Talent management should be the priority of all leaders and companies who want to succeed, and the first step in talent management is to find and select the best people for your organization.

Once you have clearly defined the position you want to fill, talent assessments and structured behavioral interviews are tools you can use to get the information you need to help make intelligent hiring decisions.

When you’re evaluating a person for a position, you need to consider their eligibility and their suitability. Eligibility determines if the person can do the work required; suitability determines if the person fits in with the organization and perform at the levels needed.

Talent Assessments: Helping you find the best people

Companies have been testing candidates since the early 20th century, and today companies of all sizes use validated assessments as part of the employee selection process. These companies have been learning the right way to do it ever since testing began. Researchers continue to provide information on what works and what doesn’t. And the improvement of online, automated data collection makes using these tools an easier option than in the past.

I’ve seen companies make mistakes using these tools, but if you take some time to learn about the different types of assessments and some common mistakes, using pre-employment tests can be beneficial to your hiring process.

First, there are different types of assessments, and some of them shouldn’t be used for selecting talent. Always ask the provider of the assessment tool if it has been validated for hiring purposes. One of the most widely recognized assessment tools, Myers Briggs (MBTI), is not validated for hiring. Yet I have known employers to use it as one. And before you start using an assessment tool, know what you are looking for in the candidate. Make sure that each candidate is evaluated using a consistent process.

Types of assessments to evaluate talent

Intelligence tests. These will test the cognitive ability of a job applicant and are the best single predictors of job performance. However, these should be used along with other tests.

Work-related or skills test. These job-specific questions are specific to certain skills required for the job such as Excel Spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations and are likely to predict job success if created and used properly.

Simulations. These are role-play tests which ask the candidate to play out a situation or a scenario that relates to the work they will be doing.

Emotional Intelligence Assessments. These assessments measure the ability of a person to perceive, control, and evaluate the emotions of others as well as their own.

Assessments to find avoid during the hiring process

Personality assessments. These types of tests are useful in certain situations, but they should not be used to make hiring decisions unless they have been validated specifically for hiring. They do not predict job performance, even though much research has found them to be useful in understanding people . This includes DiSC and Myers Briggs tests.

Behavioral interviews can help you find the right people

Behavioral interviewing is based on the theory that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance. To conduct a successful behavioral interview, leaders must know what they are looking in exceptional job performance as well as the values and cultural fit.

Here are a few tips worth following, if you’re going to conduct a behavioral interview:

  • Some people are good at being interviewed, but this doesn’t always mean they will be good at the job. Try to look beyond interview skills.
  • Ask questions about past behaviors that will predict future success.
  • Insist on specific examples not generalities.
  • Make a list of skills you are looking for, come up with questions that evaluate those skills, and pre-determine what answers are good ones.
  • Ask the same questions to each candidate.

Based on the discussion of assessments and behavioral interviewing, how would you rate your current hiring process? And what do you plan on doing to improve the process?

Photo Credit: Flickr user Alan Cleaver