assess candidates

Assess candidates the right way to find your next perfect hire

If you’re looking to grow your team, there are a few crucial steps you need to get right in order to ensure you bring in the right people.

It all has to do with conducting a proper assessment from start to finish. It’s not just about interviewing well. The assessment begins when you’re determining the skills gaps in the team and the right profile of the new hires, as well as later on, during the interview stage.

We’ve boiled it down to four critical stages in the assessment process. Get these right and you’ll save yourself both time and money by shortlisting the right people and then correctly assessing candidates to see who will sink and who will swim.

Step 1: Use your recruiter

Often hiring managers can be too close to a business to objectively assess candidates for their roles. Get an outside perspective. It can help you to see the big picture and look in places you might not otherwise consider looking. This will give you a more diverse talent pipeline and therefore more diversity of ideas in your business!

Hiring managers also often have trouble specifying exactly what they need. They might be focusing too much on personality and missing an important technical or skill gap. Again, consult with your recruiter, talk them through your thought process, current situation, and challenges, and then get them to delineate your hiring needs. A good recruiter can help you put together your job brief and find you a shortlist of great talent.

Most people are just not great at recruiting for their own business or team. It’s important to get it right because extricating yourself from a bad hire is difficult and expensive.

Step 2: Talk to your team

If you’re looking to grow your business, talk to your employees. And not just the senior team, you need to talk to your teams at all levels. Find out what they would do if they were running the company. You’d think they’d say things like ‘fire the boss, pay myself more’, but you might find that they actually want to work with better people.

Hiring talented, hard working people encourages high performers to stay in the business because it means they go up a league. It’s the Premiership vs a Sunday pub league… People know which one they want to play in.

They can also give you a good indication of what skill gaps you might have in a given team, which will help you to more precisely target your search.

Step 3: Roleplay

Roleplay is a great way to assess candidates in the interview stage. It can give you a good understanding of their values and working style. For instance, if you’re looking for someone who is a self-starter and thrives working autonomously, roleplay could be a good way of assessing this attributes.

It’s more effective at giving you a glimpse into how they might behave in a working environment than say simply asking about their preferred working style.

Step 4: Be up front

Just as your candidates is going to be ‘selling’ themselves to you, you need to sell the opportunity and your company to them. especially in a competitive market where there’s a talent shortage, it’s fundamental that you are able to sell your company and roles in the right way to the right people.

Check out our interviewing and converting workshop

But remember that you must be honest. Don’t sugarcoat the challenges. Get creative and find ways to align some of these challenges with the strengths or advantages of that candidate, if this is an area where you think they can be instrumental. This will help set realistic expectations and help prevent issues during the onboarding process.

The first six months in a role are so crucial. Many businesses don’t spend enough time on their onboarding process and this can result in the loss of great talent.

Hanson Search training programme

We’re running a training session on 27 June for onboarding senior talent.

Check out all of our upcoming training sessions here: Hanson Search Training.


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This article was written by

Alice Weightman

Alice is a talent expert with over 20 years of experience working in the recruitment industry. As Founder and CEO of Hanson Search, Alice has met with over 3000 individuals globally - helping them transform their careers - and she's gained a reputation as one of the leading search professionals in senior appointments across strategic communications. She was named 'Entrepreneur of the Year' by the FSB London Business Awards in 2016.

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