Designing an Assessment Style that Works

21 June 2022

Like many business activities, recruitment now often takes place remotely. Meaning employers are seeking to use new tools to manage the assessment process, making it efficient, fast and worthwhile for everyone involved. 

But what does a good assessment process look like? To find out, we spoke to Leanne Elliott, CBP, MBPsS, MSc Psychology. She’s the founder of OblongHQ – a consultancy dedicated to scaling service businesses through people. Her work takes her all around the world, assisting clients in every sector as they build resilient, high-performing and engaged teams, whether they’re remote or on-site. As a business owner herself, she understands the type of challenges employers are facing, and provides valuable advice in managing recruitment in this changing world of work. 

Once you’ve created a role, the next step is to build a process to judge all applications fairly, objectively, and most importantly, using assessment methods that are predictive of work performance.

“Candidates that perform well in evidence-led recruitment methods are statistically more likely to perform well on the job,” she says.  “Recruitment is a science, not a gimmick, so it’s important to have a proven selection process in place.” 

Rather than relying on only great interviews or perfect cover letters (both of which showcase the candidate in the best possible light), Leanne recommends that employers use a mix of assessment methods, which will give each candidate an overall score (and therefore rank). These could include, for example: 

This process could be as simple as providing specific instructions in the job advertisement. For example, if you request that CVs are only sent in PDF format, you may wish to exclude all who didn’t follow this straightforward direction.

You could also set a sample task related to the position, to be delivered within a defined time period. “It’s amazing how many people just don’t bother completing the task,” Leanne says. “This helps to narrow down the pool of applicants quickly.” 

  1. Assessment via interview is a key part of any recruitment process. Many employers nowadays prefer competency-based interviews where candidates are asked for specific examples, rather than hypotheticals, of how they overcame given challenges. “Past behaviour is an excellent predictor of future behaviour,” Leanne points out.

  2. She also recommends group interviews in some circumstances, as peer insights can be very valuable. In addition, when a candidate is interviewed by a number of colleagues they may work with in the future, it’s an opportunity to get an idea of how the group’s personalities could complement each other. 
  1. Over the last couple of years, employers (and HR departments) have increasingly looked to standardised testing to help them narrow down applicant numbers. The General Mental Ability test (often known as an ‘IQ test’) is useful to gauge reasoning and comprehension, Leanne says, which are among “the most reliable predictors of job performance”. She also recommends reputable psychometric tests, which are “great at uncovering inconsistent answers and determining overall attitudes”.

  2. Every employer and employment is different, so it’s natural to lean towards certain types of assessment. Leanne says the best approach is to choose four types – perhaps a simple email task, a tight deadline, a group interview, and a psychometric test – and lay them out as a grid on a spreadsheet.

  3. “You can then score each candidate on each of the assessment methods,” she says. “By using a simple formula, you can calculate their overall score.” The top three or five candidates will quickly emerge from this type of ranking, giving you a clearer picture of the people who may potentially become your teammates.

  4. AtAllianz Partners, we know that the world of work is changing on a global level. We’re here to support our business clients in managing this new landscape, with competitive packages, 24/7 employee support and insights from experts in the field. In the next post in this three-part series, we’ll hear Leanne’s top tips for getting creative with recruitment this year.