Using Simulation to Improve Recruiting and Selection

recruiting simulation resultsRecently I shared a video blog about using simulation to improve training results. I touched briefly on recruiting and selection in the video, and I want to explore that topic more fully here today. The basic argument is that we need to make our selection tools mimic the real job as much as possible. Sure, we can judge our candidates based on their interview prowess, knowledge of facts, or likeability. But if we want to judge our candidates appropriately, we need to give them an assessment that adequately measures their ability to do the job.

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“The best selection tools help us determine a candidate’s ability to do the actual job.” @beneubanks @brandonhallgrp

A few years ago there was buzz around companies asking interview questions such as “if you were an animal, what kind would you be?” and “how many manhole covers are there in San Diego?” The purpose was to get additional insight about the candidate, but the truth is those questions do not provide additional data to determine if the person can actually do the job.

We need to think about the specific position they are in and help to structure the hiring process to test the skills and experience the employee would have to utilize on a regular basis. Here are a few basic examples:

  • Interviewing someone who will be performing a manual task? Have them perform the task for five minutes so you can see them in action.
  • Talking with a software engineer? Have them analyze a short piece of code and tell you what it does.
  • Hiring an admin? Give them a scenario that they will see regularly and let them provide a solution.

Bottom line: the purpose of these actions is to help us make better selections when we’re recruiting.

I have had hiring managers in the past that pushed back on anything beyond a simple round of interviews. However, I have also had managers that were very interested in providing a simple, yet effective, tool for adequately measuring the key abilities and knowledge of the candidates we were considering.

Virtual Job Tryouts: A Good Example

A few months ago I talked with a provider called Shaker Consulting Group. The company provides companies with a “virtual job tryout” where candidates can experience elements of the job and companies can ascertain if a candidate is suited for the job requirements.

For instance, applicants for claims adjusters at an insurance company would have to listen to a sample phone call and make a few notes on an on-screen notepad as part of the job preview. That is powerful, because it lets the company see who performs best, it lets candidates determine if the job is something they would be interested in, and the solution is entirely virtual.

In closing, here are a few questions for you to ponder. I encourage you to take a few minutes and answer each and/or discuss them with your team.

  • How much does your selection process mirror the actual job?
  • What tools can you incorporate to improve the selection process? Better interview questions, assessments, inbox exercises, or something else?
  • Think about the elements in your selection process—is there anything that is measuring an area that really isn’t critical to job performance? If so, should you keep it?

Ben Eubanks, Associate HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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