Using Assessments in the Hiring and Selection Process
Many people ask me why they should use assessments – primarily in their hiring process. Many believe that the only tool necessary is the behavioral question model and hiring will be great. My response to these people is that the behavioral question model is an excellent tool and I encourage its use in the selection process.
However, just as assessments are not the only tool you should or can use in the selection process, behavioral questions are not the only tool to use either. Why? Because one tool will only give you one part of the result – not necessarily the right result.
Okay, let me explain why only using the behavioral questioning model is a possible mistake. There are three primary reasons for caution if only using behavioral questions.
The first is that it requires the managers to become skilled at interviewing using the questioning model. Many managers are less than skilled at this competency and many have never been trained on how to use the method properly. In fact, I have seen managers ask a question, get a generalization response, ask no follow-up or clarifying questions, take the answer as a fact and move to the next question. This unfortunately leads to less than excellence results. Also, the interview process is a subjective process and requires interpretation into objective understanding. Many managers are limited in these skills of converting what they hear into objective or tangible results.
Second, when faced with time limits or under major stress due to the need to just fill the position and move on to “more pressing” issues – managers can short change the method. Again, I’ve seen managers ask a couple of quesiton’s, then fall into telling all about the job and asking the candidate “can you do it?” When they get a yes, the manager is ready and willing to hire and check off the “hire for position x” on their to do list.
Third, when hiring people particularly at higher levels within the organization or new hires just out of school, the candidates are totally trained on the behavioral question model and know – in advance – how to answer most of the generic questions asked in the interviews. As an example, when companies lay off people the candidates usually go to an out placement agency that assists them in writing resumes and how to properly interview to get a new job. New graduates are also trained by the guidance counselors in interviewing techniques. Oh, if you believe that your questions are not available to anyone – just Google the term “Behavioral Interview Questions” and you will get hundreds of pages of results. Advantage goes to the prepared.
Okay, so how do assessments fit into the process? Their are three factors to look for in the assessment process.
First, the assessment process is only part of the overall process. No one should be hired or eliminated solely on the assessment results. The norm is use the assessments for up to one third of the decision process. This allows for other methods to be involved and insures that you are hiring the best available candidates for a position.
Second, the assessment provides an objective element to the hiring process. Objectivity is found in validated assessment tools. When coupled with job position benchmarks it can become a “paint by the numbers” process for interviewing managers. They know who matches well with the requirements of the job and focus more of their limited time on extensive interviews with those candidates. This practice leads to major upgrading of the talent within the organization.
Third, using assessments has uncovered the imitators who are well versed at the interview process and act according to what they think you want for the job or position. However, once again the assessment provides objective information that goes deeper into what makes the candidate tick. Again, the quality of the interview questions become very focused or the candidate credentials can be checked more completely to uncover the truth. Again, experience shows that people have learned the interview process and without a check and balance system like assessments – less than high performers are hired.
Your hiring and selection process should include assessments. There are many assessments out there and you must use caution in the selection of which assessment tool to use. Watch for a future post to explain what to look for in an assessment. Or you can contact our office at 901-757-4434 to discuss your needs. Or simply use the contact us button on the website and we will contact you.
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