Hire the Team you Need: Best Practices in Selection - Tilson


Hire the Team you Need: Best Practices in Selection

Hiring & Onboarding | September 2015

Identifying talent is the fundamental first steppingstone that, when done correctly, prepares an organization to succeed with a new hire.   Adhering to established best practices in selection and the hiring process can result in decreased recruiting costs and increased employee retention.

Once you’ve identified the role that needs to be filled and have gone through the recruiting process, you will be ready to begin the interviews.  Although interviewing is often viewed as a time consuming process, taking time on the front end can reduce the chances of making a costly hiring decision.

Most organizations rely on a series of interviews in order to determine if the candidate is a good fit for the position.  The series can include, but is not limited to, telephone pre-screenings, behavioral interviews, and fishbowl interviews.

Phone Interviews aid in narrowing down prospects by eliminating undesirable candidates prior to conducting face to face interviews and should only take 10-15 minutes. During the phone interview, look for personality, interest in the position/organization, positive attitude and good communication skills.

Behavioral Interviews identify how a candidate behaved or responded in previous situations with the idea that past behavior predicts future performance.  This provides an opportunity to identify candidate characteristics that will align with position and the organizational goals.

Fishbowl Interviews requires the candidate to work through an assignment or project presented by the interviewer to demonstrate analytical skills, competence, and adaptability.  Fishbowl interviews can also be applied to a group of candidates to determine their ability to work as a part of a group (SHRM, 2013).

Regardless of the interview method used, interviewers should be properly trained in interviewing techniques in order to avoid an adverse impact on any particular group (SHRM, 2013).

There are variety of skill and behavioral-based pre-employment tests and assessments on the market today to assist hiring managers in the selection process.  Tests and assessments are used to determine what a candidate already knows, their general ability or capacity to learn a skill, and to measure social interaction skills.  Among the most commonly used are cognitive ability tests, personality tests and aptitude tests.

Cognitive Ability Tests measure what a candidate currently knows.  This assessment might involve analyzing a set of data, drawing a conclusion based on the analysis, then interpreting the results.

Personality Tests are designed to gauge how well an individual will fit within a culture or with a specific group.  These tests reveal character traits as well as disposition and temperament.

Aptitude Tests are designed to measure mental development and intellectual abilities (SHRM, 2013).  These tests intend to measure if the candidate has logical, comprehension and analytical skills and is capable of adapting to new processes.

Assess with CAUTION – In a recent article published in the Society of Human Resource Management, David Barron, an attorney with Cozen O’Connor in Houston, noted that there is some skepticism around tests that measure “soft skills” and “general intelligence in math, reading or writing”; he notes that “tests work best when they are directly tied to the job—for example, asking an electrician to draw a circuit, or a secretary to take a typing test” (Smith, 2015).

Tilson believes that preparing for the candidate process is as crucial as the actual gathering, evaluation and ultimate selection of candidates.  We offer our clients solutions to ensure they have the staff needed to seize a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Selection. (2013). In The 2013 SHRM Learning System: Workforce Planning and Employment (pp. 220 – 221). Pittsburg, Pennsylvania: Society for Human Resource Management.

Smith, JD, A. (2015, August 25).   Target Will Pay $2.8M Over Employment Tests. Retrieved September 15, 2015, from

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