In her recent post on the Harvard Business Review (August 27, 2014), Whitney Martin addressed a crucial issue: "The Problem with using Personality Tests for Hiring". The 2 main points I can`t but fully agree on are:
"Personality tests are most effective when combined with other measures with higher predictive validity, such as integrity or cognitive ability."
"Using well-validated, highly predictive assessment tools can give business owners and managers a significant leg up when trying to select candidates who will become top producers for the organization."
With here last sentence, Whitney comes to the core of an effective assessment strategy: "Knowing which types of assessments will be most effective in accomplishing the specific objectives you have identified for your organization will enable you to select a tool with a measurable impact on the bottom line."
But how to identify the most effective assessment tools or process to achieve the goals of my company? Here are 3 steps you might take to assess your assessment strategy.
Be very clear about your final goal and assess your organization: many clients are asking for the ultimate "change agent", for some one "thinking out-of the box" or for some one who will challenge higher management: is your organization ready for such a person? Or are you unconsciously looking for some one who fits your culture and easily adapts to it? Even before thinking of assessments you have to be sure to know who you need and if your organization is set up in such a way that your new resource can fulfill his potential. It is not about what would be nice, but about who can be effective in your organization. The most precious support for an assessor is an open, honest and accurate briefing. You know it is not about theory and ideal competency models.
Assess your people first: applying your assessment process on your existing population will bring you two benefits. First you will have feedback about the effectiveness of the process and tools; are the results of assessments consistent with the performance of your people? Are individual performance and results of the test significantly correlated? In other words: does the assessment confirm that your best and worst performers are best or worst? Second, you may get some hints on why there is a difference in individual performance and get insights for your people on how to develop themselves further.
Make quantitative and qualitative measures coexist; face the struggle between standardization and psychological intuition and let them talk to each other. An in-depth interview always gives you additional information, especially when it comes to aspects as values, conscientiousness and integrity. There are reliable interviewing methods that can give you qualitative insights on the mind-set of a candidate and help you to assess relational skills. Still such methods are not standardized to a level that makes them independent from whom is applying them.
For sure it is important to identify the proper tools for assessments, but such a process has wide reaching organizational and strategic implications: so first have a look inside. Does your organization know where it wants to go and what it takes to get there? Is your current management culture ready for change? Please let us know your point of view by emaling to firstname.lastname@example.org or by sharing and commenting on social networks.