Examining Your Candidates

February 2016

By: Barbara Davis, Senior Recruitment Consultant

As an employer, when you are considering a hire, you would ideally like more information than you would gather from how the candidate answers your questions during an interview. Collecting additional information isn’t just a preference, but can be a requirement, particularly in the public sector. That means administering an exam. To be sure you meet legal requirements, start by ensuring that your exam is valid (measures job-relevant skills) and consistent (given to all applicants, with accommodation if needed and feasible). But what type of exam should you use? The answer to that question depends on the job. What you seek from a business analyst will be quite different from what you want to explore with a CFO. So how do you decide what to test?

Start with the job description. If you don’t have one, stop and work on putting one together. Without it, you are risking your best chance of finding the right fit for your needs. Why? The job description will give you the essential skills needed for the position. It will also tell you which parts of the job are most critical. Your test should center on these. But that isn’t the end of the story. The higher the level of the position, the more important the intangible candidate qualifications. How does the candidate’s style and outlook fit with your organization?

Let’s take a Manager of Financial Analysis & Planning. You could ask your candidate to calculate some ratios or explain a theory of forecasting. But you could learn a whole lot more, not just about the financial knowledge, but style as well. How? Ask the candidate to calculate fewer ratios but then to write a short analysis of the statistics for a press release.

Such practical tests provide real insight into the individual’s comfort level with their skill set and how they express themselves. Contact Koff & Associates to learn more about developing an exam to fit your needs.

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