Written Assessments in the Hiring Process

Earlier today Derek Grant gave a great talk on building a sales department at The Ultimate Sales Conference. One of his recommendations was to use a written assessment during the hiring process, which has several benefits:

  • Reveals level of interest by the potential recruit
  • Demonstrates ability to research information and articulate a response
  • Shows candidate’s responsiveness and turnaround time for an assignment
  • Creates more valuable conversations throughout the interview process due to more background research

We first implemented the written assessment at Pardot after Adam and I had a debate about hiring a candidate with no experience. I thought the candidate really fit our corporate culture and had the right acumen to succeed on our services team. After going back and forth a few times, we decided to give a technical assessment and written assessment. He passed with flying colors.

Going forward, we’d ask each candidate to write short answers to the following types of questions:

  • What do we do?
  • How do we differ from Google Analytics?
  • What are three trends in our industry?
  • Who are our three main competitors and why?
  • How do position ourselves in the market?

Candidates were expected to research the questions and provide short, thoughtful answers. Everything about it worked great. Once that first one worked out well, written assessments became a best practice for the hiring process.

What else? What are your thoughts on written assessments in the hiring process?

4 thoughts on “Written Assessments in the Hiring Process

  1. Well not everyone is good in english so more likely they will fail a written assessment. Most of the time the people that don’t speak fluent english are the ones that is great hire.

  2. This also helps potential employees investigate the business for perspectives other than “they will give me a job”. It helps the candidate see how the company makes money, helps people, is different from other companies. Or, the candidate might find some red flags, such as high turnover of customers / employees, questionable value, etc.

  3. It shows the candidates ability to think beyond the typical interview questions. They are given the opportunity to show initiative and thought leadership. Doing diligence prior to the interview process is important and helps separate those who are looking for a “job” and those interested in a “career”. We are hiring 20 inside sales people this year, I will add this in and let you know how the process starts to flush out. The concept is great and we look forward to implementing.

    Cheers!
    Kolby @kkolibas

  4. sometimes these processes might be to much depending on the type of position the company is hiring for, expanding to Europe as well as other regions who might be mostly non English speaking countries for examples might show he limitations of the written assignment. personally I believe that the art of being a good strong customer relation employee is being diluted in the technical environment this type of companies do business in. this leads firm to neglect aspects of the skills as they might not feel the person is a good fit and will actually make progress and adapt

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