The Assessment Process: More than an Interview

How can you be sure that the best candidate will result from the interview process? Are you looking for a capable receptionist for a busy front desk? Set up a role play in which you ask current employees to play the role of visitors requesting information or calling on the telephone. Ask one of the “visitors” to stage an angry scene to observe how the candidates deal with the situation.

If you are looking for a lab assistant, set up typical lab assistant tasks, and see how well the candidates complete them. For faculty jobs, ask candidates to make a presentation, but don’t let it be a one-sided affair. Pretend to be students and interrupt the presentation with questions, or ask a “student” to make a very noisy late entrance to see how the candidates respond in classroom situations.

You can give candidates scenarios, such as a student who never turns in work on time and frequently misses class. Stage a role play in which the “student” meets with the candidate to request a higher grade in the class. The “student” can accuse the candidate of being discriminatory; present a request for accommodation, or some other type of excuse.

The members of the interview panel can rate the candidates on job-related traits, such as tone of voice, customer service, oral communication or listening skills. Ask the candidates questions afterwards to get insight into their thought processes: “Why did you choose to put the caller on hold and deal with the person at the desk? Why did you grant the student a higher grade when he didn’t complete the assignment?

 Interviewing is a subjective process. By observing and rating your candidates in on-the-job situations you can identify the best candidates for your university positions.

Dindy Robinson is Director of Compensation at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas.

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