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Best practices for determining job suitability in the hiring process

Wed, Aug 1, 2018


Determining job suitability can be one of the most challenging parts of hiring. Finding applicants? We’ve got job boards, professional networks, and LinkedIn for that. Winnowing those resumes down? Many can be eliminated at a glance, and others can be pitched for not following instructions.

But once you get your pool down to those who appear to meet minimum qualifications, things become a lot trickier. How can you be sure which ones are really suitable for the position, and which ones aren’t?

Phone screens.

This is just a quick call to make sure that you’re in the same universe as far as needs go. If it turns out they’re looking for something part time, or are unwilling to relocate, or their salary range and yours are wildly out of alignment, this is the time to find out!

The Benefits of Scientific Hiring - free guide download

Save yourself and the applicant all the hassle of going through a drawn-out candidacy, only to discover that the job was never going to be a good fit and that you could have discovered this with a five minute conversation early on.

Skills testing.

Anyone can say they have excellent communication skills. But unless you’ve seen them write a memo or give a presentation, you’ll never know whether this is accurate. Of course, you don’t want to fall into the trap of asking for a huge amount of work; most applicants are already juggling jobs and personal responsibilities.

Additionally, if you’re asking for actual work that you plan to use and not just examine, you’ll want to pay the applicant as a freelancer for the services they’re providing. But a basic test that takes less than an hour that shows you beyond a doubt that the applicant has what it takes (or doesn’t, as the case may be), can be a huge weight off your mind.

Personality assessments.

A good personality assessment can be incredibly helpful when it comes to determining job suitability. Will it tell you whether someone understand the mechanics of social media marketing? No.

Will it tell you whether they can work in the kind of constantly-shifting world of memes, trends, and AB testing that social media implies? Quite possibly.


Interviews are your chance to fill in any gaps left by earlier methods. Is their background nontraditional? Are they missing some experience but very strong in other ways? Does their personality test indicate they might struggle with a particular aspect of the job? The interview stage gives you a chance to dig deep in a few select areas and clarify who they are, both as a worker and as a person.

Reference checks.

If interviews can tell you who someone is, reference checks will tell you who they’ve been. And given that job success in the future is linked to job success in the past, you definitely want to know about what they were like at their last job.

Take advantage of this time to ask about strengths, weaknesses, habits, and attitudes. When did they struggle? When did they thrive?

Do you really need to use all of these methods to determine job suitability?

Not necessarily. If you’re hiring people for positions with few requirements beyond showing up on time, then you don’t really need to worry so much about suitability because the cost of a bad hire is much lower. The more challenging a position is to fill, the more likely you are to need to use all the tools at your disposal in order to determine a good fit.

To find out more about best practices in finding the best-suited employees, download The Benefits of Scientific Hiring. Don’t let the most effective trends in hiring pass you by.

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