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The Pitfalls of Homegrown Assessments

April 11, 2017

My favorite section of the grocery store is the cheese aisle. Why? Because it's full of cheese.

homegrown_employee_assessment.jpgA few months ago, as I browsed through rows of brie and gouda, I noticed that mozzarella was on sale. I decided to try my hand at making pizza. After all, how hard could it be? Within a month, I owned an expensive pizza stone, and I was toying with the idea of making my own water filtration system to replicate Brooklyn water. And yet, none of the pizzas I've made have come close to my favorite downtown shop.

This is not the first time I've found myself knee-deep in a new hobby, with Amazon boxes showing up at my door every other day. I enjoy tinkering and creating things on my own. This kind of attitude can be great for a hobby, but not when it comes to your business. The troubling fact is, we see a lot of organizations come to us after they've taken this 'homegrown' approach with their employee assessments. They learn - the hard way - that trying to identify motivated, conscientious, and successful employees is not the time to tinker and figure it out as you go.

Pitfalls of Homegrown Employee Assessments

There are many more, but here are what I'd consider to be the top 3 Pitfalls of using a homegrown assessment system:

  • The legality is questionable, at best. While your top priority is to find the best people, you always want to make sure that you're doing so in a legally defensible manner. Your organization can face adverse impact litigation if you're using an assessment without the guidance of an Industrial-organizational psychologist. Not only are I-O psychologists up-to-date on these frequently changing laws, they know how to maximize the effectiveness of an assessment without sacrificing legal protection. This one-two punch can be extremely difficult to accomplish on your own.

  • How do you know if it's working? Pizza dough is one thing; if I mess up a batch, I can tell right away. I can start fresh with little time or investment wasted. But the effects of a sound selection system take time and research to understand. You may think you've dialed in on the key components of a successful hire, but what happens when massive turnover occurs six months later? Will you be able to pinpoint if, or how, this was foreshadowed in the assessment results? Without understanding the precision of your tool, it will be difficult to know how to improve or make changes later down the line. By investing in an assessment process developed by a trained group of professionals, you can be confident in its utility and learn how even minor changes can greatly influence the standard of your average hire.

  • It shouldn't be a hobby. There's a reason that my pizza will never taste quite as good as a slice from Romeo's back home: Pizza is not my life's work. At Select International, the development of accurate employee assessments is not a hobby - it's our life! We have decades of experience and extensive knowledge to support our assessments and recommendations. Every day, we benefit from the experience to learn from the past, and the science to look toward the future. We don't just consult the top research journals, we're published in them! When you use an established group of professionals to help with your selection or development needs, you're getting a wealth of research, science, and experience. A homegrown assessment simply cannot compare.

So, save the tinkering for your next recipe or home remodeling project - who knows, you might discover a great new hobby or hidden talent! But leave the assessments to us.

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Jaclyn Menendez, Ph.D. Jaclyn Menendez, Ph.D. is a Project Consultant at PSI based out of Fort Collins, Colorado. Her areas of expertise include testing, assessments, and project management. Jaclyn has contributed to the development, validation, and implementation of assessments with various clients. She has managed, analyzed, and presented data analyses for content and criterion validation studies.