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Taking the First Step with Employee Assessments

March 27, 2012

If my upcoming work travel schedule is any indication of the recovering economy, assessments are on a strong up-swing as national organizations begin to staff up.  Assessments, once perceived as a cold, impersonal substitute for an interview and handshake, burgeoned in this most recent decade and the world’s leading employers are now using assessments as part of their comprehensive pre-employment hiring process.  After all, human capital is the most important investment you can make (and it’s a heck of a lot easier to hire someone than it is to fire someone, right?).

Have assessments piqued your interest?  Don’t know where to start?  Just take it, one step at a time….

  1. The First Step: Is admitting you have a….goal.  It could be that your call center is a revolving door of personnel.  It could be that you want to build a Sales force of “hunter/gatherers” to build your market share.  It could be that you just want to be more in tune with the developmental needs of your incoming employees.
  2. The Second Step: Do some research on the agencies that specialize in selection.  If you really want to be prepared, check into the field of Industrial/Organizational Psychology, as this is likely the discipline of the individuals who will be offering you their solutions.
  3. The Third Step: Put out a request for proposals.  Have all responding organizations prove to you why they are the best.  Five key questions: 1) What have you done for similar employers in my field – ask for specific data; 2) What do your assessments measure; 3) What do your assessments predict (e.g. decreased turnover, performance, organizational commitment); 4) What do your assessments/solutions cost; 5) How are your clients’ legal records against lawsuits, using your selection process?
  4. The Fourth Step: Review their data.  Map what the presenters said onto your organizational needs.  Did they match?  Did they give you confidence that their solutions work?  Can you afford the solution?  Are you confident your system would stand up to a legal challenge?
  5. The Fifth Step: Meet your potential project manager.  Your PM is just as important as the tools you plan to use.  You will have questions, confounds, and difficulties that come up with your process, and by all means you should ask.  Will your PM answer your call?  Will she/he try to help you come to a solution that doesn’t revolve around boosting their billable hours?  I/O psychologists work in an inherently gray area that is human behavior, and no selection system is ever a “set it and forget it.”  Your needs will change, their solutions will evolve and sooner or later your boss is going to ask if the system is “really” working.  Your PM should be right there ready to help with any of these challenges that may arise.


From there, the decision should be easy.  I’ll let you take it from there.  See….much easier than you thought wasn’t it?

Not sure which assessment is for you? Check out our whitepaper Are All Assessments Alike?

Are all assessments alike Whitepaper

Adam Hilliard