You know what would be the best way to select candidates? Have them work for you for about a year, evaluate their performance, then turn back the clock and make the right hire. However, that only happens in HR science fiction.

In this post I read about how a business uses job tryouts. This, of course, is not uncommon. Many large firms use internships to help determine who they will hire. Tests, assessments, and interviews can give you a sign of whether a person can do well on a job, but seeing him or her do it would really be the best predictor. Of course, this isn’t always practical due to safety, training, and other factors.

One of the most interesting quotes in the article is, “[organizational abilities are] very hard to suss out in the interview process,” which is true. However, there are ways to measure it (and other complex skills and abilities) without putting the person on the job. And the kicker? These kinds of assessments are designed to have the look and feel of the job. They are called Assessment Centers.

From an ROI perspective, you need to balance accuracy with cost. Yes, a job tryout can be very accurate (assuming what you have the person do is typical of his/her duties) but expensive (probably around $10,000 for three months for the type of job described in the article). Using a valid assessment upfront to screen people out (and to reduce the 50% washout rate of those in the tryouts) would be closer to $500. Sure, it’s not as accurate as the job tryout, but it isn’t 95% worse.

What the article really points out is that very creative business owners refuse to apply that thinking to hiring. The only choices for evaluating skills and abilities are NOT interview or 90 day probationary period.

What are your creative ideas for evaluating candidates?

For more information on legal pre-employment testing, skill assessments, and Assessment Centers, please contact Warren at 310 670-4175 or