What Are You Looking For in Those HR Assessments?

Butterfly? You see a butterfly??

Assessments are great. The right assessment can work like an elaborate maze or a sting operation. With the right assessment, you can weed out all the extraneous information about a candidate and find the person who is going to hit a home run with your company.

Take our assessment for a call center, for example. This company always hired a bunch of employees during the holidays and unfortunately had about 100 percent turnover during the season. It was a nightmare. We discovered that a lot of the people who left after a couple of days really had no idea what the job was about. When they figured it out, they just didn’t show up next day.

So we created an assessment in which the candidates did a mock phone call with a customer. The recruiter had them type out an order on a dummy customer tracking system and they had to demonstrate how they could help customers using different web browsers. Meanwhile we checked for verbal and written communication skills. At the end of the assessment, the employer knew if the candidate could handle the job and the candidate knew if he or she was interested in doing the job eight hours a day.

Turnover dropped to 10 percent.

The danger can come with personality profiles: Myers Briggs, Birkman, Keirsey. They tell you things like whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert; whether you’re an administrator or a creative; whether you like lots of physical activity or not. These are all useful things but they can’t really tell you whether someone will be good at a job. That takes more specific assessments.

A company that has decided that only one kind of personality makes a good sales person, for example, winds up with an office full of clones who only appeal to one kind of customer. A business that deals with athletes decides everyone in the company needs to run marathons and high-five at the start of every contract. The company thinks it’s creating a particular culture, but instead it’s creating Stepford Business.

Since everyone in the office has the same Myers Briggs profile, no one brings in a diverse viewpoint, or forces the company to disrupt or approach problems or markets creatively.

Not that companies shouldn’t do packaged assessments. After all, assessments can throw up red flags and indicate how an employee is likely to respond to your work environment, to stress, to change. Used in conjunction with skills assessments, they can weed out a lot of unsuitable candidates. It’s just important, before settling on an assessment to figure out what your company really needs from a candidate in the long run and use an assessment that clearly and specifically analyzes those qualities and skills.

We can help create an assessment specifically for the position you’re hiring for. We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.


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