How Staffing Assessment Tools Work

Avesta helps clients build a consistent “compensatory” hiring and selection process. Our programs are intended to provide hiring managers with a measurable due-diligence process. A compensatory process includes a combination of three basic data elements about each candidate: Experience: what have they done? Motives: what do they want to do? Talents and Competency Do they possesses the ability and behaviors to “fit” the job.

Assessment tools can be broken into three general categories:

• Drug Screens, Background Checks and Physical-Abilities Tests measure very specific things about candidates’ history or personal characteristics. As a result, their effectiveness is limited primarily to jobs in which criminal history, drug use, and the ability to perform physical functions are significant employee-performance issues.

• Qualifications Screens and Knowledge Tests are good for measuring highly objective or “visible” things related to experience and motives such as education or salary expectations. It is relatively easy to build a 15-minute qualifications screen to “screen out” candidates who lack the minimum requirements for a job. However, qualifications screens are not effective for identifying less visible characteristics related to things such as problem-solving, honesty, leadership, or customer service. These measures are also relatively easy for candidates to fake.

• Talent Measures, Culture Fit and Values Inventories, Job Simulations, and Structured Interviews can effectively measure less visible candidate characteristics that influence job performance such as interpersonal style, motivation, and analytical skills. These assessment tools are good for “selecting in” candidates who not only can do the job, but also are likely to do it well. These tools are also among the most difficult to build and tend to require at least 30 minutes or more to complete. In addition, their complexity makes them susceptible to poor design and misuse. These tools should not be used unless a company is willing to spend the time and resources to ensure that they are used correctly.

The needs and goals of an organization determine which assessments to use:

Increasing Job Performance — If they are appropriately matched to the job, talent measures designed to assess work style and ability are usually the best predictors of job performance. Structured interviews and job simulations are also effective but require more time and resources from recruiters and/or hiring managers.

Increasing Tenure — Culture fit and values inventories tend to be the most effective for predicting tenure. Well-designed qualifications screens can also predict tenure, particularly for less complex entry-level jobs.

Increasing Staffing Efficiency — Qualifications screens tend to provide the highest level of return in terms of efficiently processing candidates. This is particularly true when they are integrated with a candidate-management or applicant-tracking system. Web-based talent measures can also be effective for rapidly evaluating candidates.

Decreasing Counterproductive Behavior – Personality tests, background checks, and drug screens tend to be the most effective for screening out candidates who are likely to engage in counterproductive behavior such as theft, drug use, or workplace aggression.