How can you make your selection process more robust?

I am going to start by making it clear that I am not an assessment expert by any means. I write this as someone that has helped clients to engage with people that are and I have seen the results. Whilst I would not design a selection process for any of my clients, I do like to think that I know what a good one looks like.

I can think of one client that I have worked with in the past that has really benefited from support in designing a robust selection process. With any business, getting hires right is crucial but perhaps this is even truer of small and medium sized businesses. Here the selection process for a new hire is just as much about making sure that you do not hire the wrong person as hiring the right one.

With the client in question, they used an assessment centre approach in making two senior appointments and they have ended up with two great people. There were a number of candidates that were discounted when the Chief Exec admitted he would have ended up hiring them and making the wrong decision with his previous approach to recruitment.

As soon as you mention assessment centre, some senior candidates can get a bit sniffy and complain that they are not applying to a junior role. We have started to refer to assessment centres as 'an assessment process' to try and avoid this but there will be some candidates that withdraw from the process regardless. That is fine. They are probably not the right people for your business and they will save you time in taking themselves out of the running.

There are a lot of businesses out there that will adopt a two or three stage interview process and will then make a decision. Quite often they will end up with great people from that approach but it does not always give you the whole picture. If you can design a selection process that tests for key competencies then your approach will be far more objective. Back this up with suitable psychometric testing that will help to inform your interview questions, and your assessment process will have a much higher level of efficacy.

One of my favourite assessment exercises is to ask the candidate to prepare a presentation on what they think they can achieve in the first 6 months. First of all, it shows you who has put time and effort into their preparations. You can always spot the person that has left it until the night before to cobble something together. Secondly, you often find that it will show a candidate’s true preferences as they gravitate towards talking about the work that they like doing.

If you can invest a bit of time and money in getting a selection process designed for the specific role that you are looking to fill then it could save you a lot of both of those things in future.

We work with a fantastic partner with a track record of helping clients make excellent hires. If you have made some bad hires in the past then we can put you in contact with them and they will help you review your approach. You can contact me anytime via email and I will pass you their details –

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