Assessments in the Interview Process

Hiring is seldom easy, and firing is downright difficult in this litigious society. To better screen new employees, and for these reasons, companies more and more are using either in-house or online assessments. Companies like CED and Anixter utilize the famous Wonderlic (www.wonderlic.com) as a first-pass to determine a candidate’s viability. Very clear and concise results are compiled immediately.

The subjective assessments are also becoming very popular. One is the P.I. (Predictive Index) (www.picampus.com) and others include Caliper and McQuaig. The founders claim very precise predictions of future performance, whether for sales or management. There are many other assessments that are also used in our industry. Unfortunately, some companies have undoubtedly missed out on great
people because of the results of these types of tests because the results can actually be skewed by mood, weather, etc.

Whether assessments are psychological, personality, performance, or IQ-based, they should be used in combination with phone and/or personal interviews to get a well-rounded idea of a candidate and what they can bring to your organization. You will also need to evaluate different types of specific tests, as there are some that are geared towards managers and different ones for salespeople. These have even been used with existing employees to determine their aptitude for future roles within a company.

A recent all industries-wide survey determined that in 2002, only 21% of companies measured personality qualities. In 2007, that number jumped to 59%. It shows that companies are no longer relying on their ‘gut’ to ensure great performances from their new hires. They are now utilizing other proven tools to assist in their decision.

There are five basic qualities that employers should look for: Talent, Drive, Attitude, Character and a High Energy Level. You can teach Skills and Knowledge, but the top five, you just can’t coach. Those are attributes that start early and are nurtured throughout one’s life. Employers often make the mistake of not understanding the difference when trying to make a hire. Unfortunately, they wind up with someone who knows the business, but is lacking in one or more of the critical qualities. They have now just wasted countless hours, days, weeks, etc. in hoping for an outcome that won’t come to fruition. The bottom line is, you can’t put in what was left out.

If you decide that testing will be used as a tool within your company, be sure to keep in mind that even if someone scores well on that assessment, you still need to delve deeper as to their track record. The résumé is their report card. Even though assessments, track records, references, background checks, etc. can all come in looking stellar, it is no guarantee of future great performance.

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