Potential Into High Performance” revealed that the popularity of pre-hiring assessments is growing quickly, experiencing a 20% growth from 2013 to 2014.
These pre-employment assessments are a valuable tool for ensuring quality hiring and qualifying the best candidates, but sometimes it’s what we don’t know, or in this case what the assessment can’t reveal, that will end up hurting us.
Assessments seem to be this elusive and secret test that requires a candidate to jump through many hoops to complete. The test results are only available to the talent acquisition team leaving our candidate in the dark. There is no learning, growing or self-development for the job seeker or passive candidate happening. Enter in the self-assessment to build relationships and a solid reputation with your job search candidates.
In the same way that we take the time to discover a candidate’s experience, personality and probable fit with the company, the candidate should be able to do a reverse assessment. In this self-assessment, they’d ideally discover whether or not they have the right skills and abilities for the position, if the company culture is a good fit and more. This reverse assessment helps them determine whether or not applying, interviewing or taking the position is worth their time. As a bonus, candidates qualifying or disqualifying themselves saves recruiters time doing so.
Help candidates perform a self-assessment
Some of the responsibility to self-assess does lay with the candidate, but there’s a lot that we can do to encourage them to do so. Often times, candidates actually prefer to reverse assess (after all, it can save them a lot of time and effort) but don’t have the information they need to. To help candidates perform a self-assessment, provide the following resources:
A thorough job description – This should go beyond job duties and provide an accurate and complete picture of what the job entails. Go beyond the standard job description approved by the legal team. Think about it in terms of four different categories: day-to-day tasks, strategic planning responsibilities, team vs. individual projects and who their customers will be (internal or external)/what they’ll deliver to customers.
Position requirements – Share your non-negotiables and let candidates know that they truly are not negotiable if that’s the case. When describing specific skills, use adjectives that accurately describe the level of candidate you’re looking for and provide specific examples of what they’ll be expected to do.
A look at your company culture – Finding the right candidate goes far beyond skills, so show them what they’re really getting by accepting a job at your company. Use your social media platforms to share pictures from events, training and more, feature “a day in the life of” stories about employees on your blog and boldly share your company values and mission.
The best candidates want resources on multiple channels and platforms to help them decide whether the investment in the interview and formal application process is even worth their time, so make it available to them. Your job postings, employment branding and career site efforts are already established platforms where job seekers are currently assessing. Are you sharing the right information and resources to help candidates make the best decision to apply or join your talent network community? More importantly are you sharing the right information and resources to help make candidates make the decision to not apply? These small changes in what you present not only improve the candidate experience and enhance your employment brand but also improve your hiring overall, making it a no-brainer to provide resources that enable employee self-assessments.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell.