Interviews provide an opportunity to get to know the candidate and delve into their professional background and understand their potential cultural fit with your business, however they may not necessarily provide an accurate assessment of whether the candidate can actually do the role.
The harsh reality is that many candidates look awesome on paper and can even wow you with their personality and charm at the interview; but when it comes to demonstrating the skills of the role, they fall short. Usually this is discovered after they’ve secured the role!
The way to avoid this situation is to add a capability assessment component to your recruitment process.
It’s a way to assess a candidate’s ability to do the critical components of the role. It’s a planned task or activity that a candidate needs to do, to demonstrate their skill in a particular area.
This extra step in your recruitment process can give you great insight about how the candidate follows instructions, performs under pressure and gives you a glimpse of the quality of their work. It also gives the candidate a real taste of the role, to see if it is a good fit for them.
Types of capability assessments
This is where you can get creative. Planning a capability assessment doesn’t have to be an ordeal. You need to think about two key things:
- What are the critical skills needed for the role?
- What type of assessment can I arrange that will demonstrate these critical skills?
Here are some examples that we’ve used to assess candidates’ critical skills:
Critical Skills: Telephone manner and customer service.
Capability Assessment: Role play answering several customer enquiries and scenarios
Critical Skills: Typing speed, developing correspondence and use of Microsoft suite.
Capability Assessment: Type a response letter to a customer, mail merge their address details into the letter, in the required time-frame.
Role: Sales or Business Development
Critical Skills: Ability to generate and convert leads into customers and presentation and selling skills
Capability Assessment: Conduct a mock presentation selling the organisation's products and services.
Role: Marketing & Communications
Critical Skills: Advanced writing and verbal communication skills
Capability Assessment: Review content in a report and re-purpose into a Media Release or short article.
Where you invite the candidate to work directly with the business to test their skills in a normal business setting, this is considered a trial and not a capability assessment.
A capability assessment is done in a controlled environment. For example, for a retail sales role you could invite the candidate to visit your head office and conduct a series of customer service role-plays including demonstrating how to use the point of sale system. In comparison, asking the candidate to work in the retail outlet for the day or even a few hours, is a paid trial.
We love using capability assessments because they work! They benefit both the employer and the candidate in getting the right fit with the right skills. It also gives the candidate an opportunity to get a real taste of the role to decide whether it's right for them. Next time you’re recruiting consider using a capability-based exercise.
As participation in assessments are unpaid, it’s a nice touch to thank candidates or provide a token of appreciation such as a voucher, to acknowledge their time. And, don’t forget to update your candidates on the outcome of the assessment and next steps.
To make sure that you get your recruitment right from the start, we are sharing our tried and tested Recruitment Checklist you can download for free.