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Behavioral assessment is a structured study and analysis of a person’s behavior using various methods like interviews, direct supervision, and self-observation. It refers to the process of observing, explaining, and predicting human behavior with the help of new-age digital tools. Behavioral assessments are now more commonly used in educational, clinical and corporate settings.
Behavioral assessments are generally used for recruitment and development purposes to assess core competencies required to perform the organization’s job. Behavioral assessments require candidates to exhibit behavioral competencies in one or more tasks related to their work responsibility and mimic an actual workplace situation. The behavioral evaluation occurs when candidates are provided with a series of simulated work environments with probable actions to be taken. They have to tick either the best option or grade the possible activities based on their effectiveness.
Behavioral tests evaluate behavioral competencies. Behavioral competencies comprise knowledge, skills, and personality traits in an individual. Such competencies are critical elements of a job that are evident in the workplace’s behavior and observable. Behavioral competencies vary across job roles and levels. Each behavioral competency can be gauged through a unique combination of behavioral tests, the outcomes of which can work wonders when it comes to workforce planning.
In the corporate context, behavioral assessments refer to new-age tools to measure behavioral competencies in a simulated work environment. These assessments require individuals to demonstrate behavioral competencies in one or more activities relevant to their job role and resemble an actual organizational situation. Candidates are presented with a series of realistic work-related scenarios with possible actions to be taken. They have to select either the best option or rank the possible actions based on their effectiveness. Behavioral assessments are commonly used for recruitment and development initiatives to measure critical competencies required to perform on the job.
Behavioral tests measure behavioral competencies. The combination of skills, knowledge and traits in an individual cumulatively form behavioral competencies. Behavioral competencies are a job’s components that reflect in behavior and are observable in the workplace.
Behavioral competencies often vary across job levels and job roles. Having a comprehensive list of behavioral competencies that are important to your organization’s culture can help you to choose and combine the right types of behavioral assessment tests for better workforce planning.
The workplace is continually evolving, and the ongoing pandemic has fastened its pace. Most employees are finding it challenging to remain motivated or manage their stress levels, which affects their productivity. Conversely, some employees have performed exceedingly well by demonstrating an exceptional drive to ensure growth.
Imagine being a manager of a remote team during the early days of the lockdown. Your team needs a more streamlined process to accomplish specific tasks. Having a fair idea of who has the propensity to lead can help you push the right team member to take the initiative.
Behavioral assessment methods help recognize the ‘how’ and ‘what’ behind a behavior, enabling you to hire the right candidates, develop the right employees and make informed decisions about your organization’s future leaders. Behavioral evaluations are outcome-oriented and match an individual’s behavioral tendencies with job demands, leading to extended associations and contented employees.
Knowing how your employees respond to specific triggers and behave in certain situations is a boon. Your employees’ behavior can profoundly impact your business’s trajectory. It is therefore implied that understanding your employees’ behavior from the onset safeguards your organization from potential losses, simultaneously boosting the development process by identifying growth opportunities.
Traditional recruitment practices often make it difficult to gauge or predict candidates’ ability to fit into the organization’s culture and/or fulfill job responsibilities as required. Employees are one of the most significant assets of an organization. A bad hire can often create challenging circumstances for an organization, economically and culturally. Traditional recruitment tools are neither objective nor reliable, and often prolong the time-to-hire.
Behavioral evaluation is a powerful tool to match candidates to job roles validly. They accelerate the hiring process by cutting down the time-to-hire while ensuring that decisions are grounded in data and are not instinctive. Behavioral assessment tests secure your organization from a bad hire.
Traditional recruitment often incorporates some form of behavioral interviewing. However, the interview questions are often based on resumes, which simply don’t provide the necessary information to make objective hiring decisions or even to ask the right questions. Individuals applying for a job will be different. They will communicate differently; respond to situations differently; thrive in different environments; react to various stimuli, and respond differently to distinct management styles. A candidate who is a right fit for the job and the organization will flourish and grow, while an unsuitable candidate might feel disengaged and frustrated. These things are difficult to measure through a simple interview.
This is where behavioral assessments make their mark. They provide an in-depth understanding of the candidate’s preferences to predict if they are the right fit easily. Behavioral assessment tests help in screening and selecting the right candidates, thereby delivering an excellent user experience. Since behavioral assessment tests closely emulate the job-role and organization setting, they empower candidates to make the right choice, while marketing the organization’s culture and serving as an excellent branding tool. Combined with behavioral event interviews or competency-based interviews, behavioral assessments lead to a much more accurate representation of the candidate.
The success of any organization largely depends on its people. If you put the right people in the right jobs, they are more likely to perform well and propel the organization towards success.
While domain skills are essential consideration factors at the time of recruitment, apart from cultural fitment, there is a more extensive application of behavioral assessment tests in L&D initiatives. Behavioral assessments provide an in-depth understanding of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. This enables organizations and employees to collectively identify a roadmap for growth that caters to organizational needs and employees’ career plans.
Behavioral assessments can also play an important role in leadership development and succession planning. They provide a brilliant opportunity for organizations to reiterate their vision and values and identify employees who share them. The organization’s shared culture and goal is the foundation to build your behavioral assessment tests for employee development. Depending on the types of behavioral assessments you employ, they can measure your organization’s core competencies, identify skill gaps, create a training plan, contributing to the goal of workforce optimization for future success.
Behavioral evaluation helps identify high-potential employees who can be groomed to assume critical roles and create a pipeline of future leaders. An organization’s keen interest in its employees’ development reduces turnover and improves its efficiency because of objective alignment.
Behavioral evaluation is a systematic determination of a subject’s behavior using various methods like interviews, psychometric testing, direct supervision, and self-assessment. The purpose of behavioral evaluation is to observe, explain, and determine human behavior with advanced assessment tools.
Behavioral evaluation tools are often used together to assess the role-fitment. Often customized to emulate organizational setting and role challenges, these tools are an engaging way to choose the right people for the right job.
Different types of behavioral assessments represent a variety of frameworks to assess key behavioral competencies. These competencies can help employers determine the behavioral strengths of prospective employees. Behavioral assessments are crucial tools that employers use to identify and select candidates whose behavior, skills, knowledge, abilities, values, and ethics align with the company culture.
Behavioral assessment tests can measure a plethora of behavioral tendencies. They include result orientation, teamwork, conflict management, establishing trust and work delegation, etc. A behavioral test probes specific behavioral dispositions with an understanding that behaviors can change easily. Behavior is adaptable and can be observed, meaning it responds and changes according to an external environment.
Here is how organizations can use behavioral tests in their hiring and L&D processes:
Competency-tool mapping involves creating an organization-specific competency framework or using an available framework to identify relevant indicators of behaviors and map them on available tools. Two or more tools are typically combined for a reliable and holistic overview of the test-taker. Competency-tool mapping considers job compatibility with the workplace behaviors required to succeed on the job and in the organization. For instance, caselets can assess business acumen and prompt decision-making, while a case study simulator may better evaluate an analytical and innovative mindset.
Tools and questions are created based on specific job functions. They emulate the job’s realities, posing questions that reflect actual workplace situations.
Content validation is vital to obtain optimal results. Multiple iterations of the content in consultation with subject matter experts and the organization are the best practice to reflect the real essence of the organizational environment.
For online behavioral tests, organizations can opt for virtual assessment centers. They are easy to roll out, highly time and cost-effective, easily scalable and generate instant reports. Conversely, offline tools often involve one or more assessors observing the candidates at a physical or blended assessment center. The reports typically take longer because the assessors need to cull the results together.
The reports should provide a detailed behavioral profile of the test-taker, other than actionable insights and plans for recruiters and L&D experts. Data analysis can help organizations understand the key skill gaps and training needs at a group level. Individual development plans are customized for each test-taker to help them understand and work on their development areas.
These are industry best practices and should ideally be employed for the most effective outcomes.
Mercer | Mettl has a vast repository of behavioral tests and tools that can be used across an employee’s lifecycle, from selection, promotion, upskilling, progression and continual development:
Our behavioral tests can be combined with a rich library of tests – personality, aptitude, and domain – for powerful insights on recruitment and development. You can choose to administer any combination of these tests, based on your requirements, through Mercer | Mettl’s virtual assessments and development center to ensure continuity in your talent management processes.
Behavioral assessment tests are new-age digital tools to measure behavioral competencies in a simulated environment. Behavioral testing requires candidates to demonstrate their behavioral skills in an activity that resembles an actual organizational situation. Behavioral assessments are extensively used in psychology to observe, characterize, explain, and predict behavior. Behavioral assessments are now applied beyond the psychological study. Education and workplace settings widely use behavioral assessment tests to make critical people decisions.
Behavioral assessments are commonly used for recruitment and development initiatives to measure critical competencies required to perform on the job in an organization. Behavioral assessments require individuals to demonstrate behavioral competencies in one or more activities relevant to their job role and resemble an actual organizational situation. Candidates are presented with a series of realistic work-related scenarios with possible actions to be taken. They have to select either the best option or rank the possible actions based on their effectiveness.
One of the features of behavioral assessments is that they can measure a plethora of behavioral competencies and tendencies. They are created based on specific job functions i.e. they are customized to emulate a specific job’s realities, posing questions that reflect actual workplace situations. Behavioral assessments can be administered via virtual assessment centers, making them highly time and cost-effective, and easily scalable. Behavioral assessments can be easily combined with other tools for a holistic evaluation.
The purpose of behavioral assessments is to help recognize the ‘how’ and ‘what’ behind a behavior, enabling you to hire the right candidates, develop the right employees, and make informed decisions about your organization’s future leaders. Behavioral assessments are outcome-oriented and match an individual’s behavioral tendencies with job demands, leading to better workforce management and organizational planning.
Since there is no right or wrong in behavioral assessment tests, there is also no pass or fail in it. Behavioral assessment tests measure behavioral competencies that are aligned with a particular role in a particular organization. Different organizations will have a different parameter to evaluate a behavioral test. What one organization might consider a must-have skill, another might consider peripheral. You should aim to find an organization where your true behavioral skills and potential have a match so that you can enjoy a long association with the organization and continue to grow with it.
Originally published December 4 2019, Updated December 21 2021
Bhuvi is a content marketer at Mercer | Mettl. She's helped various brands find their voice through insightful thought pieces and engaging content. When not scandalizing people with her stories, you’ll find her challenging gender norms, dancing to her own tune, and crusading through life, laughing.
Behavioral assessments are extensively used in education and workplace settings to observe, identify, and explain behavior. In the corporate context, behavioral assessments require individuals to demonstrate behavioral competencies through multiple activities relevant to the job role and resemble an actual organizational situation.