Top companies often use very creative methods to evaluate management candidates. These methods are often subtle and easy to miss. Top companies developed these clever evaluation processes because it costs a lot to make the wrong decision when hiring someone. Moreover, these methods are based on management research studies as well as the hiring manager’s experience dealing with a wide variety of candidates.
Naturally, there is no playbook by which these methods are devised and each company has developed its own unique formula. In addition, there are numerous methods used to decide on the best candidate. However, these methods are used because they are simple to implement yet often yield astonishing insight into the person under evaluation.
Five Popular Screening Methods
Five methods that are often used are pre-employment tests, insisting on honest answers, asking for verification of achievements, talking about high school jobs, and noticing how candidates dress and conduct themselves.
1. Issuing pre-Employment Tests
Considerable research has gone into devising pre-employment tests with the results that they are often surprisingly accurate in predicting how an applicant will behave on the job. These tests are also fairly useful in helping a company evaluate the future potential of an applicant.
In fact, top companies often will not even consider interviewing someone who did not do well in a pre-employment test. While some pre-employment tests do ask for subject knowledge, most mainly focus on developing a psychological profile. Questions asked in these tests are often repeated in different ways to gauge whether the answers are consistent.
2. Insisting on Honest Answers
Hiring managers often understand that jobs applicants are liable to exaggerate their talents, abilities and work ethic. It is often difficult to know when someone who is lying, exaggerating, or telling the truth. For this reason, a hiring manager may begin the interview by making a declaration that any answers they receive that later turn out to be false if the person is chosen for the job are grounds for instant termination. Research has shown that just making this statement has improved the quality of information a hiring manager receives during an interview.
3. Asking for Verification
If a management candidate begins to boast about their accomplishments, then one technique used to discern the truth is to ask for the names and telephone numbers of people who will verify the story. If the stories are indeed true, then the applicant is almost eager to share this information; or, if they don’t have it on hand, they are eager to report back with it. Conversely, those who have been exaggerating their past performance, tend to become suddenly subdued.
3. Talking About High School JobsAlthough it may seem off-topic to ask a person who has had numerous careers since high school about what jobs they liked when they were young, there is actually a high correlation between jobs people did in high school and their talents and preferences. For instance, one study showed that people who apply for management jobs often pursued customer-service jobs when they were in high school, rather than mechanical or physical labor jobs.
5. Evaluating Physical Appearance
There appears to be a high correlation between someone who is neat and wears the appropriate attire for an interview than someone who has more casual attire. Observing if someone is well groomed and dressed well may seem like a superficial way to assess their character. After all, most people are often told that they should dress up before an interview. However, someone who dresses up shows that they take their role in society seriously and do their best to make a good impression.
Dory Miller is a HR administrator and guest author at Human Resources MBA, a site with information and resources for potential students.