Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
How to Make a Job Audition Work for Your Open Roles

How to Make a Job Audition Work for Your Open Roles

Over the past few years, there have been countless hiring trends that have reshaped how organizations approach talent acquisition. While many of these changes have been impacted by evolving tech, one of the most popular is a technique with a surprisingly old-school feel: the job audition.

Unlike a skills assessment test, this pre-employment screen puts candidates in a real-world environment to see how they handle themselves. It allows recruiters and hiring managers to observe how candidates problem-solve and interact with others. Comparing their performances also provides a unique way to see how each individual stacks up.

Given this, it’s not surprising that the 2018 LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends report found that 54 percent of respondents view job auditions as one of the most useful new hiring innovations. However, as with any new hiring trend, it’s important to gather information and objectively decide if it’s right for your organization.

Holding a job audition requires planning and resources, and it’s not worthwhile to expend the time and energy for every type of position. Here are four types of roles that benefit from having candidates go through a job audition:

1. Highly collaborative roles

For some jobs, teamwork is the only way to make the dream work. Adding new employees to these teams can cause a huge disruption that hurts the performance of everyone else. Having candidates work with their potential co-workers before being hired will show you how they’d fit into the group dynamic.

But don’t make the mistake of having the candidate take on a big project as their job audition. If they make a big mistake, it can hurt relationships with clients or customers. A good option to assess how a candidate will gel with a team is to have them sit in on a brainstorming session. The worst thing that can come out of this type of audition is bad ideas.

Pay attention to not only what candidates say, but also how they say it. Are they respectful of others’ contributions? Do they showboat or interrupt? Are they just rewording what others have already said? It doesn’t matter if a candidate comes up with the best idea ever if they can’t communicate it in a respectful way to the rest of the team.

2. Virtual roles

Partial or completely remote work is becoming more and more popular. But that doesn’t mean everyone is ready to succeed in these jobs. Working out of the office means being disciplined and having effective time management skills.

What’s nice about holding job auditions when recruiting for a virtual team is they can be completed without impacting the rest of the organization. Candidates can simply be given an assignment and informed about how they’ll be judged. Then you wait to see what they submit.

Aside from assessing the quality of the work they turn in, also measure how long the project took and how much guidance they needed. It’s understandable if they had to reach out with one or two questions, but if you received an email every hour asking for clarification, the candidate won’t work out in a virtual work environment.

3. Leadership roles

Everyone has their own leadership style. It’s important to make sure a candidate’s methods will mesh with their potential team. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a group of employees who aren’t engaged or happy anymore.

When assessing a candidate’s leadership potential, ask them to plan a team-building activity as part of the hiring process. Then see how they — and their activity — resonates with the team. Pay attention to how they give instructions, answer questions, and respond to problems.

Once the exercise is complete, ask for feedback from everyone involved, including the candidate. Determine their impression of the team and whether it matches with what you know about the individuals. Also, find out how the employees felt about the candidate. If most don’t think the individual would work as a manager, it’s time to move on to the next option.

4. Roles with high turnover

If people keep leaving the same job over and over, something is broken in the hiring process for that position. Either hiring managers aren’t gathering the right information about candidates or the current screens don’t align with the job. Adding a job audition can help lower the chance of hiring another bad fit.

Make sure that the audition accurately reflects the role and its responsibilities. For example, if the position is in customer service, have candidates field calls from team members posing as customers. Put them through a variety of scenarios and see how they react.

Most importantly, check in with the candidates after they’ve completed the job audition. Find out how performing the tasks made them feel. Were they confident or frustrated? Can they see themselves repeating these same activities every day? How was the task different than they imagined? Having these answers will help both you and the candidate evaluate if the job is really a good fit for them.

Want more info on hiring trends? Check out our report on growth hiring trends. Download it here!

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.