Interview assignments have been given a bad rap. Dishonest companies have abused them hurting companies that use them appropriately. We have all heard the horror stories of assignments given during the interview processes. And we have heard our fair share of doozies over the years. It is a topic that we have read about, seen debated all over social media, discussed with clients and discussed with candidates and job seekers. Although we have seen assignments go wrong, we have also seen them go well. We are strong believers in employers giving assignments during the interview process and here are our top three reasons why:

  1. Separate the talkers from the doers

This is an opportunity to separate the talkers from the doers. Some people are so good at talking in an interview, it is difficult to tell if they can do the work they say they can. An assignment evaluates their thought process, level of detail and they way they work. It also gives clear evidence of their hands on ability to do what you have discussed with them. The assignment is a way to provide evidence in a tricky process of evaluating people.

  1. You want someone who is committed

Asking a candidate to do an assignment allows you to determine their level of interest in the job. You want someone who is committed to the potential job opportunity in front of him or her. People have been known to get job offers and shop them around to other potential employers or even their current employer. Their willingness to complete the assignment and put the effort in to go above and beyond will tell you about their true level of interest.

  1. Enforce your beliefs

Interview processes are based upon a series of behavioral, skills-based, situational and other related questions. There is only so much you can evaluate through these series of questions over a phone or in-person. The addition of an assignment, allows you to confirm or reject the beliefs you have about a person’s abilities. This allows you to confirm how one candidate’s abilities matches another top candidate’s in the interview process allowing you to make the best hiring decision.

The job market is so competitive that, on average, a corporate job posting attracts 250 applicants (Glassdoor). When you have the opportunity to engage any number of strong potential candidates, you want to make sure you identify the right employee the first time around! Asking a candidate to demonstrate their expertise and/or aptitude through a well-thought out assignment is a reasonable request. It gives you the opportunity to thoroughly assess commitment, thought process, level of detail and the quality of work produced as compared to other top candidates.

See our do’s and don’ts of crafting the right assignment to evaluate your next hire.