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Talent Assessment | 10 Min Read

Best practices in Talent Assessment

The Continuing Chronicle

You might be surprised when I tell you that the history of assessments is from the times of the World Wars. Since then, the science of evaluating people with the aim of filtering, hiring, or training them has been applied on a large scale.

The U.S military’s aptitude test perusal as a part of their strategy to recruit candidates in a role that matches their skills is one such example.

Mettls’ ‘State of Talent Acquisition in India 2018’ found that 87.6% of organizations will be hiring more than the previous year. In spite of the low supply of labor, companies are not compromising with the quality of talent they want to hire.

Organizations have taken to advanced technologies, with a better approach to identify candidates via online assessments, simulators, personality assessments, gamified evaluations, and so forth. These assessments test the candidate on a plethora of parameters such as aptitude, work execution, precision, and learning agility.

Nowadays, it would be difficult to find companies that aren’t using assessments to attract, select, and train employees.

The Nagging Need

The assessment builds the foundation for talent acquisition and talent management.

Let me share a fact with you or wait let me ask you first- What is the cost of a Bad Hire?

Don’t be surprised when I say that the price of a bad hire is at least 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings, U.S. Department of Labour. 

Now multiply this one bad hire to the many bad hires a single company makes and comprehend the amount, was it large enough to astound you!!!

Organizations globally, are leaving no stone unturned to get people hired and the ones already employed fit in roles they are best in. And assessments are a powerful tool that ensures the best hire.

Every mistake has a cost attached to it, and when we talk about hiring errors, it can lead to low performance, high turnover, and loss in business. But when they phrased, “ Prevention is better than cure,” they might have had something in mind.

With the same attitude, assessments are your prevention to the above challenges, and before you ask me how, I present to you the answer –

  • Assessing people during the selection process increases the probability of getting the right fit– with the desired skills and the ones who will stay with the company. These assessments evaluate the person on various parameters ranging from behavior, personality to aptitude, and work knowledge.

  • People are generally aware of one aspect of assessments, i.e. selection, but slowly the idea is spreading in the area of learning and development. Investments in assessments help in training need identification instead of assuming that everyone needs the same training. The role of assessments in identifying the high-potentials has to be complimented; once the best lot is identified, training becomes easier.

  • These assessments are not just one time investments. They promote an environment of continuous learning and development. There are assessments that provide regular feedback to the employees, thereby helping them to develop further. Unlike the regular L&D practices which do not provide metrics for the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, assessments help to find pick out the ones as per the defined parameters.

As the world becomes increasingly competitive, it is the people who differentiate the organizations. Hence it is becoming more important by the day to adopt a system that helps to attract, develop, and retain them.

You all might have a list of top challenges in talent acquisition, which your company faces and it might have a close resemblance to the one below-


So believe me when I say that the one, all-time solution, to all these problems, is assessments. They are the instruments that can fill the talent pool, meet expectations, and reduce costs.

Assessments replace the old, lengthy, uninteresting traditional hiring process with an engaging, meaningful, and result-oriented approach. With new innovations in assessments, the precision in skill-testing has improved exponentially.

Assessments also quantify the value of HR programs and measure the return on these initiatives.

When used effectively, assessments can have a major impact on key performance indicators (KPIs), such as cost-to-and time per-hire, hiring managers’ satisfaction, employee retention, performance, and engagement.

Aberdeen Group Study (May 2015)

The Malady of Mistakes

Talent assessment is an intriguing issue in the HR space. Referred to “As the process to enable managers to distinguish the right candidate, with the right skills and abilities for the company.”

Talent assessments are increasingly being recognized as a basic part of the organization’s functioning.

But the idea of assessments is still new for the world to adapt. Some companies are still following the age-old ways of hiring and development. Guesswork and intuitions are occupying most of the space for managers who find this the best and only way to filter through resumes.

Some businesses have started paying heed to the need for assessments, but face problems in building an effective one in practice. They miss the array of tools that can be used or do not utilize the services which are required to form a holistic experience. For instance, some companies just conduct assessments to test the skills of the candidate and pay no attention to the personality, behavior, and interests.

Most of the time, assessments are not lined with the company’s overall techniques and objectives; they are conducted in a vacuum with little contribution from the professionals.

Therefore, in order for assessments to be effective, they must be heavily supported by few practices. In the following section, we shall explore the best practices in talent assessment that an organization, aiming at a better future.

Best Practices in Talent Assessments

 Understand the Job Type

Without a clear understanding of the job and the job success factors, assessments cannot be effective. It is fundamental to understand the tasks to be performed, the responsibilities to be taken out, key performance factors, and other necessities that identify effective execution.

Evaluating people against job factors needs more attention than just assessing people. It is mandatory to understand the success factors and to be aware of how each one relates to the other.

There are 2 simple categories of job requirements – the eligibility criteria and the suitability criteria.

Eligibility is concerned with the years of experience, education, skills, abilities and reference checks. Suitability deals with the idea of motivation, interests, integrity, and cultural fitment.

Assess eligibility– Most of the companies set a minimum standard for the people and all this does is filter the people who don’t meet the criteria. When I say this, I mean that this type of benchmarking does nothing to assess the ones who met the standards.

For better performance, it is mandatory to quantify eligibility. For this to happen, as the first step, identify your eligibility criteria such as the skills needed, educational qualification, or the years of expertise. Once done, score the levels of the factors.

Let me explain this with an example-assuming that you have a requirement for a content writer with 2 years’ experience, the applications with less than 2 years will be rejected while the one with 3 years will be scored more than 2 years. And that’s how you come up with the eligibility scorecard.

Now let us come down to evaluating another important trait, i.e. suitability. Suitability majorly deals with the personality, attitude, and behavior of a person. It is mandatory to determine suitability factors since these factors impact performance.

Every factor such as self-motivation, a positive attitude needs to be graded in relation to the increased performance. As these factors are much difficult to change in a person, it is even more important to assess them during the hiring process so that you know who you are planning to hire.

Psychometric assessments are now gaining traction as a measure to evaluate people on their suitability. These tests are an amalgamation of questions that measure the mental and behavioral capabilities for a specific job type.

None of you would want to hire mediocre employees and not knowing about assessments that can be used to help you hire the best, would make you unhappy. To improve your hiring with the perfect practice of psychometric assessments.

The use of psychometric assessments in companies has increased by 49%. With IT/ES and BFSI, Pharma and Consulting leading in overall usage, and BFSI, Consulting, Automotive, Manufacturing, Media, Education, Logistics, and FMCG industries leading in the usage growth.

Measure a Good Amount of Traits

It is practically impossible to create assessments for each job type. Imagine the bundle of categories a company has and the subcategorization for different job roles; it is unimaginable and difficult to count on the fingertips. Hence having a customized assessment for these innumerable types for different qualities is impossible.

Therefore, companies have a standard behavior assessment which they use for all. But many times the questions are not in sync with the success factors. In this way, to be successful, a job-behavior assessment needs to quantify a range of attributes so that there can be enough qualities that can be identified with job success factors for different jobs.

Generally, behavioral assessments measure not more than 30 traits; many times very few traits have a correlation with the job type. Using such assessments is nothing but a diversion from the basic objective of the best talent assessment practices.

Therefore to effectively measure job success, assessments must measure at least 100 traits. Each job needs an equation where at least 20 traits related to performance. In addition to this, each character must be weighed against the other attributes according to its impact on performance.

Hence have assessments that measure multiple traits.

 Work Centric Questionnaire

Score 90% in engineering and you are already an engineer! Companies are dying to take you. But mind you the competition to get the best talent has reached an entirely different level.

Now scoring 90% may not justify performance or even the required skills for the job.

Recruiters fail to relate skills with an on-job performance that later translates as high attrition, operational loopholes, employee morale is hampered, and the workplace becomes toxic.

Simple eligibility criteria cannot be the only measure for defining the job-specific roles that suit candidates. Hiring the best is what companies want and to get the best, companies need to practice the best. These bunch of assessments pitches in as a solution. Assessments have their own types and use cases, let us look at a few-

  • Simulators are a valid technique for assessing people on actual work expertise and proficiency. Simulators are playing a role in L&D by being a tool in identifying high potentials as well as upskill and reskill needs. The use of simulation tools grew by 219% in 2016-17.

  • Domain-based assessments provide a good measure of the subject-based knowledge of the candidates too.
  • Cognitive assessments measuring the logical, mathematical, and verbal skills help to understand the candidates’ potential of gauging concepts. It owns a special place in hiring, identifying the high-potentials, skill gap analysis, and leadership development.
  • Technical MCQs test the knowledge-base of a candidate in a specific field, in which they are looking for a job. They also test the technical acumen of the person, whether he/she would be suitable for future cross-skilling don’t be surprised to know that the usage of Technical MCQs has grown by 105% during 2016-17.

The idea of these assessments marks a shift from the traditional based approach to a more practical application testing approach. Now candidate experience has acquired center stage and assessments are an important ingredient of the process.

Take to Technology for Learning and Development

Break the silo mentality of departments, when sectors are reluctant to share information with other sectors with L&D. Increase efficiency, promote a sound working environment with perfectly aligned goals with a fabulous L&D system in place.

When you wish for motivated, top-quality individuals with great service and attitude invest correctly in learning and development.

LinkedIn research shows that the fundamental path for workers to achieve goals is for employers to give them open doors for ceaseless learning. This allows the workers to be more agile and adapt to changing times. With continuous learning as employees feel valued, they perform better and contribute more efficiently to the company.

Knowing how beneficial continuous development programs are, many companies are still incompetent to have one in place.

The Solution to This Incompetence Lies in Technology

Finding the technology which best fits their programs is what companies need to do. Being trapped in the Bermuda triangle of old techniques without any vision for the future impacts the company adversely.

If we aim to climb up the ladder we need to take one step at a time. Structuring an L&D program requires the identification of the people who need the training. The training need identification assessment solves the purpose for the starters. The report generated after the analysis provides a clear picture of the skill gap in the employees.

To evaluate the candidates on varied skills in a practical way and identify the training needs, technologies such as 360-degree feedback tool, gamified assessments, and so forth that test the candidate on different aspects (aptitude, accuracy, performance, and personality) should be used.

Talent assessments need to be integrated into the employee life cycle, at every phase in employee relation from hiring to learning and development to succession planning to leadership development.

Perform on the Platform

Talent Acquisition is the biggest use case for remote proctoring with 69% usage.

Present the assessments to the required group in a controlled, proctored environment on an online platform.

Mettls’ online platform is one such solution that will come in handy. The platform breaks geographical barriers by doing away with the need to be physically present for a test; logistics are negligible; time, money, and cost everything is reduced.

Features like remote proctoring maintain the credibility of these online examinations via video monitoring and various anti-cheating software that prevents the candidate from indulging in any unethical activity.

Come Let Us Move to a Better Future

In recent years, technology, competitive demand for best talent have created forces that are promoting perfect practices in talent assessment.

The need of the hour is a better talent, engaging experiences, smooth assessments to target and develop talent.

Innovative assessment tools coupled with regular technological advances are bound to bring a revolution in the world of talent practices.

Talent acquisition managers and HRs, who have the ability to form the big picture must involve themselves in these practices to meet the ultimate organizational goal.

You may also like to read: How Talent Assessments Ensure Delightful Candidate Experience

Sliding CTA_Are You Prepared for Future of Work-1

Originally published June 7 2018, Updated June 26 2020

Divyeshwari Singh

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