Companies invest a great deal of their budgets on recruiting, developing, and retaining high-performing employees. The costs of a bad hire or promotion are well-documented, with one SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) study estimating the cost of replacing a salaried employee to be as much as six to nine months’ salary. In addition, too frequently employees don’t live up to expected performance levels, don’t become fully engaged, and move on to other organizations.
With all the pressure on businesses to not only meet these challenges, but to do it right the first time, it’s understandable that they would seek help. In response, there has been an upswing in the use of assessments to acquire, develop, and promote the best talent.
When evaluating an assessment to see if it’s right for your organization, be sure that it measures the critical considerations of eligibility AND suitability for a position. Eligibility relates to the individual’s previous experience, educational qualifications and various skills or abilities necessary to perform in the job. Suitability relates to behavioral issues such as preferences, tendencies, attitudes and behavioral competencies necessary to perform well in the job.
Avoid the pitfall of setting only minimum eligibility requirements. That only helps eliminate people who don’t meet the minimum standards. It does nothing to determine which applicants are best qualified.
Create a list of eligibility factors. Five to ten items usually capture the most-needed requirements. Consider things like:
- What education is required?
- What previous experience is required?
- What skills are required that might not be covered by education or experience?
Once you have the eligibility factors, assign weight to each factor based on how important it is in relation to the other factors. There is software available to make the process of weighting and scoring eligibility factors easy. You can even automate your recruitment process by using online questionnaires that can score the result and provide you with an immediate eligibility score.
Suitability or behavioral factors are more difficult to assess than eligibility factors because no objective and verifiable information is easily available. Subtle balances between factors have significant implications for behavior. To make it even more challenging, applicants tend to withhold or distort information that might keep them from getting a job.
Since suitability/behavioral factors are about 50% of why people succeed or fail in a role, effectively measuring the factors is an essential part of an assessment. Look for an assessment that:
- Measures a large number of suitability factors
- Provides effective lie prevention and detection
- Produces results related to specific jobs
- Offers easy-to-understand, job-specific scoring that guides interpretation
Asking questions that appear to be irrelevant to the job will probably turn off the most-talented job seekers and result in a lower quality of answers and a loss of credibility for the company. Using assessments that have content that is unrelated to the position destroys credibility and hinders the employment relationship that you are trying to build.
Another critical consideration in selecting an assessment is to use an assessment that fits your purpose. If you are attempting to hire, develop, promote, and retain talent, the assessments must produce reports that are related to the requirements of the job.
In order to predict job success, assessments must be job-specific. Many personality tests use the same set of personality factors for every job. The majority of these factors are likely to be irrelevant to job success for any one job. How can recruiters or line managers know how to use such information when it is not job specific? Furthermore, considering factors that are unrelated to job success can reduce diversity. Diversity is important for having a variety of viewpoints, which leads to making better decisions.
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