Understanding The Role of Assessments – 9 to 5 Guest Post

January 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm

This is a complete re-post of my interview with Aimee Fahey on her Ecogrrl Consulting blog.  Thanks, Aimee for a great topic of discussion!

 

Today I’m excited to welcome back Pamela Moore of Compass Human Resources for another guest post.  You may remember her fantastic guest post last year onnegotiating pay.  This time around, I wanted to get her recommendations for those who are hiring managers, and want a little help in answering that age-old question, “but how will I KNOW if this person will fit with our team?”.  While we don’t have a crystal ball in the HR world, there are a number of great tools that can provide greater insight into your candidates that you are considering hiring, and I’ve asked Pam to tell us more.

Psst – to the job applicant…this is great insight into the hiring process!

Why should I consider using assessments during the interview process?
The best candidates know how to perform well in an interview.  They also know how to put together a great resume – or hire someone to do it for them.  Having an expert recruiter designing behavior-based interview questions can mitigate some of that.  However, interview questions simply can’t get to a few things:

  • How will the person react under stress?
  • What kinds of situations will cause them stress?
  • How emotionally stable are they?
  • What is their management style?  Not what they say – what they actually DO.
  • What values drive their choices?
  • Do they have issues with authority?

Assessments can be extremely helpful in getting to the things that are below the surface.

Are there any legal issues I should keep in mind?  Aren’t personality tests illegal?
Assessments aren’t illegal providing you can show that they are relevant to the position, are administered consistently, don’t inadvertently discriminate, and are administered by a professional who uses them in a variety of situations and can interpret them well.

Use a well-known assessment with scientific data behind it.  There are a lot of shady assessments out there that measure things not relevant to work.  Many of them have very little data compiled to support their results.  Do your research.

There are a ton of assessments out there – how do I know which one is the best?  What do you recommend?
Which assessment you use really depends on your needs.  I have used several:  Myers-Briggs, Personalysis, DiSC and Hogan. Each looks at slightly different things.

  • Myers-Briggs is a true personality assessment.  I find it works best in a clinical atmosphere.  It’s difficult for participants to apply to work situations.  Also the reports and output are structured differently depending on which consultant you work with.
  • Personalysis is used to assess communication styles.  This works great for teams because 90% of the issues I see in ineffective teams are caused by poor communication. The reports are very visual, which participants absorb well.  I probably wouldn’t use this for selection, though.
  • DiSC is a work style assessment.  It will vary slightly depending on the person’s role and how long they’ve been in the role.  The results you get at hire may not be the same in six months.  This tool is great for both individuals and teams.  It’s very visual and easy for participants to apply.  I’ve seen it create a common language for team members that makes it easy for them to talk about interactions.  Creating a team composite report is very easy and extremely useful.
  • Hogan is a personality and behavior assessment.  It measures some things that other assessments do not:  emotional stability, personal values, etc.  It provides a level of detail that is very useful when working with high-level employees.  Also, Hogan is one of the few legally defensible tools out there.  It has been scientifically proven to have predictive validity.  Hogan can be used for both individuals and teams, and they offer a report specifically for selection purposes.

In my business, I use DiSC for non-managers or first-time managers, and for teams.  I like Hogan for experienced managers and executives.  Because these tools can be used for so many related purposes, they give you high value for your money.

Should the rest of my team do the assessment?
If you’re building a new team, you might wait until the team is built to have the existing employees complete the assessment.  However, if it’s an established team, you may want to do it before the new hires come on board.  Then you have the ability to do a team facilitation that will help everyone come to a common understanding of styles, needs, and team dynamic.  This can prevent a lot of turmoil as the team grows and changes.

What is the best stage during the recruiting process to administer assessments to my candidates?
These assessments are not free.  You will pay for the assessment and the consultant’s time to analyze results.  Have a budget ahead of time.  In order to keep costs down and to avoid assessing people who may not truly be viable candidates, I recommend doing assessments before final interviews.  Assessing two or three candidates that you feel strongly about is most effective.

However, you should be sure to let candidates know at the beginning of the recruitment process that finalists will be asked to complete an assessment.  Normally, the recruiter tells me who the finalists are, and gives me their contact info.  I then send the assessment to them and the results come back to me.  I analyze the results, then meet with the hiring team to review them.  We talk about the pros and cons of each candidate’s profile in relation to the job description.  They can then construct final interview questions designed to delve into any areas of concern.

The assessment should be just one item used to make the hiring decision.  Interview questions, resumes, etc should also be used. Candidates should not get a copy of the assessment results.  That is part of the job file just like the interview questions and selection criteria.

I’ve never done these before – how hard is it to interpret the results?
Good question.  Some hiring managers think that because they have taken a particular assessment themselves, that they are qualified to interpret them too.  That is NOT the case.

In order for assessments to hold up as a legally acceptable part of the hiring process,they need to be administered by an expert – someone who uses them as part of their work, who has gone through the education process offered by the assessment organization, and who has experience using them in many different situations.

In the case of DiSC and Hogan, there are combinations of traits that indicate very specific behaviors/styles.  The average person would not be trained to recognize and interpret those subtleties.  Hogan actually requires consultants to be certified in order to administer their assessments.

Want more information, sample assessments, or help in choosing an assessment? Contact Pam directly at: pam@CompassHumanResources.com.

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