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5 Less Obvious Tips to Help You Find the Right Employee Assessment

August 20, 2015

ThinkstockPhotos-468874715If you’re like me, you’ve probably made some purchases simply based on the fact that the items looked cool, only to have them fall short of your needs soon after. It's human nature to be attracted to what's on the outside, but it often doesn’t make for good decisions. It’s important to look below the surface and peer inside at the way it works and the quality of the parts before making a final decision or commitment.

This same mistake is often made in the hiring process. I see it all the time – a hiring manager is fooled by a slick resume or interview because a candidate presents a positive image and makes you believe they have all of the qualities you want. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to actually see how your candidates work? Employee assessments can do just that. Just be certain that you are choosing the right assessment and provider.

Below are five tips to help you choose the right assessment partner:

1. Define Your Needs. Before exploring assessment options, first determine your organization's internal needs and what you want to get from the assessment(s). Are you looking to reduce turnover? Or maybe you’re trying to improve workplace safety. Also, think about the length of the assessment. Do you want something that will give you a great profile of each candidate, but will take longer to complete? Or a shorter assessment that won't give you as much data? Seek input and involve the appropriate people.

2. Strong Foundation in Research. To get the outcomes you need, the assessment tools must be based on sound research and theory-driven content. Ask for this information ahead of time. No matter how cool the solution looks and sounds, pass it up if you can't talk directly with the behind-the-scenes people at the organization to discuss why they're measuring what they're measuring, what it's based on, and what validity evidence exists for your industry or position. Have you ever asked for this information? If so, was the vendor forthcoming with valuable information?

3. Documented Job Relatedness. Whatever selection process you choose, be sure it's legally defensible. Take the appropriate steps (e.g., job analyses) to establish job relatedness between the position and your assessment tools. Using assessment tools without establishing a linkage between the job and the tool puts your organization at risk for legal challenges.

4. Data Accessibility. As the client, you are entitled to the testing information that is collected - it belongs to you. Your assessment partner should be able and willing to provide analyses, reports and data interpretation as needed.

5. Service Orientation. With many organizations, there is the honeymoon effect - you get a lot of personalized attention and extra perks in the beginning, but the level of service drops over time. You should expect - and demand - excellent service and continuous improvement. You may have to do some digging for this. Ask to speak with current clients to get their take on the customer service of any potential vendors. Even after the assessment is in place, the provider should monitor its performance and work with you to constantly evaluate the data.

If you follow these simple guidelines, you'll have an assessment partner who is committed to ensuring you have the best tools to hire the best people. Making the right choice based on job-relevant information will lead to better decisions every time. Don't be fooled by what’s on the outside, take a look on the inside too.

The Ultimate Hiring Manager’s Guide

Amie Lawrence, Ph.D. Amie Lawrence, Ph.D. is the Manager of Product Development at PSI. She is an expert in the design, development and validation of psychological assessment tools. An integral member of PSI since 2000, Amie has led the development of numerous competency-based assessments, including online in-baskets, job simulations and motivational fit instruments.