How to Test for Attention to Detail

With private sector hiring in many fields picking up again, it’s important to look at your overall hiring process, break it down and re-construct it in ways that work to identify and select people who meet your organization’s needs now and in the future.

In some jobs like those in IT, attention to detail is an important quality for the success of the new hire. How can you determine whether that is a quality a person has?

Here are a few ideas:

1. How’s their spelling and grammar?

For years, I avoided using this when I would evaluate resumes of people born outside the US. With time, I realized two things.

Don’t give a pass to people who are not native born. Many have worked hard and with determination to adapt to a new language. Why shouldn’t that be recognized? After, people who are native often become lazy and incompetent at their use of grammar. Let’s acknowledge the effort that goes into excellence.

The second thing I realized is that some people are just too lazy to use the spelling and grammar checker in their word processing software. Why shouldn’t that be penalized?

2. I would do this next question of non-technical people like those in sales or finance.

What color hair does the receptionist have?

What is the paint color in the lobby?

Asking questions like these work because they are not anticipated by the candidate

3. For a web developer or those who are in a visual field, assemble a web page or some other visual device that is relevant with loads of errors.

Tell the candidate, “This page has more than 30 errors on it. Take 30 minutes and identify 30 of them.”

4. Ask them to tell you an example of how their attention to detail helped their firm make more money or save it money.

Some people are attentive to detail for pointless reasons like catching someone else doing something wrong for their own gain.

Find out some of the useful ways they have used this skill for the betterment of their firm.

5. Ask them what it is about their work they enjoy most

What I listen for is whether they tell me something “big picture” or something that is “in the weeds” they needed to puzzle out.

All of these ideas work. What do you do?

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