At STM, we believe assessments are an effective way to hire and retain the best talent. New clients often ask me, “Whom should we assess, just the managers and senior staff we are considering for hire?” Which usually means, “Should I invest time and money screening every hire, including entry level and support staff?” My answer, “I will tell you the same thing my dentist tells me: Only floss the teeth you want to keep.”
Here are STM’s top 5 reasons company-wide assessments are effective.
1. IN-DEPTH INFORMATION
Assessments provide in depth information that you can use to validate issues from the interview and background checks, or vice-versa. I often ask clients, “was there anything that bothered you about the candidate during the interview?” Interviewers are generous and want to attribute problems to nerves or trying too hard, but we find that is rarely the case. People who try too hard to impress may be egotists—we can measure that. People who talk too much or miss the nuances of your questions may lack empathy, which we measure. Or from the other direction, the assessments may turn up an issue that can be explored and probed during the interview, often on subjects that may never have been discussed otherwise. Altogether, we measure 89 discreet factors.
2. ACCURATE AND PREDICTIVE
A good assessment is consistent, accurate and predictive. Many corporate assessments use only behavioral assessments (DISC or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®). STM uses a DISC assessment, a motivators assessment (to measure worldview and suitability for specific roles), and a variant of the Hartman Value Profile (to measure attitudes, competencies, and their source of energy and drive). The latter instrument has a scientific and mathematical base driving its accuracy and precision—and all the instruments go through validity testing. With accuracy comes repeatability and predictability.
3. BENCHMARK TOP PERFORMERS AND COMPARE
We often point out to new clients that it is not enough to assess an individual. You need to know precisely what you are looking for. To do this, you need a standard or benchmark to use for comparison. It can be effective to analyze your top performers and compare each applicant to the cream of the crop. A small organization may simply not have enough people to form a valid benchmark, or feel no one is performing to that high standard. Even if you have the numbers, your top performers may not measure up industry-wide. To overcome this problem, we often analyze top performers from different organizations across an industry, we have the advantage of having a sizeable database based on 25 years of assessments and long-term relationships. A final option, is to interview subject matter experts to determine the qualities of top performers, which becomes a benchmark. With a proper benchmark, you can confidently a candidate to top performers.
4. EVALUATE COMPANY CULTURE AND FIT
Every organization is unique in some way: Regional/geographic location, size, founder’s values, communication and management characteristics are just a few of the many differences among organizations. An effective benchmark must reflect your organization’s unique culture. Culture can be established assessing founders, owners and key employees—anyone who can be said to embody organizational values. Once we have a definition of your culture, candidates who match that definition can be said to be a good fit. The final aspect of fit involves comparing the candidates profile to their prospective manager. The assessments may highlight managerial or communication factors that can be used to proactively avoid problems or avoid a poor fit between manager and employee.
5. INSURANCE AGAINST A POOR HIRE
Assessments are an insurance policy against a poor hiring decision. Even if the position you’re hiring for has no customer contact and works in the back office all alone, if they turn out to be mediocre or poor hires, you will spend an inordinate amount of management time dealing with the fallout of their poor behaviors, failures to measure up to your expectations and trouble caused with downstream employees, departments or customers. The greater the internal/external customer contact, or the greater their impact on business, operational or strategic decisions the greater the costs of a poor hire. For more information about determining what types of employees should be assessed, answer the questions from STM’s hiring calculator.
WHY ASSESS EVERY EMPLOYEE
A real-world example that comes to mind is a client who wanted to assess her entire team of 13 people for communication and development purposes. After receiving only 12 assessments, I called my client to make sure we hadn’t missed someone. She assured me that all the assessments were in; they had decided not to assess their receptionist. I suggested she assess even the receptionist so she wouldn’t be upset about being left out of a team process.
I completed the 13th assessment and concluded that the young lady at reception had the talent and capacity to be a highly effective account executive. When I alerted my client, she remarked that the receptionist had inquired many times about transferring to that department—and so this was arranged.
Within 6 months the receptionist-turned-AE made her mark and become a valued member of the team. If we had not assessed her, she may have gone to a competitor to realize her dream. Only invest in the people you want to keep.