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Assessment Interview Techniques

by Tara Duggan ; Updated September 26, 2017
Assessments add quantitative data to the interviewing selection process.

Assessment interview techniques allow an organization to quantitatively determine if an applicant has the necessary skills and knowledge to complete the tasks required for a particular role. During periods of company downsizing and restructuring, employers need to be assured individuals with the most relevant skills are retained. This technique is also used in educational settings as well, for certification and promotion purposes. An assessment interview strategy can be used in some health care scenarios as well to determine risk.

Interview Selection Process

The interview selection process is typically a conversation between the potential employer and the applicant. Questions such as "why are you applying for this job at this time?" and "what does your current job involve?" or "how do you react when asked to do a something you are unfamiliar with doing?" may give a general sense of the person's capabilities, but do not predict necessarily if the applicant can perform the job for which they are applying. Asking more relevant questions to assess the applicant can screen out the under-qualified, enabling you to chose the best person for the job the first time. Doing background checks and checking references can also ensure the applicant with the perfect resume, apparent integrity and winning personality is actually right for the role.

Assessment Questions

During an actual interview, assessment questions can range from "what training courses have you attended over the last year?" and "what was your score on the certification exam?" to performance-based tasks such as "show me how you would build a pivot table using the data in this Excel spreadsheet" to use of complex, timed simulations.

For example, if the job required an employee to search for information, write an answer, and send the message to a recipient as quickly as possible, a simulated environment to test and capture the activities reliably predicts the applicant's ability to work in such an environment because it mimics the stress found on the real job.

Designing assessment tools requires rigor and attention to detail. Plan to define, design, develop, deliver and manage such an instrument over several months.

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Validity

Many employers find conducting personality tests along with job applications to be a reliable way of assessing interpersonal, problem-solving, leadership, decision-making and general attitude.

Typically, a score is obtained from the assessment and compared with comparable scores of those who are competent in their field. An assessment is considered valid if it reliably predicts those who will be successful and those who will not.

About the Author

Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.

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