Transformation Solutions Blog

Five Reasons Why You Should Use Assessments

June 7th, 2014

Over the years, I’ve met many Human Resource professionals who expressed considerable skepticism toward the use of assessments.  I have to admit that I was in that camp at one point as well.  This skepticism often has good cause.  There are an enormous number of assessments on the market today.   Many of these have been improperly designed or incorrectly used in a manner that has lead to inaccurate results.   When someone has a bad experience with an assessment, their feelings tend to transcend all assessments, not just the assessment that perhaps should never have been used in the first place.  But the fact that assessments can be misused and are not always perfect is doesn’t mean you should dismiss assessments altogether.  Extensive research data and numerous practical applications conclusively show that appropriate use of a well-designed assessment can predict job performance and does lead to better hiring decisions.

Assessments have the greatest value when you want to:

  • Put the right people into jobs
  • Provide employees with focused, effective training
  • Help their managers more effectively manage
  • Promote people into positions where they will succeed

The main reason assessments work is because behavior is remarkably consistent over time.  Because much of our behavior is influenced by our basic psychological makeup, we tend to act in very reliable and predictable ways across both time and situations, whether we want to or not.  Although people can and do change over time, those changes are usually gradual and predictable.  Of course, job performance also depends on a number of other factors such as how managers treat their employees, and how work is structured.

Reason #1:  Efficient Hiring Can Provide Competitive Advantage

Assessments enable an organization to quickly prioritize candidates based on their potential for success in a given role.  The development of Internet-based hiring systems makes these tools accessible, affordable, and instantaneous.  The best candidates rise to the top, so they can be contacted first – preventing the loss of top talent to competitors.  This allows hiring managers to spend time meeting with only those applicants who have the highest potential for success.  Matching what a company measures to job requirements in a fair, objective and efficient way [through online assessments] is also key to staying inside the law.

The assessment also gives the interviewer  a new set of tools to transform the interview into a genuine discussion about the person’s real fit for the job as well as their likely level of job satisfaction.  When conducted prior to an interview, a pre-employment assessment can identify areas to probe. Combining this information with good behavioral interviewing skills can vastly improve your hiring process.

Reason #2:  Assessments are More Accurate than People

Many of us think we are good a “sizing up others”, but few of us truly are.  People’s behavior is complex.  Using job interviews, background checks, and resumes to screen applicants yields random results.  One might as well evaluate applicants using a coin flip.  Research suggests only a 14% likelihood of a successful hiring decision (one good employee in every seven hires) using common hiring practices that do not include pre-employment hiring assessments.   This success rate jumps to 26% with a background check – but this is still one good hire in every four!  When an assessment is used that measures behavioral traits, thinking, occupational interests, plus job match, excellent employees are successfully identified better than 75% of the time.

This doesn’t mean people’s evaluations of candidates are not important.  They are the heart of the process.  But people’s hiring decisions can be much more accurate if they utilize assessment information as part of the decision-making process.

Reason #3:  Assessments are Cost Effective

Most people view assessments as an expense.   True, assessments are not free, but what is the cost of a bad hire in your organization?  Consider the amount of time and money spent in the interview process, in training, on wages and benefits, the lost revenue because of poor performance, and the cost of retraining a new hire, not to mention the cost of missing out on a better candidate who is now with another company.  Wouldn’t you be willing to spend some money upfront to minimize the likelihood of a wrong hire?  Pre-employment assessments can actually save you money by helping you choose the best candidate for the job.  By ensuring better job fit, assessments improve retention and help organizations better preserve their investments in hiring, on-boarding and training.

Additionally, the quality and speed of decision making provided through assessments means hiring managers and HR professionals can do their jobs faster and easier.

Last, but not least, many organizations continue to approach training and development with a “one size fits all” approach.  You’ve seen it before, a program on Management 101 is run and everyone who manages people is required to sit through it; regardless of organizational level, skill or ability.  This approach continues to provide sub-optimized results.  By using the results of assessment to focus development on the areas where job-specific improvement would provide the greatest results, companies can use their limited resources more effectively.

Reason #4:  Assessment can be used to Inform a Variety of Talent Decisions

Managers are just as responsible for developing the talent pools in their organizations as they are for accomplishing operational goals.  Unfortunately, while they get a lot of information pertaining to how they’re doing on operational goals, they get no information on the knowledge and skills of their people.  Good assessment programs can provide this valuable data.

Reason #5:  Assessments take the Emotion out of Feedback

Coaching employees regarding development is often a difficult process.   The objective nature of assessments allows companies to more effectively place people into jobs where they are most likely to succeed.  Assessments also help reduce the influence that people’s subjective beliefs about personal appearance, background, or ethnic characteristics have on hiring decisions.

Summary

Personality Assessments have been available for about 60 years.  Many of the “popular” assessments in use today were not designed to predict job performance.  The DISC and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are two popular assessments often used for selection that were not designed for that purpose.   How would you effectively use an assessment for job selection that has no ability to predict job performance?  Some people say that they can use these assessments for employee development.  However, this also isn’t possible. The main point of employee development is to improve performance and if an assessment does not measure the factors that relate to job performance, how can it significantly help to develop employees?

Harrison Assessments’ Smart Questionnaire™ sets the standard for assessment questionnaires. The Smart Questionnaire™ measures 175 behavioral competencies and employee engagement factors in less than 30 minutes, while providing the most deception proof technology in the industry.   Harrison Assessments offers a complete research database of success traits for different position types as well as complete customization to an organization’s values or specific job requirements.  Harrison Assessments measures all the factors relative to job success— all while substantially reducing an employer’s legal risks.

An effective job eligibility/suitability assessment can obtain a high level of predictive accuracy for job performance.  This gives interviewers a new set of tools to transform the interview into a genuine discussion about the person’s real fit for the job as well as their likely level of job satisfaction.  Combining this information with good behavioral interviewing skills can vastly improve your hiring process.  When choosing assessments always maintain your focus on what matters most:  Does the assessment predict the employee behaviors and job outcomes that are critical to your organization?  Be wary of assessment vendors that don’t spend any time identifying the specific employee behaviors and job outcomes you want to predict.

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