Assessing Candidates Who Aren’t Good Test-Takers
By Rachel Andrea Ko Go
Writer, Profiles Asia Pacific
Many job seekers fear interviews because there are a spectrum of different “right” answers that change with each company. It is the oral exam of the real world, and in most cases, interviews are terrifying.
In high school, there were smart students who got top grades, and there were smart students who got bad grades because they were just not good test takers. A number of studies were done on how well cognitive ability was displayed using standardized tests, and the results showed that “IQ has a casual influence on future achievement… [but] future achievement [doesn’t] substantially influence future IQ scores.” This means that an interview, the final “test” before being hired, is not all that you should be looking at when you assess a candidate. There are perfectly good candidates, like students, who are just not good at interviews.
So what should a company do? Most companies don’t have the time or resources to extensively assess every candidate, even though the benefits of finding that perfect candidate who underperforms at interviews can be significant. Human resource departments understand that, but can do very little about it.
Profiles Asia Pacific assessments rely on both written and performance tests, such as having a candidate act out a scene or react to a situation. We take the time to find good candidates, despite any test-taking inabilities. Here are some tips we would like to share:
- Allow candidates to write a cover letter. This is their opportunity to tell you who they are, whereas their resume says what they can do.
- Observe what they do while they are waiting for their interview. Do they review their resume and application? Do they read a magazine? Do they play a game on their phone or compose emails on a tablet?
- Ask your candidate some simple, easy questions at the beginning of an interview to make them more comfortable.
- Try taking the candidate out of the office for the interview. Bring them to a coffee shop and see how they interact with their surroundings and the change of pace.
- Have an informal job interview by bringing all the candidates to lunch together and listening to their discussion. Tell them they should meet the team and see how well they get along.
There are a number of different, creative ways you can dig out talent without following the typical hiring process. Stay open to different ideas and you should have no problem finding a great candidate to join your team.
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