Interview assessment guide for hiring managers

Written by Bruno Boksic
Interview assessment guide for hiring managers
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Gone are the days when a hiring manager could simply take a look at a candidate’s resume and decide to invite them for a job interview. If a hiring manager did that today, they may have hundreds of people to interview per open role. 

The hiring process had to change and adapt over the years to keep up-to-date with the latest recruitment practices. Many companies now use interview assessments in their hiring process. 

But what exactly are interview assessments? How do they function and why ask your applicants to complete them?

All of these questions and many more will be answered in this article. Let’s start by defining what interview assessments actually are.

What are interview assessments?

Interview assessments are a method of testing applicants in the hiring process to see which should be invited to an interview. Since job interviews require a lot of preparation from the company and the candidate, an interview assessment will save a lot of time for both sides. 

Interview assessments come in different shapes and forms, but all of them have a single purpose: to remove unqualified applicants early in the hiring process and allow hiring managers to focus on the most suitable candidates. 

Although that’s the main purpose of interview assessments, there are other benefits to using them in your hiring process. 

Why use assessments before a job interview?

Using assessments before a job interview can have multiple benefits for your company and the candidates: 

  • It saves time for the hiring manager since they won’t have to invite all applicants to a job interview. Just imagine spending 45-90 minutes interviewing each applicant; the hiring manager would spend endless hours preparing and conducting candidate interviews.

  • Interview assessments remove “shotgun” applications. This is when candidates submit as many job applications as possible in the hope that something will stick. They don’t read the job descriptions carefully to see if they would even qualify for the role, creating more (unnecessary) work for hiring managers who have to review all these resumes. With interview assessments, you give all of your candidates a test and wait for the results to come before you even look at their resumes.

  • An interview assessment will enable you to get to know your candidates before you interview them. It helps you understand their strengths and weaknesses, and the results will feed into your preparation for their job interview. 

  • Interview assessments will help you create a bias-free hiring process. You won’t be assessing the candidates merely by looking at their resumes, but by testing them and looking at the result. It can be easy when screening resumes to miss out on the best candidates because they may not have the best resume-writing skills. So companies get a lot of false positives, as well as false negatives. You avoid this with pre-interview assessments because your candidates fill out tests that evaluate their job-related skills objectively.

  • Interview assessments provide a better candidate experience, as you give them the opportunity to show their skills and see if they’re qualified enough to make the cut. You can also provide informed feedback, helping candidates understand their strengths and weaknesses in more detail. 

Given that screening assessments are clearly beneficial for both companies and applicants, they should be used in every single hiring process.

Types of pre-interview assessments

Pre-interview assessments come in many shapes and forms. However, we can be divide them into seven distinct categories: 

types of pre-interview assessments

1.  Personality and culture add interview assessments 

Personality tests evaluate candidates’ personality and culture add to see if they will fit into and add anything new to the company. These tests don’t measure technical skills but are more toward personality, character, and values. 

A great test to evaluate the personality of the candidate is the 16 Types test, which provides insight into how an individual makes decisions and what kind of lifestyle they prefer. 

2. Cognitive ability pre-interview assessments 

Cognitive ability tests help hiring managers by assessing candidates’ reasoning, problem-solving, verbal, and numerical abilities. 

These tests offer hiring managers insights into how candidates would deal with challenges and problems they may face on a daily basis in the organization. 

An assessment like the Problem Solving test will help any hiring manager judge whether a candidate can deal with issues arising in the workplace, while the Numerical Reasoning test reviews how they apply basic math skills in real-life scenarios. 

3. Language interview assessments 

Language pre-employment tests will evaluate candidates in their speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills in a particular language, following the widely used CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) scale. 

The CEFR scale has six levels: 

  • A1: beginner level

  • A2: elementary level

  • B1: lower intermediate level

  • B2: upper intermediate level

  • C1: proficiency (advanced level)

  • C2: mastery over the language (native level)

For instance, candidates applying to work with a market that predominantly speaks Mandarin should be proficient in that language – a proficiency test will ensure you can identify applicants who meet that requirement. 

4. Situational judgment interview assessments 

Situational judgment tests provide hiring managers with the opportunity to see how candidates react in specific contexts and if they can handle difficult situations properly. 

Candidates are usually tested in situations involving high levels of stress and risk, business factors like leadership/management situations, and ethics in the workplace. 

You can give your candidates the Business Ethics & Compliance test to see how they react to specific ethical issues that may come up in the business. Or you can assess their abilities to guide a discussion in a particular direction by giving them a Negotiation test

5. Role-specific skills interview assessments 

Role-specific pre-employment tests evaluate the specific skills a candidate needs for a given role. Such skills are usually technical in nature and often require a high level of expertise or significant training and experience. 

For example, you can ask a candidate applying for an electrician vacancy the Fundamentals of Electricity test to see if they have the necessary skills. These kinds of tests can also evaluate theoretical knowledge, such as in the Bookkeeping test designed to evaluate accountants. 

6. Programming skills interview assessments 

Programming pre-interview assessments evaluate how well your candidates know programming languages and if they can operate them to the expected level. 

Programming skills are in high demand in today’s business environment, and it’s imperative that companies properly evaluate candidates for roles that require these abilities. Some of the most used programming tests are for specific programming languages, including HTML5 (used for developing web applications) and PHP (used for web development). 

7. Software skills interview assessments 

Software pre-interview assessments will evaluate candidates’ software skills. These tests are different than programming skills because they don’t test programming language skills, but productivity and proprietary platforms, such as knowledge of different CRM solutions, MS Office tools, or advertising platforms. 

For example, when hiring a marketer, you can give them a Facebook Advertising test and a Google Ads test to see if they know how to operate both advertising platforms. 

When hiring for an open role, it’s best to give your candidates a combination of different tests to get a more comprehensive evaluation of their skills. To create the perfect balance of tests, you should take a look at our article on The 7 test types you need for a strong pre-employment assessment

Interview assessment questions

When it comes to interview assessment questions, we can identify the following categories: 

Yes/no, true/false

These questions are straightforward for candidates. For a marketing position, for instance, they may see a statement like “We create a content calendar and stick to it,” and they will have to answer “yes” or “no.”

Multiple-choice questions

Multiple-choice questions ask candidates to select what they think are the correct answers. These questions can show you the depth of a candidate’s knowledge in a specific field, since they should be able to find the right answer(s) even if there are many options to choose from. A marketer may get a question asking “What is the right platform to track a Facebook advertising platform?”

Short answer

Short answer questions usually require candidates to write a short phrase. Here, a candidate needs to be clear and concise in order to answer a question correctly. For example, a marketer might get the question “What do you call a campaign that provides the clearest cost-to-revenue ratio on the Google platform?” 

Long answer

Long answers ask candidates to write something more extended in response to a question. These types of questions are reviewing for behaviors and situational judgment, where a candidate needs to explain how they addressed a situation or a challenge. A question like “Tell me how you solved the conflict between your team members in the workplace” requires a long answer. 

Match the list

Match the list questions usually have two sets of sentences or words, one on each side, and the candidate needs to match them (usually with a line). 

For example, a candidate might see a list on the left-hand side with mathematical questions, and they need to match them with the correct answers from a list on the right. 

Choose the best interview assessment platform for your business

It’s not easy doing interview assessments by yourself, so it’s worth looking into candidate assessment software for help. This is where TestGorilla can help, just like we’ve helped more than 5,000 companies implement pre-employment assessments. 

If you need to read more about candidate assessment software, take a look through our detailed guide on the 11 best candidate assessment software (& why you need one) to make an informed decision.

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