How to Choose an Assessment Method
One of the challenges of transforming your workforce is that there seem to be as many assessment methods as there are candidates for positions that must be filled. As the talent assessment process unfolds, you certainly will gauge a candidate’s technical skills, but this is not the only indicator as to whether a candidate will be a good fit with your organization. Personality and leadership skills also factor into whether an individual will work well within your organization. Most methods used to assess technical skills rarely do as good of a job assessing those other qualities, however.
The accompanying infographic details how effective a number of commonly used assessment methods are in assessing specific qualities of a candidate. By consulting this chart, hiring professionals can choose the assessment methods that best suit their organization’s talent needs, and thus put together an assessment process that will point to the best candidate. Research published in the Harvard Business Review (Groysberg et al., 2009) has found that improving the quality of assessments is three times more effective than expanding the candidate pool, so for an optimal outcome, it is best for hiring professionals to fully understand their assessment options.
A standard face-to-face assessment interview, for instance, is an effective means of determining a candidate’s technical and functional skills, as well as that individual’s values, interpersonal skills and psychological needs. Many organizations utilize a competency-based 360-degree survey approach that collects information about the candidate from his or her colleagues, subordinates and supervisors, which is more effective than a standard interview at collecting information about the candidate’s leadership abilities. However, the 360-degree survey provides little insight into the candidate’s learning agility.
Giving a candidate a simulated task is an excellent way to judge his or her basic competency, as well as his or her ability to solve problems and learn by doing. A group-centric business simulation task is a more effective way of doing this while also gaining insight into the candidate’s leadership qualities than the solitary “in-basket” simulated task. Providing a candidate with actual job-related assignments is perhaps one of the most effective means of determining a candidate’s qualifications for the specific position, but this ignores the personality and psychological side of the candidate’s assessment.
Cognitive ability tests weigh a candidate’s ability to reason and solve problems in a general sense. Although they are very accurate for determining a person’s general intelligence, they do not provide any information about how a candidate will interact with people. Likewise, abstract reasoning tests can be valuable because they evaluate a candidate’s general intellectual potential without regard to education, background or experience … but they tell hiring professionals little about their specific job-related technical or functional skills.
For determining a candidate’s personality traits, the most effective method remains a personality assessment such as the Caliper Profile. These methods examine the positive and negative qualities in a candidate’s personality and provide a clear picture of what motivates him or her.
Keeping the accompanying infographic for future reference can be helpful in striking the right balance in your assessment process and asking the right questions of your candidates.
About the Author
Steve Strelsin is a partner at Axiom Consulting Partners. He has spent more than 35 years consulting to companies in a wide range of industries. His consulting work includes organization development, strategy, and talent development.