Candidate Assessment

Candidate Assessment

Before candidate assessment begins, you should have a thorough understanding of who you are looking for, what you have to offer, and how to communicate this clearly to the right individuals.  

Candidate assessment should really exist within many different stages of the talent acquisition process. For instance, when interviewing – which may or may not be viewed as an assessment in its own right – you are assessing the individual’s ability to do the job against your key criteria.

It’s useful to think of talent acquisition as a jigsaw puzzle, with each process as a unique piece. You are bringing them together to form a picture of the right candidate for the role.  Assessment is another piece in the jigsaw.

What does a strong interview process look like? 


By understanding exact role requirements, person specifications, and company values, your process can be managed more efficiently without any added, unnecessary steps.


Everyone involved in the interview process knows what you are trying to achieve, and by when. You all agree what the right candidate ‘looks like’ and are working towards the same goal. 


Through planning in advance the types of questions which are relevant to the role and opportunity, you ensure there is consistency across the interview process. Everyone should understand what you are trying to achieve through particular questioning.

Great candidate experience

This positions your company as a great place to work. If the experience is managed well, professional, clear and reflects who you are as a company, candidates who aren’t right for the role will still talk positively about the experience.

Candidate assessment tools

There are different types of candidate assessment tools and, again, which ones you choose will vary depending on what you are looking for in terms of personality, strengths, skills, aptitude, values for the person to be successful in both the role and your organisation.

Some of the benefits of testing include:  

  • Science and data have shown that the highest predictor of job success is to use some form of psychometric assessment tool
  • Using the right assessments for each role gives you objective scientific data and another piece of the jigsaw in addition to your candidates CV & interview
  • A bad hire can cost approx. £50k (depending on the job level, time in role) using assessment tools can substantially reduce the risk of a wrong hire
  • Reduce the risk of unconscious bias in the interview process leading to a bad hire

Types of assessment tools

  • Aptitude
  • Skills
  • Personality

This can be a bit of a mine field with many different providers and options to choose from, but going through your talent acquisition process thoroughly will enable you to be clear about what you are trying to achieve and by when. You can then match your interview questions and testing tools with your role requirements and business objectives.  

This will ensure you don’t waste time and money on tools that don’t add value to your talent acquisition process.

A success factor when conducting your candidate assessments is ensuring that all your data and candidate information is kept in one place and not on different recruiting managers systems.  Using a central ATS (applicant tracking system) means that there is only one version of the truth and that everyone in the process can share thoughts, insights and are using the same versions of documentation.  


How do I interview a candidate?

There are a number of options which include:

  • Ask to view an individual’s portfolio or examples of their work
  • Role play can be a good exercise depending on the role.
  • Presentations can be a good exercise to ask a candidate to do.  An example could be to provide them with a challenge in order to 1) check the quality of their response 2) understand more about how they approach the exercise
  • Personality & ability assessments – there are many of these on the market and they can provide another ‘piece of the jigsaw’ and also provide you with insights to where to focus some of your interview questions
  • Work based skills tests – often for more technical roles these are a good choice.  Again, as part of a balanced interview process.
  • Competency based interview – this needs to be structured well before the interview to make sure you are consistent with candidates that you interview, there is more than one person involved in the process (to avoid any unconscious bias) and to ensure that you cover the key competencies necessary to be successful in the role.  These questions give the candidate an opportunity to provide you with examples of situations when they have shown or used the necessary competence for this role in another situation.  This should give you more confidence in their ability to do the role.

Should I use psychometrics as part of my interview process?

Psychometrics can add more insight and are another piece in the jigsaw when understanding the candidates and whether they are right for the role.  However, they shouldn’t be used as a ‘yes/no’ 

What psychometric tools should I use?

We have assessed many tools over the last decade and have chosen to use both Hogan assessment and Thrive as our tools of choice.  They have different benefits and are more appropriate for different role types.

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