Candidate selection is one of the hardest parts of the recruiting process. You have to try to predict how someone will act and perform, even though you might feel like you barely know them.

However, it’s a critical decision. A bad hire can sabotage your goals and slash profits, whereas a great hire can make your life easier and empower your team.

Before we dive into candidate selection, it is essential that we arm ourselves with the right tools.

Below are three tried and tested methods for selecting the right candidate and improving the hiring process.

Asking for Work Samples or Examples to Help with Candidate Selection

This is a very common step in the hiring process, and for good reason: it’s a great tool for candidate selection. The best-case scenario is asking a candidate for a sample of their existing work.

Whether it’s a project they completed recently or a portfolio of work throughout their career, it gives you a sense of what they’re capable of. In many fields, it also gives you a sense of their unique style.

It’s not uncommon to ask a candidate to create a new work sample either. While this does help get an idea of their capabilities, you should consider how it can affect the candidate experience. Understandably, many candidates view this as being asked to work “for free” without any guarantee they will receive a job offer.

If you do go this route, be respectful of the candidate’s time and under no circumstances should you use the work without paying the candidate. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t let candidate selection harm the candidate experience.

Performance tests are another good option, as it allows you to see how a candidate performs on the spot. Of course, asking for work samples or a performance test all depends on the nature of the job. For some roles, it may make more sense to look to other candidate selection tools.

Structured Interviews for Candidate Selection

Every company uses interviews to support candidate selection. However, the effectiveness of your interview weighs heavily on how you conduct it. In a nutshell, you need to be using structured interviews in your hiring process.

Study after study has demonstrated that unstructured interviews are highly ineffective, and that structured interviews are almost twice as useful at predicting performance.

In short, structured interviews are interviews that utilize a standard set of questions for every candidate. They also provide interviewers with a set of criteria to judge every answer, ideally sorting answers into correct answers and wrong answers.

Additionally, every question is focused on the requirements of the job itself. This goes a long way towards eliminating bias in your candidate selection process and lends the interview consistency to help fairly judge candidates.

Behavioral Assessments

You might think candidate selection stops at structured interviews, but that’s not the case. Structured interviews certainly offer an advantage over unstructured interviews, but they still leave us with an incomplete understanding of the candidate.

The fact of the matter is that we can’t rely on candidates to give us an accurate look at their own competencies and behaviors in the workplace.

The most obvious example is that candidates may bend the truth or even flat-out lie to present themselves as more appealing. Oftentimes, these are “little white lies.”

For example, if someone really needs a job, they might say they like working alone more than they really do in order to increase their chances of getting an offer. These exaggerations or distortions of the truth happen all the time with candidate selection in the hiring process.

But misleading answers can also stem from a candidate’s lack of self-awareness. You might ask someone in an interview if they enjoy variety in the workplace and the opportunity to work on lots of different projects. If they’ve never had a job with a lot of variety, they might tell you honestly that it sounds nice.

However, once they start the position and get their first taste of a role with various responsibilities, they might find that they prefer a more stable, consistent workflow.

Behavioral assessments cut through these ambiguities to deliver insights on an individual’s natural tendencies.

They give us data on an individual’s drives and needs in the workplace, allowing us to predict where they will thrive and where they may need extra help.

A scientifically validated behavioral assessment can be paired with a pattern for a specific position, offering objective data to guide candidate selection.

Companies Should Leverage Proven Tools for Candidate Selection

Our handling of candidate selection directly correlates to the success of the business. We need to have the right people at our organization to succeed, and every bad hire will only drag us down.

The hiring process will never be perfect, but with the right tools at our disposal, we can significantly improve the quality of our hires.

Our people determine whether we succeed or fail. Why take chances on a hiring process that’s not scientifically validated to succeed?

If you’re an HR or talent acquisition leader and you’d like to learn more about how you can make sure you’re selecting the right candidates, click here to schedule a consultation with our team.