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As a progressive HR practitioner, including pre-recruitment assessments in your hiring process brings you to the most daunting question – How does one design / structure the assessments?

At SmartList, we regularly help first-time users design assessments for their specific needs. This article has listed five steps we follow while designing these assessments.

Step 1: Think through the assessment

Before hitting the keyboard, spend some time thinking through the assessment requirement.

Be clear about the purpose of the assessment

It helps to be clear about the objective that leads you to use pre-recruitment assessments. If you aim to use them to filter candidates at an early stage in the funnel, go for shorter and simpler assessments. If you want the assessment results to aid candidate selection, deploy advanced assessments.

Know what Knowledge-Skills-Personality Traits you want to assess

Rather than focusing on all aspects, consider knowledge, skills and personality traits that are non-negotiable for the role. This will make pre-recruitment assessment simpler and more effective.

Step 2: Create Assessment Model

The assessment model refers to the number of questions you will ask your candidates to answer, the scores for each assessment area and how the scores will be aggregated. It is essential to decide this before writing your questions and building an assessment.

Use the knowledge, skills and personality traits identified in step 1 to design your assessment model.

Step 3: Map performance outcomes to Knowledge & Skills

For effective assessment, you need to evaluate candidates on the right set of performance outcomes at the job. Begin with listing performance outcomes for the role under consideration. This may be available as part of the existing job description. Next, the list required knowledge and skills for the person to perform satisfactorily on the expected outcome and group skills to arrive at assessment areas/dimensions.

Please see the example below where the performance outcomes have been mapped to assessment areas.

It is good to validate the outcome-skill map through discussion with functional managers.

If you intend to include some form of personality profiling questionnaire in the assessment, make sure to discuss the right personality attributes expected in the candidate.

Step 4: Gather assessment questions & build assessment

This is the most critical step in creating your assessment and probably the most time-consuming. SmartList platform provides a generic question library available to all users where one can use ready assessment blocks for aptitude & workplace skills.

For creating assessments related to industry, technology or business knowledge, consult SMEs from your organization. Once you have the necessary question bank, you can transfer the questions on the SmartList platform, define the assessment structure and assign scores.

Step 5: Test your assessment on an internal group

The last but equally important step is to share the assessment with current employees in similar roles. This helps in providing a quick measurement about the difficulty level of the questions, ease of taking the assessment and an estimate of mean scores you can expect from candidates. Seek feedback from your current employees about the assessment structure. Ask sample test-takers about ease of taking the assessment, length, clarity of instructions. You can then modify the assessment based on feedback from the sample group.

Do these steps well, and you have an assessment that will help you identify high performers for your open positions.

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