Over the last 12 months I’ve been involved in several recruitment exercises from sales, customer support, engineering, marketing, technical writer across the spectrum of junior to senior positions.

Big lesson I’m learning in today’s environment? Resumes are getting better, telephone interviewees are good at bonding, face to face interviewees are getting smarter and even test takers are usually good.

No the big lesson to really build a filter, to really get close to the person who would enjoyably do the job – the practical test. This test needs to mimic, as close as possible, the job the candidate is going to actually perform.

From recent examples:

The sales role – Give out enough technical background information and have the candidate role play at least six scenarios where you are the prospect and the candidate tries to engage you in an insightful conversation. Watch them try to sell.

The engineering role – Set up a real practical problem in the shop. It could be something that’s broken or something that’s incomplete that needs to be completed. The key is to have them actually use their hands.

The marketing professional – Release a detailed set of statistics about your sales performance and ask the candidate to explain in detail what they would do to rectify the situation.

You wouldn’t test Usain Bolt’s sprinting ability by asking him how fast he ran!