Does trial days make sense?

There are now more and more companies that offer a trial day as part of their hiring process or even require it as an integral part. While the implementation in small companies or start-ups seems relatively easy with the help of the widespread hands-on culture, procedural standards must be defined and set in larger companies. It is less about hard aspects such as data protection, but also about limitations in insight for sensitive topics and projects. In areas such as office management, finance, HR or sales, a good “candidate experience” seems less of a problem.

But how does that work in the technological field?

If, for example, an insight into new developments is or must be granted in order to be able to understand whether the potential new colleague could work at the required level. Confidentiality agreements certainly help, but the candidate can also transfer the relevant knowledge to other companies – proof of this or even an intention is difficult if not impossible to provide. Perhaps one way of solving this is to only allow a trial day to take place at the end of a process – if this makes sense at all; i.e. also after the successful examination of corresponding references. Or one relies exclusively on correspondingly standardized test procedures in combination with a complex group interview process, so that the quality of the candidates can be precisely evaluated.


The first discussions with companies on this topic paint a relatively clear picture: while most start-ups and young companies rely on the instrument of a trial work day, most larger companies tend to stick to a classic model in which references, test procedures and the personal interview is set.

Interestingly, almost all companies now rely equally on references, which should be part of the final process. Nevertheless, the reference discussions are usually very traditional and conducted defensively, which makes the real gain in knowledge seem somewhat questionable – not only, but especially when it comes to hiring technology experts.

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