Should You Use Employee Assessment Software?

As the war for talent heightens, don’t you wish you had a secret weapon that would help you hire only the best candidates? In a recent survey, forty percent of human resource executives said they have such a weapon–they are using special software to inform their hiring decisions, according to executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, Inc. And, those HR execs who aren’t currently using the software apparently would like to, as 80 percent of all respondents felt it is a useful tool and should continue to be a part of the hiring process. The question is, how accurate and effective is such software? Should you use employee assessment software?

Personally, we at Amtec have found that nothing can replace a face-to-face, well-planned behavioral interview with a candidate to dig into his or her fit for an open position. This is why we offer to prepare our clients for their interviews by creating a a behavioral interview guide customized to their specific job opening. Choosing ten competencies required by the role and creating behavioral questions to match each one is a great way to learn what you really need to know. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t try to acquire an extra piece of the puzzle that makes up your candidate. The coaching firm agrees:

“One-on-one interaction in the interview process should never be abandoned, as it remains an effective way to assess whether a candidate is a good fit for the company. However, we humans are not perfect and our preconceptions, prejudices, and experiences can dramatically shape the way we judge others,” said Challenger. “Online assessments don’t have preconceptions or prejudices. And, they can be quite effective and catching things a human interviewer might easily overlook. These missed attributes will eventually come to light, but usually not until the company has already invested significant resources on hiring and training the individual.”

But are these assessments accurate? One way of determining a test’s accuracy is to have top performers in certain fields take the assessment and use their answers as a benchmark. When subsequent candidates’ answers match the benchmark, it is assumed that they, too, will likely be top performers. However, we personally have seen employees who didn’t meet the benchmark but happily turned out to be top performers. On the other hand, we’ve seen candidates who tested very well, got hired, and yet ultimately were unable to perform the role for which they were hired.

It’s wise to think of assessments as simply a springboard to acquire more information about your candidates. A good assessment asks the same question three or more times, worded differently each time, with the goal of consistent results that show a pattern. If respondents give three different answers to the same question, this may indicate that they don’t know themselves and their goals very well. It’s cause to dig deeper into that area during your next interview with them.

Just because there’s a talent shortage doesn’t mean you should settle for just any candidate, but should you use employee assessment software in your hiring process? If it gives you a clearer picture of your candidates, then yes, it can be helpful. But your best method of getting to the truth is still to conduct well-planned, face-to-face, behavioral interviews. Past behavior continues to be the best predictor of future performance.

Are you susceptible to being misled by first impressions? Find out more here.

Click here or call (714) 993-1900 to request an employee or discuss a workforce management issue.

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