Every employer wants to choose a job candidate who they believe is the strongest, brightest, and best culture fit for the company. While resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles are strong tools for considering a new hire’s skills and experience, a temperament or behavioral assessment can help even more.
What Are Behavioral Assessments?
Behavioral assessments are a tool from the field of psychology used for observing, describing, explaining, and predicting behavior. When used in the interviewing process, they aid in differentiating candidates beyond nearly identical or comparable levels of skill, experience, and education by providing a better understanding of the “whole person.
Through the intelligence offered by science-based assessments, you can objectively align behaviors important for success in a given role because certain behavioral traits are correlated with a greater chance of success in some jobs over others. Assessments also help you nurture new hires in ways productive for them, thereby increasing new-hire retention.
Debbie Dodson, a Certified DISC Behavioral Coach and Trainer adds, “Behavioral competencies are just as important as hard skill competencies for today’s organizations. Measuring behavioral competencies helps in the hiring of people who are the right fit for specific positions, as well as in identifying candidates who can be groomed for leadership opportunities in the future. Assessments can predict how well employees will work together, and if the candidate will be a good fit for company culture.“
Types of Assessments
There are many different types of behavioral assessments available for use in the hiring process (and can also be used for coaching, ongoing employee development, and team building) that are science-based, such as DISC, RoundPegg and Meyers-Briggs, just to name a few. Organizations should research and determine which appraisement will best help them determine the strengths and soft skills they are looking for in candidates.
When to Administer a Behavioral Assessment
It is most common to use behavioral assessments when hiring for higher-level positions. In a 2017 survey, SHRM found that 32% of participants were using personality and behavioral assessment for executive-level roles, and 28% were using them for middle managers. If a company finds success using an assessment for a higher-level position, they may find it valuable for additional positions within the organization.
Beware of Unintentional Discrimination
It is important to keep in mind that behavioral and personality assessments can have a discriminatory affect. This should be taken into account when determining the type of test, you will administer. In 2018, Best Buy and CVS reached agreements with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to stop using their personality assessments after investigations found that the tests likely adversely impacted applicants based on race and national origin. In 2015, Target agreed to pay $2.8 million to resolve a charge that its use of personality tests during pre-employment screening violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It is not wise to assume that because a vendor states that a test is not biased that the reason will stand up in a lawsuit. It is important to statistically validate the assessment or an organization could be susceptible to unintentional bias. This includes analyzing test scores with factors such as gender or race. If an assessment has disparate impact or unintentional discrimination, organizations will need to justify that decisions are being made based on business necessity.
Determining the assessment best for your organization will be a process and will take time to research and decide upon. After an assessment tool has been determined, ensure it is implemented properly and fairly among all potential candidates and that it provides each candidate with equal opportunity for employment.
The Bottom Line
Behavioral assessments are a fair and objective way to uncover a candidate’s assets and shortcomings. However, do not eliminate a candidate solely on the results of a behavioral profile. It’s impossible to fully measure a person with any pre-screening test. Therefore, any assessment you use should only account for a fraction of your decision.
With that in mind, the competencies that assessments measure—work ethic, teamwork, customer focus, etc.—are important in virtually every job and are worth taking the time to measure. And using assessments through all ranks of new hires can be an excellent and efficient method for developing a baseline throughout your entire organization, from top to bottom.
For assistance related to hiring and new hire assessments, contact Close HR Connections.