Feb 12th 2020

5 ways to spot a detail-oriented candidate

How many job descriptions have you written that include ‘attention to detail’ as a desired skill? All of them? Same here.

But what does it actually mean? And more importantly, how do we know if the candidate has it? 

Why is ‘attention to detail’ important?

Employees with high attention are usually better at their job. Simple as that. They will make sure to check spelling mistakes, they will remember key details about a potential customer, and they want to take pride in the work they deliver. 

In an online world where nothing is forgotten, it’s arguably more important than ever to have high attention to detail. Employees who fail to check their work not only jeopardise their own careers, they can end up seriously damaging a brand.

Do you remember Dove’s whitewashing ad where a black woman turned white after using the brand’s lotion?

Or reality star Scott Disick’s embarrassing Instagram ad where he accidentally included Bootea’s instructions on what to post?

Or what about the 1,500 UK businesses that risked facing legal action because they ‘forgot’ to meet the deadline for gender pay gap reporting? 

“Attention to detail is obviously important for various jobs, but there are many challenges with the way it is traditionally measured and thought about.” says Frida Polli, CEO and co-founder of pymetrics, the talent matching platform that objectively and accurately measures people’s attention. 

Luckily, most employee mistakes aren’t business critical. But, just to be on the safe side, we’ve put together a list for you to help determine whether the candidate meets your requirements. 

5 ways to assess attention to detail

  1. Check for typos: Is their CV or cover letter full of typos? If so, they might be great in a front of house position, but they are probably not the right candidate to email customers with medicine doses for their pet. Someone with great attention to detail will always triple-check their CV.
  2. Dig into their side hustle: Young candidates often have some sort of awesome side hustle, skill or past experience that will be relevant to the soft skills you’re looking for.
    Ask about that time they worked in a bar, made a podcast or brewed their own beer – you’re likely to discover a range of transferable skills.
  3. Do some tests: Psychometric tests such as pymetrics are a great way to determine someone’s attention to detail. Alternatively, you can create your own test based on what a current high performer in your team would do and see how the potential candidate compares.
  4. Ask them: 92% of candidates put ‘great attention to detail’ on their CV. Ok, we made that stat up. But it’s probably close. Why not ask them to specify a time their attention to detail mattered, which tools they use to meet deadlines, or how they avoid making errors?
  5. Look at non-verbal signs: Although not directly related to work performance, you can argue that a detail-oriented candidate wouldn’t show up to an interview with an untied shoelace or a creased shirt. Did they seem prepared? Did they take notes? Did they know your name? Details matter.

Meet the Masters of More 

Side hustles. The gig economy. Job hopping. Careers are changing, and the way people think about work is too. 

We spend 90,000 hours of life at work. They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. You do the math. If you harness your time you can learn, hone and master nine skills throughout your career. Who do you want to be?

Throughout nine weeks we dive into nine soft skills in high demand by employers. We introduce candidates who are nailing this new world of work. Meet the Masters of More.