Assessment Tools

hiring assessment toolsIn addition to strategic interviewing, you’ll most likely want to use some kind of assessment tool to augment the interview process. Some tools, such as Personalysis, will only be appropriate for final candidates in key positions. Others, such as Behavior Styles, are short and inexpensive enough to be worth considering to test for candidate fit (StrengthsFinder is another short assessment that can be used for any position). Whichever assessment tools you choose, remember to be consistent in how you use them: decide ahead of time which tools you’ll use and at what point in the process, and apply those to every candidate for a position. Also be sure you explain to candidates what the tool is and how it’s important to your company and the position. Your candidates will feel more positive and excited about the job they’re interviewing for if they understand that you’re trying to ensure a good fit and long-term success.

Tools for Matching People to Culture

As I’ve said, in hiring you’re looking not only to match a person’s specific skills to a job description, but, equally importantly, to match who they are as a person (their behaviors and character) to both the position and to your company as a whole. Most of the successful hiring I’ve been involved with has had some component of temperament or personality evaluation. There are a variety of assessments available for employers to choose from, and I’ll discuss some of them in more detail below. Keep in mind that those designed to assess behavioral traits (also called temperament or personality) are better predictors of long-term fit and success within your company than those designed simply to assess skills, though both have their place in your hiring process.

One of the most popular personality assessments is the Myers Briggs, which sorts individuals into one of sixteen different personality types based on preferences within four categories of experience. (You may be familiar with the four-letter personality types discerned by the Meyers-Briggs test.) This test has the advantage of being easy and inexpensive to administer, and it may give you some basic information on the type of person you’re dealing with. But, unless you have some training in interpreting the Meyers-Briggs for professional settings, it can be hard to implement the results as a hiring methodology. For instance, unless you know for sure that a controller should be an “INTJ,” knowing that your candidate is an “INTJ” doesn’t help you understand how that personality type is going to behave in that position.

The Personalysis Profile is an expanded version of Myers-Briggs that not only measures personality type, but also makes predictions about how a person is likely to behave (think, feel, and interact) in particular situations. This type of profile can give you important information on how your prospective hires go about key functions such as goal setting and follow through, communicating, making decisions, working in teams, and accepting and giving guidance. I’ve found this type of profile exceptionally useful because it gives you concrete information about whether or not an individual is likely to succeed in the specific position you are interviewing for. More globally, these measures can tell you right away if a candidate is going to fit into your company’s communication or leadership culture, as well as how you might need to adapt in order to ensure that person’s success. On the flip side, the Personalysis company can generate an ideal candidate profile based on information you give them about the position and your company’s culture. While this is all really valuable information to have, the downside to Personalysis is that it must be administered and interpreted by a specialist.

Another type of assessment gleans information about a person’s style (the D.I.S.C. is one example of this type of test). The best of this type of test that I’ve encountered is called Behavior Styles by the Effectiveness Institute. The test consists of a ten-minute survey of forty or so questions. The way a person makes decisions and responds to others as well as what they need to succeed in a work environment can be determined based on their answers. The test is relatively simple and inexpensive and can give you crucial information needed to make a hiring decision while also providing a blueprint for your working relationship with the person you ultimately hire.

Finally, there are also assessments that measure a person’s Emotional Intelligence. I don’t recommend using this type of test as a workplace tool. This type of test should only be administered by a trained professional and is not an appropriate assessment for most positions.

One cautionary note: if you decide to use personality assessments with current employees, be sure to provide the proper training to go along with it because friction can result when your people don’t understand why you are asking them to take a personality assessment or how you are going to use the information. Sometimes people believe there is a “right” or “wrong” personality, which is one reason I prefer the behavioral assessments like Personalysis. Whatever assessment you choose, make sure your people understand that it is a tool to help them work better and work better together.

Additional Testing and Screening

In addition to the personality profiles or behavior-based inventories, you will most likely want to ask candidates to complete a skills-based assessment as well. For higher-level positions, you can use Caliper or another industry-specific assessment. For entry-level positions, depending on the skills required, you might want to administer a Microsoft Office test, or speed or agility tests. For accounting positions, your accountant can probably recommend an appropriate assessment.

As I mentioned earlier, also decide ahead of time if you need to do credit checks, background checks, criminal background checks, or drug tests. If you’re using a recruiter, they will sometimes provide these services. If not, you will need to research where to get those services so that you are ready to complete those steps in the final stages of the hiring process.

Excerpted from my book, “Putting Together the Entrepreneurial Puzzle: The Ten Pieces Every Business Needs to Succeed.” Available here on Amazon.