Is there still value in Assessments?

“Your deadline is creeping up, you urgently need to finalise this placement, both candidates performed well in the interview, the decision is split and you need the assessment results to help you select the perfect candidate. Finally, you receive the reports but after reading through it you even more confused. You’re required to give your thoughts on the best candidate for the job but you’re not too sure what to say. You start wondering are assessments really worth it?”

Can you relate?

Psychometric assessments are becoming an even more vital part of the recruitment process, mainly because it is a scientific and objective way to compare two candidates in order to measure best candidate-role fit. Why then are some organisations not reaping the desired benefits of assessments? The answer lies in the assessment methodology. In order for assessments to be useful, a specialised and integrated approach is required. Often a quick fix, generic approach to assessments may result in:

  • A mismatch between the competencies required for the job and the competencies reported on;
  • A cut and paste report that just repeats the technical jargon from the generically produced psychometric results;
  • What seems to be contradictions without any explanation;
  • No integration of information speaking to the specific competencies;
  • Competency ratings without an understanding of what level is required for the role;
  • A lack of insight as to why candidates achieve certain ratings;
  • No justifiable recommendation for candidates.

In such instances these reports require further clarification. Lacking this will force the reader to make inferences which cancels the scientific and objective benefits of assessments. Decisions made based on these “inferences” may result in selecting the wrong candidate for the job resulting in a demotivated employee who may be looking for their next opportunity within a few months after engagement.

All is not doom and gloom hence do not lose faith. When used properly, assessments can identify incredible potential in a modest candidate who may downplay their value during the interview and reveal charismatic candidates who say all the right things during the interview but might not demonstrate the capability required for the job . More importantly, by selecting the person best matched for the job, you’re likely to hire someone who not only enjoys the role but can deal with the complexity of it which will lead to better employee satisfaction, engagement, motivation, performance and retention. To gain these benefits a tailored assessment approach is best explored and utilised. This refers to:

  • Having a good understanding of the role and selecting the specific competencies required for success;
  • Selecting the appropriate level for each competency;
  • Identifying assessment tools that are most appropriate to assess the competencies;
  • Managing candidate expectations to ensure that they understand the role of assessments and can apply themselves to the best of their ability;
  • Integrating the assessment results in a way that explains how the candidate is likely to perform on each competency and rates them accordingly;
  • A summary of the results indicating the candidate’s strengths, development areas and recommendation for the specific role;
  • Feedback to the candidate to verify results and gauge if they interested in further development;
  • Feedback to management to minimise misinterpretation of results, provide feedback from the candidate and address any concerns.

Whilst this process might seem tedious, with the right systems in place it doesn’t have to be. If you’re currently using assessments just to ‘tick the box’ you may not be deriving maximum value and may be missing out on hidden opportunities. The true benefits of assessments, when used appropriately, would contribute great value – not only as a recruitment mechanism, but also as a development guide. Analyse your current processes to ensure that you reaping the true benefits.

Written by: Shanitha Naidoo-Consulting Psychometrist at Mindcor Consulting