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Test upfront, interview last

A sure-shot way to increase the efficiency of your hiring process



The competition for jobs is fierce, which means that HR managers are overwhelmed with applications. It is not uncommon to receive 100s of applications for the entry-level position advertised on that job portal.


However, more applicants may not always mean more success. On the contrary, it is a trap. With more resumes, you are drawn into reviewing those resumes, contacting the candidates to confirm their interest and then put them through your recruitment funnel.


HR Managers have traditionally relied on a process that uses resume screening as a first filter. While solutions are available that automate parsing resumes and shortlisting candidates, their use is not very widespread. The process then contacts shortlisted candidates through telephone, conducts an initial conversation, and set up a face-to-face interview.


Psychometric assessments or other forms of standardised tests have been used to evaluate whether a candidate is a good fit for the organisation or team. However, these assessments have been restricted to mid and senior management roles and are not very common for frontline positions.


A sure-shot way to handle an overload of resumes at the top of your recruitment funnel is to put an assessment at the top. The "Test first, then interview" approach suggests that recruiters and HR managers put a short, web-based assessment right at the beginning of the recruitment funnel. Such assessments help weed out the least-suitable candidates right at the beginning of the recruitment process. Recruiters are then left with a smaller but more suitable pool of candidates who could be put through a more elaborate recruitment process. The idea of the short, web-based tests is to identify the skills and abilities as quickly as possible. They make the process of recruitment easier and faster for recruiters.


This approach makes sense because:

  • Resumes no longer serve as screening tools. HR Managers regularly observe that resumes often contain exaggerations about candidates' work experiences, responsibilities and skills. On the other end, a resume for a candidate with minimal work experience does not have much information about skills on the table. This reduces the utility of resumes as a screening tool.

  • On the other hand, a well-designed assessment can equally measure the candidate's fit in the role. As all candidates take the same test, the score provides an objective way to evaluate candidates, help in dropping lower quartile candidates and focus on top quartile candidates for further assessments.

The organisations deploying this approach have seen excellent results. As quoted in an HBR (Harvard Business Review) article,

A large UK-based supermarket chain recently began using a customised online situational judgment test to screen out the bottom 25% of applicants before reviewing CVs. Because the candidates called in for interviews were better qualified, the average number seen for each successful hire fell from six to two—saving 73,000 hours of managerial time.

If your current recruitment process does not include structured tests or it puts them at the later part of the recruitment funnel, it's time for you to do a rethink. Putting a web-based assessment at the top of the recruitment funnel helps you get a quick evaluation of candidates' knowledge and skills as they enter your recruitment funnel. Your recruiters can focus on better suitable candidates and increase the chances of your organisation recruiting the right person for the job.


SmartList makes it easy for HR managers to create assessments and share them with candidates. HR Managers can shortlist candidates as per their scores and then focus on top candidates. This increases the number of candidates required to be considered for a successful hire. SmartList is a SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform priced for access and not on the number of assessments. This removes one of the significant hurdles faced by organisations in not putting all candidates through the assessments.


Go ahead and experience the difference the pre-recruitment assessments can make in your hiring process. Drop a line to use if you want to know more about how you can deploy pre-recruitment assessments right at the top of your recruitment funnel.

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1 Kommentar


swapnil patil
swapnil patil
12. Aug. 2021

Really it makes sense to automate the screening of candidates, which gives an unbiased treatment to all the candidates who has applied for the job with saving in time & money for the organization !

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