Candidate Assessments – Your Hiring Teams Aren’t Ready…Yet

Corey Burns Assessments, Hiring Bias, Recruiting

We’ve all been burned by selecting the wrong candidate. Hiring the wrong person happens and making those mistakes is a necessary evil as we develop our ability to hire effectively. Over the years of working with growing teams, I’ve often received requests from hiring managers to incorporate assessments. Any time we can introduce a tool that helps us strengthen our selection process, it’s a no brainer.

While I’m a true believer in assessments, I only recommend using them once the rest of recruiting process is ironclad. During my own journey of utilizing assessments, I’ve found they’re usually not the answer to selection shortcomings. Too often I find that there’s another aspect of either the hiring process or the position itself that causes poor hiring decisions.

When deciding whether to incorporate assessments, there are no short cuts when determining whether it’s an appropriate solution.

If you can answer the four questions below, you’re on your way to incorporating an assessment that will help propel your hiring decisions.

1–Do you have a defined and consistent hiring process?

Before incorporating an assessment, your current hiring process needs to be clearly defined and already executed consistently, every time. If your current process isn’t driving results and you’re continually having issues with candidates not possessing the right skills or desired behaviors, it’s a good sign that an assessment won’t solve the issue. Instead, this indicates a deeper-rooted problem that could result from issues such as sourcing the right talent, not interviewing effectively, inconsistent hiring processes, etc.  

Using an assessment should supplement and solidify your decision making process, not make the decision for you.

2–Is the role clearly defined with Key Result Areas?

Having a job description that has clearly defined KRA’s is one of the foundational items of the hiring process, but it’s often overlooked. By having these KRA’s clearly defined, recruiters and hiring teams can clearly understand the desired results of the position, and thus identify whether candidates have the abilities required for the role.

Before jumping into the assessment process, step back and ensure you truly understand what you’re looking to assess. If you’re not able to describe the results you’re looking for a candidate to provide, how can you effectively utilize an assessment tool?

3–What are the hiring objectives?

It’s important to understand the objectives you would like the assessment to support. I’ve found that some hiring teams request assessments but have only a vague understanding of their purpose.

Is the objective to better understand technical abilities, communication, personality, behavior, etc.?

If you’re in the position of selecting an assessment tool, it’s important for both yourself and hiring teams to gain a deeper understanding of what types of assessments are available and what they’re measuring.

4–How well do you know your current team and culture?

When it comes to selecting an assessment focused on competencies, job knowledge and technical abilities, these tend to be more straightforward and objective based on the information provided.

During the process of selecting behavior or personality assessments, it’s extremely important to ensure you have a strong understanding of your current team. In order to do this, don’t take the short cut of using off-the-shelf assessments without benchmarking your current team. While there are similarities regarding types of jobs across all industries, each team and company have specific cultural differences and challenges, which in turn impact what type of candidate thrives in your organization.

These four focus areas will help you navigate the decision about whether to incorporate assessments. However, I can’t stress enough the importance of doing your homework and immersing yourself in the science behind these tools. Not all assessment tools are created equal and it’s up to you to identify a tool that serves both the organization and candidate wisely.