A new personnel-assessment tool is proving effective in helping the City of Hamilton’s Information Services Division meet its human-resources goals, especially for consistency in recruiting all levels of IT specialists.

Municipal IT managers are often required to assess candidates’ skills for specific specialist jobs. Knowledge tests have traditionally been an important component of the assessment process. These tests, however, are too often focused exclusively on the technical aspects or “science” of specialist work. In practice, most jobs require a mix of science and “art” skills, including the ability to use techniques relevant to an area of work as well as the softer skills involved in interacting with other people to achieve objectives.

As a result of a departmental restructuring at the City of Hamilton, IT job roles were redefined with the aid of a consultant providing industry best-practice advice. To fill these new roles, a major recruitment exercise was necessary, one that also had to be sensitive to the valuable skills and experience of existing staff.

In this context, Schroeder & Schroeder Inc. was commissioned in January 2011 to develop an appropriate assessment tool that included questions and answers to be used in pre-screening candidates for 17 positions in the newly created Business Applications and Service Desk sections. Primarily, the tool was for use in assessing the skill and knowledge level of existing internal staff. External candidates were considered for new roles only if existing staff did not possess the skills and knowledge required.