Word on the Street: Assessments in the Hiring Process

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had meaningful conversations with dozens of talent acquisition leaders.  I learned that many of these leaders are considering including assessments as a part of their hiring process.  The assessments they are considering, assessmenthowever, are not for job skills, but for “fit” with the organization.

I uncovered three different definitions of “fit” through these conversations:

  1. Fit with the organization’s culture.  Companies are increasingly using culture as a key differentiator in their employment branding and recruiting activities.  For smaller companies, it is important for them to maintain their culture as they grow.  For many large companies who are undergoing reorganizations and/or transformations, they are making a concerted effort to alter their culture.  In both cases, hiring individuals who fit this culture is the most important aspect of their recruiting process.  Many of these talent acquisition leaders believe that online assessments can help them identify individuals who are the best fit, or at a minimum can help them eliminate individuals who are not a fit for the culture.
  2. Fit with leadership qualities.  Many companies are aware of the need to identify and grow future leaders of their organization.  As the baby boomers retire, there aren’t as many Gen X individuals in the leadership succession plan, so companies recognize the need to fill their pipeline of future leaders now vs. waiting for those individuals to emerge later in their careers.  One major financial services employer is already successfully incorporating assessments into the hiring process to help them do this.  Every candidate for every open position has to complete a short online assessment that measures the candidate’s values and competencies against their defined leadership competencies.  Individuals with misaligned values and competencies do not move ahead in the process, regardless of his or her specific technical skills or work experience.  This company is ensuring that their entire workforce has the potential to be a leader under their leadership definition.  Thus, they can focus on growing and developing their leaders vs. selecting them later in their career.
  3. Fit with the softer skills required to be successful in a specific role.  Many companies are very good at selecting candidates based on specific technical or functional skills.  Their interviewing processes can identify if an individual has the appropriate level of coding skills, financial analysis skills, customer service-oriented approach, contract negotiation skills, or whatever hard skills are needed for the role.  These companies are recognizing that the selection process isn’t very good at determining an individual’s ability to collaborate, problem solve, take direction, etc.  Assessments can assist in this determination and companies are interested in using them to help select the best candidates for their open positions.

With the exception of the financial services company mentioned above, most of these companies are just beginning to consider adding assessments to their process, so I view this as a future trend.

For solution providers in the talent acquisition space, this is your opportunity to start developing assessment solutions or partnering with existing assessment companies to enhance your offerings and become a provider of choice for these forward-thinking companies.  For employers, now is the time to think about what aspects of ‘fit’ are most important to the growth and success of your company.




About Kara Yarnot

Kara founded Meritage Talent Solutions to provide tailored talent acquisition solutions to employers and employment services companies. Kara has over 17 years of leadership experience in talent acquisition and recruiting for several FORTUNE® 500 organizations, including Boeing, Intel, and SAIC.

Leave a Reply

Get the right blend of strategy, process and execution advice. Contact Us Today