Using Assessment Tools for Smart Hiring Decisions

Building Team by Bill Stack

Have you ever hired someone that disappointed you? I’m sure the overwhelming majority answer is a resounding “Yes.” Now, certainly it wasn’t your intention to make a bad hiring decision. The reality is that you just didn’t have enough information (or the right information) to make a good hiring decision! And once the decision is made, it’s unfortunately very costly and difficult to train your way out of it.

Harvard Business Review published the results of a study involving more than 360,000 working people in 14 industries with both high and low turnover rates. The study’s objective was to examine the effectiveness of traditional hiring practices as a means of filling jobs with productive people. The study concluded: ‘It’s not experience that counts, or college degrees or accepted factors; success hinges on fit with the job.’ Peter Drucker, a well-known management consultant said, “Chances are good that up to 66% of your company’s hiring decisions will prove to be mistakes in the first twelve months.”

Additionally, a SHRM Study in USA Today noted that, “63% of all hiring decisions are made during the first 4.3 minutes of an interview.” The statistics are pretty daunting! Is it any wonder that many hiring decisions prove disastrous given this quick tendency to make up our mind in a matter of minutes?

The bottom line is that we’re prone to buy very quickly on emotion, and then work to logically justify our decisions with the information we receive from a candidate’s resume and interview responses.

Keys to Determine Effective Job Fit

The following are key factors that usually impact a person’s job potential:

  • Attitude (we call this Organizational Match)
  • Technical Competence (or Skills Match)
  • Cognitive Ability
  • Personality Structure
  • Interests (we lump these together as Job Match).

Organizational Match is the degree to which the candidate’s attitude towards values, ethics, and past employment history are assessed. Traditionally, these are determined in a face-to-face interview.

Skills Match is the degree to which a candidate’s educational background, technical skills, and previous work experience match those required by the position. This can be assessed through job testing and deeper, situational-based questions about prior job experience.

Finally, Job Match looks at how well an individual’s cognitive abilities, interests and personality traits match those needed for success in a particular job.

Value of Assessment Tools

Valid, appropriate assessment tools, such as DISC and Motivators, can help provide an employer with additional information to determine appropriate role/job fit.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

While drug tests and background checks have been the traditional means for providing information critical for Organizational Match, there are also effective paper-based assessment tools that uncover attitudes and dispositions towards integrity, ethics, substance abuse and any discrepancies from past employment. 

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