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Assessing for recruitment


Matt Stevens of TalentLens UK looks at how potential hires are assessed during the recruitment process.

Hiring candidates is one of the most important and complex parts of any manager's job.   

The most common methods used by employers involve: application form, CV / covering letter, a phone / face-to-face interview and possibly a skills test (typing, IT or language test). The type of assessment tends to vary according to the demands of the role.

As research conducted by Schmidt & Hunter illustrates, the most popular methods used to determine candidate suitability are not necessarily the most effective. 


The recruitment funnel

Indeed, in addition to the above methods, many organisations also use psychometric instruments and assessment tools to provide further evidence to help them make the most informed decision about the candidate's fit to the role.

The below funnel demonstrates a typical recruitment process and thus provides a workable structure when one is trying to recruit staff.


Sifting-out candidates

Most organisations perform some screening of initial applicants before progressing to the more costly stages of the hiring process. This screening stage is called sifting-out.

When applicant numbers for a role are high, sifting-out the candidates least likely to succeed in the role becomes even more important.

The sifting-out process should be fair, consistent, time-efficient and cost-effective. 


Sifting out tools include:

  • „CV/application form screening
  • „Experience and qualifications attained
  • Online psychometric assessments 
  • Phone / Skype interview 


Selecting in candidates

This is the stage in the recruitment process where a smaller number of suitable applicants have been highlighted and further tests at an assessment centre will determine the one who has the best fit to the role or organisation.

These can involve supervised ability tests (perhaps as a verification of previously taken unsupervised tests during the sifting out stage) and measurements of candidates' personality and values. 

The below section provides more information about the types of assessments used.


Ability / Aptitude Tests

Designed to measure an individual's fluid intelligence, which alongside crystallised intelligence is a factor of general intelligence. Fluid intelligence is the ability to reason, find meaning in confusion and to solve new problems. 

In the context of recruitment, candidates who perform well in aptitude tests are more likely to be able to learn and perform well in the role.

Because aptitude testing looks beyond skills that have already been acquired, the tests can identify future
potential in an applicant.


Types of ability tests 

  • „Verbal tests - verbal reasoning, critical thinking and analysis
  • Numerical tests - numerical reasoning, analysis and sequential tests
  • Inductive or abstract reasoning, diagrammatic and spatial reasoning, measuring logic​​„


Personality questionnaires

Completed by the applicant and offering a profile of the individual's personality broken down in to scales, they help recruiters to determine likelihood of fit to the organisation and role. 

There are three main types of personality questionnaires, measuring one or more of the following:

  • Personality Traits
  • Values - Personal and interpersonal
  • Personality Preferences or "Type"


Great Personality? 

How we are brought up and the experiences we are subjected to help to determine how we see the world.

An individual's answers in a personality questionnaire are not 'correct' or 'incorrect' in the true sense of the word.

However, they do provide a self rated prediction of behaviour / perception in certain occupational scenarios and thus, will indicate a preference, which regardless of an applicant’s previous ability test results may, or may not point to a fit with the organisation or role they are applying to.  

Once all available evidence is weighed up, a decision whether or not to proceed to the job offer stage is then reached. 

To learn more about this process, please feel free to visit our homepage or contact us on 0845 630 8888 / info@talentlens.co.uk


Matt Stevens


Graduates / Gen Y