Assessments Are NOT Candidate Selection Tools
In today’s competitive hiring environment, assessments are frequently used by companies to find the “right” talent for their business. These include behavioral, personality, and cognitive tests such as the Kolbe Index, DiSC Behavior Inventory, Culture Index, Predictive Index, and Myers-Briggs (just some of the dozens that exist) . Many companies even create their own tests to try to suss out compatibility.
Unfortunately, many companies rely on these assessment tools to form the entire basis for the selection and advancement of candidates during recruitment. In fact, these tools are highly subjective and can lead to missing out on many viable candidates.
There are times when personality assessments can be useful, such as differentiating between two potential and competitive candidates in a late-stage hiring process. But companies should not use them to sort out candidates in the early stages, and especially NOT as interview selection tools! Here’s why.
Personality Assessments Are About Personality, Not Skill or History
When a candidate takes a personality assessment, it’s simply offering a quantifiable insight into how they might “fit in” with the rest of your team. Although sometimes confused with cultural fit, personality is only one component of a candidate’s profile. It does not shed any insight into how this individual solves problems or their track record of team engagement or success.
A personality assessment can’t prove that a candidate can complete what their resume says they can. It says nothing about how previous bosses or coworkers felt about them. It’s unwise to ask candidates about their personality traits prior to confirming their skills and getting references from former employers. Once you confirm that they have the certifications and history to do the job, then you might consider asking two similarly qualified candidates to take a personality assessment.
However, keep in mind that people can game the assessment. It’s easy for candidates to answer what they think you want to hear. Plus, some of these tests are rooted in outdated and stereotypical beliefs about the characteristics of a great employee. Those types of limiting beliefs mean that test results could lead you to overlook a great candidate. Again, use them as an input into the broader candidate evaluation process, but NOT as the decision criteria!
Reliance on Assessments Indicates Lack of Growth Mindset
Finally, when companies allow a personality or behavioral assessment to tell them who a candidate is, it indicates that they don’t have a growth mindset. It’s typically a crutch for executives to not invest in talent development. Companies assume that if they over assess in the beginning and they find the “exact match” for their perceived culture, then it’s up to the new talent to fit in and grow themselves. When this growth does not occur, employers will tend to “weaponize” assessment results against the talent versus working to support their investment and collaboration.
After all, people grow and improve within an organization that nurtures them. Personality traits are generally static and have little to do with a person’s professional success. For example, there are highly successful introverted salespeople who use their personality to connect with people who are turned off by extroverted sales pitches.
A team member will only be as successful as the company that supports them. Do not allow assessments to limit the potential of your employees. Everyone can make a valuable contribution to your team, and it’s up to the managers to make smart decisions about how best to utilize human capital. Leverage assessments to optimize your talent.
Overall, assessments can be useful in some applications. When faced with two equally qualified candidates, an assessment or set of assessments can provide additional insight into how they might approach problems or work with a team. However, assessments should never be the sole deciding factor in candidate recruitment as they can lead to bias and group-think. Instead, use assessments as a complement to other evaluation techniques so you don’t end up missing out on great candidates.
In a follow on article to this post, Bell Falls Search will include specific behavioral assessments and reviews that our team has been exposed to with our clients.
About Bell Falls Search
Bell Falls Search is an Executive Search firm that partners with Small Businesses and Emerging Growth Companies to build self sustainable Talent Attraction solutions.
Our team has accomplished this across a wide range of industries, functional expertise and experience levels…and we have the case studies to prove it!
Contact Ron Laneve to learn how Bell Falls Search can help with your Talent growth goals.