My experience with candidate assessment began in the mid-1980s in the Washington, DC area as a contingent recruiter. To understand what companies were seeing with their results, I offered to take a simple assessment.  The first one gave me a result, that honestly, the Horoscope from that day’s The Washington Post would have been more on target. In 1989, I reluctantly took the Myers-Briggs assessment. This one was better, except the person administering it did not understand what she read for my results.

In 1994, I took the DiSC assessment. That assessment showed me the future of assessments because it pretty closely nailed who I was. I also took the Wonderlic assessment (the NFL administers this test of cognitive ability to potential college draftees – no, I was not one of those candidates!).

I can feel both sides of this equation revving up their argument. The answer is – It Depends.

When Are Candidate Assessments Bad?

“Bad” may be a poor descriptor. There are times when candidate pre-employment assessments drive Top Talent away – then BAD is a great descriptor.

How would you feel if you were only mildly interested in a company? You decided to simply apply online with your resume. Then you discover the company not only requires you to complete an application they also require you to take your time to complete an assessment – prior to a phone conversation with someone from the company who indicates an interest in your candidacy.  Unless you are desperate for a position, you leave – And they never even knew you were trying to connect. Since the early 2000s, companies have conditioned candidates that they will never hear from the company after applying online. The candidates are simply wasting their time.

Candidate assessments are BAD when the company chooses the wrong assessment for a position. Once I recruited retail clerks for my client. Given my experience, I was shocked by how many candidates did not pass the assessment. Human Resources assured me they picked the right assessment. Finally, I contacted the assessment company. They looked up the assessment we were using for sales. They told me that we were using the WRONG Sales Assessment. We were using the Enterprise Sales assessment! No wonder retail clerks were not making the grade.

When Are Candidate Assessments Effective?

Let’s discuss the timing of the candidate assessment first. Most companies seemingly do not understand that Talent Attraction (talent acquisition, recruiting) is a SALES process.  If a grocery store forced you to take an assessment to determine if you are qualified to buy from them before you enter, would you return? Not me.

The same is true when Top Talent is interested in one of your positions. It is important to interview them and during your interview, sell them on your company! Why? You may not be interested in them or them in your company, BUT they may know the Perfect Candidate for the position. Once you have their interest, describe your process – “Now the next step is to complete our online application before your interview with our Manager on Friday. Would you be willing to take an assessment, prior to your interview with our Manager? She/He prefers that you do and your interview process may move quickly if there is mutual interest. With that preference stated, most people will be happy to complete a 20 to 30 minute assessment.

Secondly, ensure you are administering the Correct Assessment for the position.

Thirdly, ensure the Wonderlic test is administered in a controlled environment where everyone takes the test under the same conditions. Pay attention to the test requirements for adding points for age and race.

Finally, next week we will discuss assessments for Executives and Enterprise Sales Professionals. These assessments are generally best administered by a trained psychologist who will administer a morning of various assessments including Wonderlic, Myers-Briggs, and other assessments with their own interview.

If you would like a conversation on how to ATTRACT talent instead of using a system to screen them out, we should chat. Call me directly at 435-714-4425 (mountain).

I am available to consult with your company to improve your Top Talent Attraction strategy. Attracting and integrating Top Talent gives your company an industry edge. The process is worth the effort by improving productivity, innovation, and profitability – Look at Google, Tesla, SpaceX, and Apple. Retaining Top Talent keeps your industry knowledge inside your company – instead of with the competition.

The Top Talent Attraction business model is my differentiator.  I focus on one client at a time and charge a flat monthly fee.  This model enables me to attract new talent to your organization while identifying and suggesting improvements to your company’s Talent Attraction process, including Manager Interview Training.

Learn how I coach my Career Transition Clients in my most recent book – Employee 5.0: Secrets Of A Successful Job Search In The New World Order  My book includes an appendix with action verbs and sample interview questions.

I help organizations Recruit, Onboard, Actuate, and Retain Top Talent.

See you on Tuesdays! Feel free to click on Follow Us to receive my #TalentAttraction Thought Leadership every week or to Share my Just Saying Thought Leadership with your Network through Twitter and Facebook.

Bill Humbert is available for Speaking, Talent Attraction Consulting, and Training contracts.  435-714-4425

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