By: Anna Cowell on June 27th, 2023

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How to Find Your Perfect Candidate with Post-Interview Assessments

In today's competitive job market, you can't waste time on a drawn-out selection process. A talented candidate is likely to have interest from multiple employers, so you're in a race to make an offer before anyone else.  

With that in mind, does it make sense to perform a post-interview assessment? Many employers say no. Recent research shows that less than half of employers perform any kind of practical assessment, and only 19% assess candidates after the interview stage.  

But this could hurt your overall hiring outcomes. A well-organized candidate assessment could help you ensure that you're making the right choice every time.  

What is a post-interview assessment?  

Every hiring manager knows what it's like when your candidate is perfect on paper. They stand out during the screening, and they ace all of the interviews. You're excited for them to join the team and get to work… 

…only to discover that they're not as great as they seemed.  

Post-interview assessments are practical tests designed for your final shortlist of candidates. It's a chance to see people so that you can assess their practical skills before making a hiring decision. 

What should be in a post-interview assessment? 

You are looking to have candidates demonstrate proficiency in core areas of the work they will be doing. For example:  

  • A data analyst candidate might be asked to clean data and produce some basic charts in Excel. 
  • A potential editor could review and provide feedback on a document. 
  • A candidate for a role that requires strong writing skills could write in response to a prompt. 
  • Someone requiring proficiency in a second language could have a conversation with a native speaker of that language, or they could translate a document. 

You can also ask candidates to prepare and conduct a presentation, pitch, or training and set aside part of the interview for them to demonstrate their skills.  

If the assessment is relevant and well-organized, this will give you a deeper insight into each applicant's abilities. This can be crucial when you're trying to decide between the final two or three candidates.  

How to conduct a successful post-interview assessment 

After the interview stage, you should have a clear picture of the candidate's background and technical ability. A post-interview assessment aims to confirm the candidate's ability in a practical setting. To do this, you'll need to follow these steps:  

1. Choose a relevant task  

The test should clearly link to the core skills required for the role, so make sure that you're building an assessment around those skills. Also, try to focus on talents that you can measure in a test environment, such as technical skills.   

2. Be mindful of EEOC guidelines 

Review EEOC guidance and make sure it doesn't disproportionally screen out candidates in a protected class. If in doubt, consult with your HR compliance experts to ensure that assessments are fair and do not discriminate. 

3. Set expectations  

Most assessments will involve a dummy task--for example, you might give each candidate a spreadsheet filled with fake customer information. Make sure that the applicant understands that this is a trial run and is indicative of the kind of work they'll be doing. However, if the assessment involves working on a real task that benefits your company, you should pay them for their time and work. 

4. Schedule at a convenient time 

Tests can be time-consuming to review, so limiting the number of people taking them is best. I recommend scheduling the assessment at the end of the interview process when your shortlist is down to the top 1 or 2 candidates. Additionally, the test shouldn't require significant time investments from the candidate—ideally, an hour or less of work. Any more than that can hurt the overall candidate experience.

5. Use objective standards 

You may want to establish a rubric and decide what great, good, and insufficient look like before you give the test to any candidates. Creating and evaluating the assessment will require time from the manager or another person with technical knowledge of the role, so factor that into your process. 

Get help with your hiring process

Post-interview assessments are just one element of a successful hiring process. To find your ideal hire, you'll need to get things right at every step, from the job description to the final contract offer. Recruitment Process Outsourcing can help.

Book a call with a Helios HR expert, and let's talk about how we can help build your perfect team!