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What’s one of the most popular ways to assess a candidate? See if they pass the beer test! “What’s the beer test,” you ask? Ask yourself whether you’d enjoy having a beer with the candidate. If the answer is yes, then they are hired! 

It’s a bit of a joke, but believe it or not, this is how many hiring decisions are made. We often care more about connecting with someone socially and personally, which can tend to override our assessment of someone’s real qualifications. We want to hire people who are likeable and collaborative, and often, we want someone who looks like us and sounds like us. Much of this is subconscious and much of it is based on our “gut feel.” And it shouldn’t surprise us, but this doesn’t work very often.  

Why isn’t a “gut hire” effective? 

A “gut hire” doesn’t objectively assess the candidate’s qualifications, abilities, characteristics, or true interests. It also promotes hiring like-minded people and limits initiatives to diversify your talent. Diversifying your workforce leads to many benefits, including higher employee engagement, retention, and better decision making. In addition, there is evidence of increased creativity, problem solving, productivity, and profitability. 

Job fit is key to making the right hire. 

What is job fit? It’s the intersection between the requirements of the job and the employee’s experience, ability, and interests. Assessments can help us objectively determine the likelihood of job fit, which leads to successful outcomes. According to Phil Devendorf, President of PD ServicesAdding objective, reliable candidate information from assessments helps you make better hiring decisions, lowers turnover, and increases new hire productivity.” 

Many of our clients have found assessments useful, both during the selection process and after they’ve onboarded the employee. One such client had six amazing candidates for a role in their C-Suite. We used assessments for those candidates and immediately felt more confident about the job fit prospects for several. During the interview process, we were able to craft questions to dig deeper into specific characteristics to gain insight into their ability to analyze information, make decisions, act with a sense of urgency, and piece together various pieces of information strategically. In addition, the assessments were helpful in sharing the candidates’ qualifications with stakeholders like members of the board and even some auditors.  

Having a trained professional take you through the process is important. They can help you choose the right assessment, communicate the process effectively to the candidate, interpret the results, and explain some of the nuances. This will help create a positive experience for the candidate. If you put a candidate through hours of assessments where they’re being asked PhD level questions, you will start to lose them. The assessment should have some cognitive measurement that shows conceptual thinking and a strong correlation with performance on the job.  

Assessments are a part of the selection process and should be used in conjunction with phone or video interviews, in-person interviews, and sometimes presentations. Take the time to observe how the candidate interacts with others, communicates, and handles difficult questions and you will glean a wealth of information. Assess the experience, education, and true job-related skills of the candidate. Consider incorporating assessments into the selection process so you can feel free to hire with your heart and the support of objective data.  

So, for your next job opening, create a positive and amazing candidate experience, make them a great offer, and after they accept, take them out for beer. Cheers! 

Need a hand with your next recruiting project? Reach out to Purple Ink! 

Peggy Hogan
Peggy Hogan
Peggy is Purple Ink’s Vice President of Talent Services. She is passionate about helping organizations be more effective at sourcing and retaining top talent and loves the powerful effect connecting people to the right opportunity can have on their lives.

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