The importance of a test

I outsource a lot of work to a lot of different people – some here locally, some in other regions of the US and some in different countries.  One thing I have found indispensable in working with new hires is a simple test.

Literally, the very first communication with a new collaborator, intern, outsourcee  etc. is a test.  It is not a hard test. In fact, it isn’t even clearly shown to be a test. But a test, it is.

I always put an instruction in the middle of the posting like – contact me on Google Hangouts – text me at ______ – send an email with the subject “______.” It seems simple, but it catches a lot of people.

I will have the instruction and still get emails sending their resume – or worse, sending me a link to go look at their online CV to see what they have done.  They are actually asking me to do some work for them! I’m the one hiring them to make my life easier.

The result is that about 15% of the respondents do the right thing, follow my instructions and show me that they a) can read b) can follow instruction c) communicate well and d) will actually make my life easier. The other 85%? I ignore them.

This simple step has greatly reduced the amount of wasted time sifting through candidates that I would eventually discover were not a good fit. It lets me know that the people I am talking to are going to be easier to work with and thus, I know we can skip past a lot of slow onboarding time and get right into being productive.

What are your thoughts?

by Chris Doelle