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February 28, 2018 9:58 AM

How to Set up the Perfect Job Audition

As sure as the sun rises in the morning, people will bend the truth in job interviews. And even those that don’t have probably exaggerated a little on their resumes. In fact, you might even say that it’s expected and there’s nothing we can do to avoid it. So aside from polygraph tests, how do we sort the bluffers from the real deal? The job audition, that’s how.

Those little white lies

As we mentioned in our post on upping your interview game, 81% of candidates lie in an interview. And while it may not seem such a big deal to exaggerate their responsibilities in a previous role, those little white lies have a detrimental effect on the entire hiring process. Not only are these career embellishments bad for the hiring manager (who may have hired an incapable employee) but they’re also terrible for the candidate who could end up wasting a great deal of their own time. And besides, taking a job that you are underqualified for is not what you would call a good career move. So in order to cut down on bad hires and time wasted, recruiters (the savvy ones at least) have introduced the job audition into their hiring process. And to say it pays dividends is something of an understatement.

What is a job audition?

Simply put, a job audition is a scenario that allows the hiring manager to see how a potential candidate conducts themselves ‘on the job.’ The audition can take many forms depending on the role you are trying to fill. For example, a candidate interviewing for a teaching position might prepare a lesson and ‘teach’ a class with the interviewers as mock students. A software developer, on the other hand, may be asked to perform a difficult coding task while a marketer might offer their suggestions on improving product or brand recognition.
Whatever form it takes, there’s no doubt that the audition is a powerful tool in your interviewing arsenal.

What are the benefits?

The ultimate goal with each job audition is to see if the candidate can handle the job. However, do it right, and the audition can also tell you a lot more about your potential new hire. Aside from their ability to complete a given task, other things to look out for could include:
  • How they work within a team
  • How they handle responsibility
  • How they deal with unexpected situations
  • Their time management skills
  • Their social skills
We talked about assessing these soft skills before, and we’ll just say once again how important it is to do so. You can have the most qualified and skillful candidate in the world, but if they can’t fit in with your work culture or communicate with their colleagues, it just won’t work out.

How to set up a job audition

First and foremost, you will need to decide at which point of the interviewing process would you like to test your candidates’ skills. Some companies prefer to leave the traditional interview for those that pass the audition while others take the opposite approach.

Audition first, Interview second

This approach is often favored by larger companies that have the time and resources to conduct mass auditions. It saves time and is ideal if the company has a number of similar roles to fill.

Interview first, Audition second

Smaller companies may prefer this option as it allows the recruiter/hiring manager to whittle down the competition to a select few candidates who will then take auditions. This minimizes disruption in the office and allows current employees to get to know the final candidates personally. It also allows the hiring manager to pay closer attention to each candidate’s performance during the audition. Once you have decided on your approach, make sure to keep these tips in mind.


Keep it simple

Don’t overcomplicate the process with unnecessary tasks that don’t test the candidate’s hard or soft skills. Keep the audition simple and working towards a single goal. However, you will want to ensure that the project/task tests as many of the candidate’s
soft and hard skills as possible.

Set realistic goals

 Don’t expect too much from your candidates. After all, this is still an interview, and they will no doubt feel a little nervous. Make sure that the goals you set are achievable; there’s no need to ‘push them harder to see how much they can handle.’ If you don’t set unreasonable targets for your current staff, then don’t do it for your candidates


Make them interact

 Regardless of the role that they are interviewing for, make sure that your candidates will have the opportunity to interact with current team members. Who better to let you know if a candidate will fit in with the work culture than their potential colleagues?

Give them more than a single task

 Yes, we did say to keep it simple, but it’s advisable to have at least two projects/tasks that they can tackle during the audition. By doing this, you can have your candidates work with different team members on each task giving you further insight into their abilities.


Offer remote tasks if needed

 Not every candidate is available to come into the office for a full day of auditions. Consider allowing them to complete their tasks remotely, but make sure that they spend at least a couple of hours either in the office or interacting with your current team through work chats or video conferencing.


Consider paying candidates for their time

 Many job auditions, especially mass auditions are unpaid; however, if you are asking a candidate to work on an ongoing project for a genuine client, then it only seems fair that you should pay them for their time. This is particularly true if the audition is in-house and expected to last more than a day.

Listen to your employees

 It’s essential that you collect data from team members that had any interactions with your candidates. Create a simple, multiple choice questionnaire with a section for comments from your current staff. Team members working with your candidates will undoubtedly pick up on things that even the most skilled interviewer may have missed so listen carefully to their opinions. In fact, this is, without doubt, the most important step in the entire process.

While it may seem like a lot of work at the outset, the job audition is both an incredible time saver and the best possible way to ensure that you are hiring the right person for the job.

Have you considered incorporating the job audition into your current hiring process? Or is it a task that you simply can’t find the time for? If that’s the case, then we may have a solution for you.

Here at vsource, we take pride in our candidate sourcing skills. In fact, we’d go so far as to say we’re very very good at it. And what better way to free up time than by sourcing only the best talent for your pipeline. So if a candidate pipeline overflowing with qualified candidates sounds like the kind of thing that could help your recruitment efforts (and free up time for job auditions) then get in touch today or ask us about a free demo.

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