job interviewMaxImize has been providing assessments to clients for over 25 years and the longer I have my business, the more I have understood that no single assessment can give a complete picture.

We currently use a minimum of three statistically different assessments to get a broader view of the individual. With a management position it ranges from four to six and may include emotional intelligence.

Since 1990 that there are an ever increasing number of assessments on the internet, ranging from simple surveys to complex validation processes.

We recommend ones that have international validation and documented statistics they are willing to share. To get a more valid report, I personally prefer ones where the same concept is asked more than one way so there are multiple answers to get the results rather it being based on single question to determine any element of the report.
Although a heathy portion of assessment business is around hiring, we also suggest limiting the influence of the assessments in a hiring decision. In fact, assessments should only count for no more than 30% of the decision. Having multiple views of the same person is vital to use assessments effectively.

Sales people are a great example of why to use this multiple approach. If using just something for “personality” or behavioral style, there isn’t a statically valid way to identify top producers. Meaning, an introvert or extrovert does not predict performance in a sales role. Many people that “looked and smelled” like a sales person, but didn’t have the heart or drive for it. Within sales, knowing the motivators of an individual is a strong statistical correlation to success. That introvert may have been in their top performance group.

Choosing a vendor that can help you understand the limits of the assessments as well as the advantages is critical in my opinion. Can they tell you additional information the reports don’t cover? Can they teach or explain how multiple results influence each other as to what is going to happen in the real work world? Can they identify how the person responds to a stressful environment?

One way we help clients is giving specific interview questions to ask the applicant or their references based on the assessment reports indication of areas that might be a concern. Such as, one combination of personality (behavioral) style and a particular motivator means the individual sees every task as number 1. They can NOT prioritize a to-do list. Thus, we ask questions to see if they have put a system in place to help them know what to do next. (These same people will say yes to too many people or tasks and get overwhelmed.)
The multiple assessments approach means a higher success rate of identifying which candidate the job would hire. When using assessments on the final candidates, less than 5% of the time is it a clear cut positive choice and less than 5% is a clear cut no. So, 90+% of the time it is some degree of an orange flag. Therefore, using specific follow up interview questions to explore the candidates fit into company culture, plus will they work well with their immediate team and the job demands are extremely effective.
Sadly, the most underused benefit of assessments is as a long range management and communication tool. While proper assessment reports can be valid for years, generally they are tucked away in files instead. There are pages and pages of how to communicate, motivate, words to use as well as what not to say. Each person has their own unique filter and to bring out the highest engagement, we highly recommend taking advantage of these great individual roadmaps.

Barbara Metzger

Photo courtesy of Flickr

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