Do you use assessments in your company’s recruiting/talent platform? If you’re like most of us on the HR/recruiting side, you probably fall into one of three camps related to assessments. Check it out:
1–You love assessments. You’re kind of an assessment geek/dork, and you’re unapologetic about the value you believe they can add to an already good recruiting/talent platform. You’re such a geek about this stuff you have actually had arguments about the best way to evaluate someone’s ability to receive feedback via their assessment profile. G.E.E.K. You just wish that everyone was as excited as you are about the potential. Why do managers not seem as excited?
2–You feel like assessments don’t deliver what they promise. Additionally, the last one you took labeled you as sensitive to feedback – which obviously isn’t true. I mean, you’re super open to feedback and really don’t understand how it came up with that. You’ve got friends who agreed with you when you asked them that you’re open to feedback and stuff, right? But I digress.
3–You haven’t deployed a meaningful assessment in your organization yet – but it’s on your to-do list. Right after you get your VP of Marketing to stop day-drinking.
Regardless of where you fall in that universe, the reality is that any assessment you use in the recruiting or talent process can be used for GOOD or EVIL.
Because disaster sells, let’s start with the ways you can use Assessments for EVIL:
1–You (or more likely your managers) use assessments in the pettiest way possible. Rather than looking at the holistic profile of a candidate, they nitpick a candidate’s profile, looking for reasons to screen them out based on personal preference, unscientific past experience, or being a Patriots fan.
2–Your managers look for someone like them, a Mini-Me to their Dr. Evil. Yes, you wanted to let the managers understand their own profile, so you gave them the assessment. It confirmed everything they thought they knew with the exception of their difficulty in taking feedback. But they love the rest of it, so much so they are rejecting candidates who don’t look like them. The dreaded “not like me” bias. They think they are using it the right way. But they’re not.
3–Wait, good news! Someone made it through these evil plots and got hired with an assessment used in the process. That’s the good news. The bad news is they had one dimension that was a bit of a flag and something you wanted them coached to. Now they’re known by that dimension in their department, with people saying, “That’s Rick, Mr. ‘Low Initiative’,” (corporate version of “Low T”) when they don’t get something from him five minutes before the deadline.
Never fear – even if you’ve seen these incorrect/shallow ways that assessments can be used in an organization, there’s a way to set yourself up for success related to the use of assessments.
Let’s call this plan “Using Assessments for Good” (not evil). Do these things and you’ll have a chance to counter the bad stuff I started this post with:
1–Before you introduce an assessment to a hiring manager, insist that for full deployment, he/she puts the rest of the team through the same platform, INCLUDING THE MANAGER IN QUESTION. Yeah, it turns out this becomes the only way to maximize success with assessments in your recruiting and talent stream. You can’t just use it for recruiting a single position, you really need to put the team through it.
2–Once that’s done, you should run integration sessions with the team and share the profiles of all with everyone on the team, INCLUDING THE MANAGER. Think a “heat map” for the team related their behavioral profile. Nothing says “leader” more than a manager sharing their own profile. That integration session should be focused on helping the team understand the dimensions being evaluated, and the fact that every human on the planet (even Kanye) has true strengths and, yes, true opportunities for growth/weaknesses.
3–Once you’ve introduced the assessment to the team and shared all profiles across the team, make sure behavioral profiles become part of your talent strategy. A great example of this is your coaching model. Your managers should be trained to remind people of their profile and actively look for ways to use their strengths and coach to the weaknesses without being a jerk.
Follow the good plan and you’ll proactively take care of the bad stuff before it becomes an issue.
Assessments don’t kill careers. People who don’t know how to use assessments kill careers.
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.