Finding the Perfect Candidate | The Assessment Phase



This is the third step in the Talent Acquisition Architecture that I am writing about. In my last blog, we discussed how to go into the market place to attract the right talent into the right role, where and how to position our adverts. The Assessment Phase is where we have received a shortlist of candidate, and have decided which ones we would like to progress into the next step, by meeting them, be it in person or connecting with them via any digital platforms that we use.

We have so much respect for our hiring managers, most of them are highly qualified and experts in their fields. However, I learnt that when it comes to interviewing, line managers are not as well versed as we thought. I have sat in interviews with managers who ask questions that are not relevant to the role, questions that do not assist them with understanding whether the candidate is suitable for the role or not, some questions were also not allowed, in that in as much they were something that they wanted to know, they could be viewed as discriminatory. To my shock, hiring managers would casually ask meaningless question’s like “Are you married? Do you have any children, if yes how many? Are you a thief? Do you drink alcohol? How old are you?”

This then brought me to the realization that, most of these hiring managers had no idea what to do and what to ask in interviews to get a better understanding of the candidate. In most instances, the questions that were asked were biased, and based on what they wanted the candidate to be, which in most instances is to be like them.

Thankfully most of these managers listened to and accepted the feedback that I provided. In fact most of them respected me as an Human Resources practitioner more when I gave them open and honest pointers. They agreed to being more prepared, by putting together at least three technical questions that would assist them in rating each interviewee fairly.

To mitigate risk, and any repercussions from candidates who could approach the Labour Court, claiming that they were declined an opportunity by being asked a discriminatory question. My recommendation to interviewing, is then to have a questionnaire where the technical input comes from anyone on the panel who represents the business, and the competency based part from the recruiter, to measure organizational and culture fit. The key thing to remember is that, we not only hire into a role, but into a team and culture. So, in assessing the candidate, we need to consider all the factors.

The best plan has been to:

  • Design an interview questionnaire with both technical and competency questions that are relevant to the role
  • To have more than one interview, to include other stake holders in the process, a final interview with the team where the role sit
  • To deliberate with all panelists, consolidate all the information and feed to the decision maker to assist them in choosing
  • If possible, add psychometric assessments to this phase, not to disqualify anyone, but for developmental purposes

What I really like about this phase, is that it provides us with a lot of information about the prospective hire, their current situation as well as their career aspirations. This then means that we can better understand how they want to be managed/led. This is crucial because talent management starts at the talent acquisition phase!

As I write this, I am keen on pursuing SHRM’s Talent Acquisition Specialty Credential, as well as learning all about Motivation-Based Interviewing (MBI) as prescribed by Carol Quinn. When I complete these two goals, I will certainly update this specific article, to let you know what I think.



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