As you approach the end of the recruitment process, tools like reference checking and candidate assessments can help you decide on the best candidate for a role. You could think of these tools as helping you compare apples with apples, so to speak. Often, it’s the finer differences that matter most at this stage. A consistent measure through assessments and references can help you find the best fit. However, it’s also important to remember that references and assessments are only part of your recruitment toolkit. Understanding when and how to use each will help you make the most of these tools. Let’s take a closer look at how to use them well.
Verifying information with references
Reference checking is a vital stage in the recruitment process. Up until this point, the information you have about candidates is generally just from them. So asking past managers and colleagues for their opinion can be a good way to verify what a candidate has told you.
Candidates are typically asked to provide 2 to 3 people who can speak to their past performance and experience. Managers and senior colleagues from the past 3 to 5 years are generally suitable. You want each person’s experience with the candidate to be recent enough that it’s easy for the person giving the reference to recall meaningful details. Additionally, you want to have current or recent information to help you compare that to the candidate’s claims in their application and interview.
Think carefully about what information you need. You can ask follow up questions if you need to, but ideally you want to get a clear written or verbal reference in the first instance. A good reference helps you to verify information and work out if the candidate is a good fit for what your organisation needs.
Using assessments effectively
Depending on the role, using candidate assessments may be a useful tool for differentiating between final round candidates. Keeping any assessments relevant to the position and organisation will help the information obtained through them to be the most useful. The other thing to remember is that assessments, in most cases, are not conclusive. They can’t tell you who to hire.
What assessments can do, however, is expand the information you have to help you decide. Say you have narrowed the field down to two candidates. The right assessment could give you the information to choose between them. On the other hand, you might be recruiting for a technical role. In that case, you want to test practical skills earlier in the recruitment process. Like many tools, assessments are versatile. Using them well requires an understanding of what they contribute to your recruitment process and how they support decision-making.
Seeing the bigger picture
Just like building a house, more than one tool is required to build your workforce. Therefore, take care not to rely too heavily on one tool at the expense of another. Used with other recruitment tools, references and assessments can help you see the bigger picture of a candidate’s skills and experience. Understanding context is important. Reference checking is essential for verifying a candidate’s claims and giving context to their past experience and performance. Likewise, using assessments appropriately can add to your information about candidates and help to distinguish between them in a readily comparable way. Learning how and when to use these tools can help improve your recruitment process and lead to better recruitment outcomes.
If you ever need a hand with improving your recruitment process, we can help. Our experienced team can tailor a recruitment strategy to suit your business needs, so why not get in touch? Contact the SULLIVAN Consulting team on 0407 610 989 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.