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Comparing Candidates to the Job Description, Not to Each Other

Like everyone hiring an accountant or bookkeeper, you’re trying to find the best candidate for the role. You’ve asked your candidates to sit an accounting skills test like the CPA Public Practice, perhaps an accounting personality test like the APPQ too, and now you have the results laid out in front of you. 

Your candidate’s results are very different from each other, but there is no clear winner. So how do you determine the best candidate for the role? 

It is tempting to simply go to the overall scores and see who scored higher, or run through results with a fine tooth comb to see who had the deeper understanding across the topics tested. 

But here is why you shouldn’t compare candidates to each other– and why you should always compare them to the job description instead. 


Enhanced Candidate Evaluation Accuracy  

Comparing candidates' skills assessment results directly to the job description allows employers to identify candidates whose skill sets closely match the job's demands, and who are better aligned with the specific requirements of the role. Instead of solely relying on relative comparisons between candidates, assessing candidates against the job description ensures a more accurate evaluation of their suitability for the position based on objective criteria.  


Optimized Utilization of Skills Assessment Tools 

Data-based decision-making calls for the utilization of skills tests as a tool for evaluating candidates' proficiency in key areas outlined specifically in the job description. By focusing on assessing candidates' competencies against the predetermined criteria specified in the job description, employers can maximize the effectiveness of these assessment tools. This approach ensures that skills tests serve their intended purpose of providing insights into candidates' abilities relevant to the job at hand, rather than solely serving as a basis for comparative analysis among candidates. 

As advocates of comparing candidates to the job description, we also base our test recommendations on the job description as well (rather than the candidate being tested). Check out our Which Test Table for more detail. 


Objective Performance Benchmarking 

Comparing skills assessment results with the job description enables employers to establish objective performance benchmarks for evaluating candidates. Rather than relying on subjective judgments based on how candidates perform relative to each other, employers can measure candidates' performance against predetermined standards derived from the job requirements. This approach fosters a fair and consistent evaluation process, ensuring that candidates are assessed based on their proficiency in the specific skills and competencies essential for success in the role. 


Streamlined Hiring Process 

Emphasizing comparison to the job description also streamlines the hiring process for employers by providing a clear framework for evaluating candidates' suitability for the role. Employers can expedite the decision-making process and identify top candidates more efficiently, minimizing the risk of hiring mismatches and ensuring that candidates selected for further consideration possess the necessary skills and traits to excel in the role. 


With this in mind, here are some other things to consider: 


Integration with Overall Hiring Strategy 

The integration of skills and personality tests into the overall hiring strategy of the organization should complement other aspects of the hiring process, such as interviews, reference checks, and background screenings, to provide a comprehensive evaluation of candidates' suitability for the role. Employers should use skills assessment results as one of several factors in making informed hiring decisions, rather than relying solely on test scores. 


Candidate Experience and Perception 

The candidate experience and perception of the skills assessment process should be considered. Employers should ensure that the assessment process is transparent, fair, and respectful of candidates' time and efforts. Providing clear instructions, adequate preparation, and timely feedback can enhance candidates' experience and contribute to a positive perception of the organization. A positive candidate experience can also enhance the employer brand and attract top talent to future job openings. 


As we’ve learned, when selecting skills and personality tests for your candidates, always choose the test(s) that match the job description rather than the candidate. This will allow you to compare the results directly to the job description. 

Utilizing this method means that when the candidate pool is scarce, and you’re talent options are thin, you have a framework to assess candidate suitability without needing other candidates or comparative results to fall back on. 


Want to see if Accountests will work for your firm? Click on the button for a FREE trial test - use it on a candidate or get one of your staff to give it a go and see what they think.  
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Donna Roughan  |  With 22 years of expertise in accounting and business advisory, Donna has held pivotal roles, notably as a Director at PwC, and has executive experience in both finance and operations.

Accountests  |  Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical skills, ability and personality tests designed by and for accountants and bookkeepers. 

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