Why Assessment Testing is Critical to Your Success

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If you aren’t already utilizing assessment tools in the hiring and management of your people, you should start! At least that’s the implication of the Aberdeen study, “Human Capital Management Trends 2012: Managing Talent to Lead Organizational Growth,” which found that the top companies, the so-called “Best-in-Class organizations,” were 79% more likely to use pre-hire assessments than their laggard counterparts (68% versus 38%) and nearly one and a half times more likely to use post-hire assessments (55% versus 24%).

According to Development Dimensions International, about one-third of employers use testing for hiring and promotions. Many major companies such as Macy’s, PetSmart, Bloomingdales, Sears, and Walmart have been using them for pre-employment screening. And not only are big companies utilizing assessment testing, but a growing number of small to medium-sized companies are also reaping their benefits, since the costs vs. values have made it so you can’t NOT afford to do this.

What type of testing is out there?

1. Mental and Physical Aptitude Tests

measure an individual’s ability to learn and perform particular job responsibilities. Examples of mental abilities include verbal, quantitative, and spatial abilities. Physical abilities include strength, endurance, and flexibility.

2. Achievement Tests

i.e. proficiency tests, measure an individual’s knowledge or skills that are pertinent to a particular job.

3. Biodata Inventories

are standardized questionnaires that collect job-specific biographical information, such as educational background, job history, etc.

4. Personality Inventories

are among the most popular in pre-hire testing and test, or rather assess, an individual’s personal characteristics or Traits. Research has shown that the use of personality tests in combination with other assessment tools can yield advantageous predictions about how that employee will perform in his future role. To learn more about the array of personality testing out there, check out the Buros Institute.

5. Honesty and Integrity Tests

are designed to identify individuals applying for work in jobs where employees have relatively high propensities to steal money or property, or who are likely to engage in behavior of a more counterproductive nature.

As you can see, there are many types of assessments out there. At Excelsior, we utilize several types of assessments tools to help our clients with either pre-hiring or assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their existing staff. While there are hundreds of tests available in today’s market (and we have utilized and are well versed in many), we use and recommend the following, all depending on the role and what type of information is needed.

I will begin with the tool that can be used for just about everything from selection and hiring, to employee retention, group dynamics, coaching, leadership development, and team building. This tool is the latest, state of the art personality assessment tool from Ngenio, the MPO, or Management & Performance in Organizations. The MPO assesses a candidate or employee’s personality (hardwired Traits) and Perceived Job Performance. The MPO does this by looking at seven behavioral factors along with their interactions:

  1. Originality of Thought
  2. Emotional Spontaneity
  3. Assertiveness
  4. Extroversion
  5. Pace
  6. Structure
  7. Adaptability

When the candidate completes the MPO, you receive a graphical and written report of the results. These reports can help you better understand the person you are considering hiring and/or the individual already working for you and will teach you how to communicate, motivate, and manage them more effectively. The really great thing about the MPO is that it is quick and easy to administer and can be used by organizations of all sizes and types, by business leaders, HR departments, and more.

Now if you are interested inhiringsales people, we recommend the OMG (Objective Management Group) Dave Kurlan Sales Force Profile, which measures sales skills, ability, sales strengths/weaknesses, sales mindset/beliefs, process, ability to ramp up, and more. This tool has a pretty astounding success rate: when you hire candidates that the OMG recommends, 92% of those salespeople rise to the top half of their sales force within the first 12 months!

And if you are trying to assessthe performance of your managers and leaders, you should choose the Checkpoint 360° Competency Feedback System™. This tool combines feedback from direct reports, peers, supervisors, and customers with a personalized program for developing specific leadership skills based on that feedback. This process highlights a manager’s job performance in eight Universal Management Competencies: Communication, Leadership, Adaptability, Relationships, Task Management, Production, Development of Others, and Personal Development. 

One of the most important things you need to know about any of these tools is this: as good as they are, they are only as good as the person using them. This means that you should obtain training and/or utilize a certified consultant that can help you properly administer and interpret the results, as well as help you utilize them to achieve specific results. It does no good to pay for these tests, accrue a pile of graphs and reports, and throw them in a drawer never to be seen again!

So what type of testing are you doing? What results have you achieved? Let me know what your experience with assessment testing has been. If you would be willing to be interviewed for an upcoming e-book I'm writing on this subject, please email me at mike@excelsiorp3.com.  

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