How to Screen Productive and Talented Employees

By Brandon Burke posted 04-18-2019 01:14


Today’s job market is flooded with prospective employees. As soon as an advertisement is placed, there is a deluge of applications. Being faced with such a vast pool of potential employees can be complicated.

How do you whittle the field down to a shortlist of the best and brightest who will be the most significant asset to the organization?

Even the most experienced HR professionals are faced with this situation and unsure of how to proceed. A gut feeling can wind up taking a heavy financial toll on the company if the wrong person is selected for the job. The financial investment in an employee becomes a reward when that employ contributes positively to the company.

In the hiring process, the company is looking for talented employees who are productive self-starters. How can this be deduced before the person has commenced their employment? It may be a time-consuming process, but worth the result.

Here are some ways to gain some insight into an applicant’s talent and productivity:

  1. Pre-employment testing

Talking a good game in an interview is easy. An applicant may have all the right answers for the questions, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best person for the job. People try to present an idealized version of themselves and may exaggerate their levels of knowledge and skill to impress the interviewer.

A simple pre-employment test can give the interviewer a more realistic insight into the candidate’s understanding of the job.

The analysis can examine a candidate’s aptitude for the job and some of their personality traits. Of course, these tests are not infallible, but they provide a bigger picture of who the applicant truly is.

  1. Drug screening

A mandatory drug and alcohol test gives yet another layer of insight into the character of a candidate. Drug tests reveal if the candidate is using or abusing substances. It is possible there is a dependency problem. Addiction has a profound effect on productivity.

drug test is an indicator that drugs are present, but it cannot determine if the person is an addict. It should put up a red flag. You don’t need to dismiss the candidate’s application out of hand but exercise caution.

Again, this is not an entirely accurate method of determining talent and productivity. A person who uses drugs may abstain before the interview and have clean test results.

  1. Structured interview questions

Instead of trotting out routine interview questions, think of some that will give you an insight into the applicant’s character. Base some of them on scenarios that could arise in the position the person is seeking.

Such questions provide the interviewee either the chance to demonstrate their talents or enough rope to hang themselves. Something as simple as asking the interviewee to tell you about their current job gives you some idea of what kind of person they are.

Ask questions that establish that the interviewee knows what the job entails and what they’re expected to do. Then ask them how they plan to accomplish this. Ask them to tell you about negative work experiences and how they handled them. Speak about productivity and get a feel for their approach to getting the job done.

Mention a possible project and ask how they would approach and complete it. Asking someone where they see themselves in five to ten years is a standard question.

Add a twist to it by asking where they see themselves in the future and how this job will get them there. Then tell them where you see the company in five to ten years and ask how they plan to contribute to that vision.