What assessment tools are recruitment consultancies using to choose the best candidates?
As recruitment agencies look to find the best candidates possible for vacancies, they are increasing the range of tools at their disposal. Candidates for a recruitment consultant position can now expect to face a wide array of tests to see if they make the grade.
We asked three recruitment experts to share their tips on which tools of the trade are most popular with recruitment consultants during the interview process.
Tara Lescott, managing director, Recruiter Republic:
“Due to the real shortage of professional, successful experienced recruiters, most firms realise that to attract the best candidates they have to make it as easy as possible for a candidate to show interest so most recruitment agencies (big or small) are proactively encouraging candidates to explore opportunities with their firm in quite a relaxed way at first stage – so in this scenario it would be inappropriate to impose heavy assessment tools.
“Experienced hires can expect to complete a psychometric profile and at offer stage will invariably need to present a business plan to seal the deal. Graduates, however, can experience the full selection of tools available. They are a brilliant way for graduates and trainees to gain better insight into the role as well as offering employers much greater ability to assess their applicants than a traditional CV. The most common tools being used currently are:
1. Psychometric profiling
2. Online situational testing
3. Video CVs
4. Assessment Centres
“Some of these tools offer a much better insight into a candidate’s ability to develop and enjoy a long-term career in recruitment compared to a traditional interview. Employers can save real time asking candidates to complete video interviews as a first phase of the assessment process. Structuring the right questions is key and it is a tool we use ourselves for our Graduate Academy. Candidates should do their research before trying to complete one of these interviews and we would advise them to research:
1. What the day to day role of a recruiter looks like.
2. Define their own qualities that would enhance their performance as a recruiter.
3. Research the company they are completing the interview for so that they can describe them.
“Candidates should look smart, confident and have a clear communication style. Companies really want to see that they understand recruitment and have a good understanding of the role as well as why they think they would be successful. They are also assessing delivery style – so practice! Most of these online interviews are timed and candidates cannot stop mid-interview!
“Situational testing is also an increasingly popular tool to gauge candidate’s emotional intelligence and ability to find solutions under pressure. Some companies use this in quite a subtle way and will pose ‘scenarios’ during interview, which will be recruitment-specific. Some companies will give you a situational test to complete online which could be unrelated to recruitment but is focused on problem solving and critical thinking. There isn't really much preparation you can do for this other than to relax and complete in a quiet room without distraction.
“Assessment centres have been around for some time and tend to be a half or full day of assessments and usually as part of a group of applicants. Typical modules will include a mixture of individual, pair and group tasks spanning areas such as CV assessment, writing a job advert, conducting a mock client sales call and a price negotiation role play. They are a brilliant way for newcomers to the industry to find out what being a recruiter would really feel like and also act as brilliant interview practice.
“Once again, candidates should research as much as possible before hand on both the company and traditional recruitment training guides. Remember: companies are looking for team work as well as recruitment capabilities – it isn’t The Apprentice so don’t work against your peers!”
Clive Carlin, director, Carlin Hall:
“Recruitment companies have become more thorough in their interview processes in recent years, with staff retention and hiring the right candidates crucial to the long-term success of their business in a competitive market. This, coupled with the initial investment costs of a new hire, has led to more robust processes being put in place.
“Typically a recruitment consultant will have to go through a three-stage interview process which usually involves meeting directors, line managers and team members either in a formal setting or team drinks (a test in itself).
“As well as standard interview questions, many businesses employ ‘competency based’ interview techniques and insist upon a 12-month business plan presentation as standard.
“We are seeing more clients employ psychometric testing as part of their process – these can be used to probe certain areas at interview or to reinforce or influence the decision making of hiring managers.”
Jo Scott, manager, Sharna Associates:
“Increasingly, recruitment consultancies are wanting more than just an interview from candidates. Usage of psychometric testing is on the up as is verbal reasoning and emotional intelligence testing. Presentations are also high on the agenda. Even junior and trainee consultants are being asked to present at the second interview stage in some cases. Similarly, business plans are commonplace.
“Thankfully, interviewers with the ‘sell me a paperclip while I bounce a basketball against the wall’ approach are now less prevalent! There is a fine balance to be struck, however. In this year’s War on Talent, good candidates are in demand and, whilst they appreciate a business showing an intelligent and considered approach to hiring, the process needs to be swift and timely to secure the best.”