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assessments RSS feed Tag: assessments

What Soft Skills Are

by Oct 3, 2014, 12:03 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 6.13.54 AMTo some, soft skills are code for corporate culture; for others they are the emotional side of working well together as a team and being a team player. Yet to others it represents specific skills that companies spend large amounts of money to develop within their people.

I ask companies small to large what kinds of skills they are looking for in their new recruits.  They often start the conversation by saying “I can teach the hard skills specific to my organization or industry but what I really need are people that are problem solvers, can work in teams, can communicate well, have learned how to learn, and can lead teams.”

What they are saying is they need 21st-century skills or what we are calling soft skills. These five skills below are the essence of soft skills, and every company, no matter its size will either succeed or fail in the 21st century based on how well these skills are developed and used in their organization.

Let’s look at five soft skills and the role they play in your success. keep reading…

What Does Your CEO Know About Talent Assessment?

by Aug 26, 2014, 12:24 am ET

Q: What does your CEOs know about talent assessment?

A: Nothing and everything.

Let me explain. keep reading…

Why Social Job Matching Will Replace Talent Assessment Tests

by Jun 5, 2014, 12:43 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.43.34 AMTalent assessment continues to grow as a legitimate business tool. Times have never been better for those who provide and use talent assessment solutions. Despite the seemingly infinite complexities that can come with the territory, companies of all shapes and sizes are realizing the business value of using assessments to support insight on quality of hire.

As good a tool as talent assessment is, it remains old fashioned and continues to have trouble getting out of its own way. The real disruptive force in quality of hire will take the form of “social job matching.” keep reading…

How to Hire People Who Think: Use Games

by May 14, 2014, 12:24 am ET
photo by Mark Chussil

photo by Mark Chussil

If you want to recruit people who have knowledge, test their knowledge. If you want to recruit people who have experience, ask for job histories. And if you want to recruit people who can think, watch them think.

I’m a strategist, not a recruiter. I’ve been around. I’ve seen people who think strategically and those who don’t. I’ve learned what kind of people I want on my team. I’ve learned what kind of person I want to be.

The way you can tell a strategic thinker is not by gender, age, education, experience, nationality, ethnicity, or industry. (There’s some evidence political preferences may reflect strategic thinking, but I’m not going to go there.) The way you can tell a strategic thinker is by observing them thinking strategically. What you want to do is to observe their thinking early and at low cost; that is, when you hire them. keep reading…

Hiring Employees Who Are ‘Customer-Ready’

by Feb 3, 2014, 12:55 am ET

The Age of the Customer is the title and the focus of Jim Blasingame’s new book. I like the tagline even more — Prepare For The Moment of Relevance.

This got me thinking about manpower — human capital — whether are our employees capable of preparing for that moment of delivering service in an epic way? Moreover, how does the organization consider this in the hiring and recruiting process — hiring employees who are “customer-ready” and prepared to deliver exceptional service in that moment of relevance.” keep reading…

This Is Not a Test — It’s the Future! Talent Assessment Trends for 2014

by Jan 28, 2014, 12:29 am ET

“Know what’s weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change, but pretty soon … everything’s different.”  – Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes (by Bill Watterson)

This quote from a cartoon hero who uses his overactive imagination to both entertain us and teach us valuable lessons about life represents a perfect summary of my thoughts about the future of the talent assessment industry.

To see the future, we have to be willing to take a good long look at what is happening in the talent acquisition world within the context of bigger picture trends. The mega trends that are shaping the future of how people do things on a global basis (i.e., empowerment via access to information, exponential growth in connectivity, ability to crunch and interpret staggering amounts of data, using collective intelligence to find truth) are all quietly at work setting the stage for major change in our industry.  keep reading…

To Hire Well, First Define What You Need

by Jan 14, 2014, 5:52 am ET

A friend of my neighbor manages a call center. He has had, as he puts it, the worst luck in finding people who both do a good job and stay. I asked how he sources his talent, and he showed me his boilerplate posting:

Wanted – experienced call center employees.

There was some other generic ad text, but that was about it. You can believe that no two people have the same definition of what this means. His lack of clarity about the behaviors, skills, and experience he needs in his roles encourages his swinging employment door.

As a workplace consultant and executive coach, I see the reason recruiting is so difficult is that most organizations don’t have and religiously use a process to clearly, fully, and accurately define the role’s qualifications; this includes behaviors in addition to skills and experience. keep reading…

Why Your Recruiting Needs to Go Mobile and How to Do It

by Nov 19, 2013, 6:24 am ET

If I were looking for a job and searched one at for your company on my mobile phone, what would I find? If you are like most firms, I will find a site heavy with text and hard to read on a phone screen. If I get even get to the stage of applying for a job, I would find it impossible without going to your career site.

If that describes your firm, you might want to think about developing a mobile-friendly recruiting process. keep reading…

What I Learned About Assessments From a Human Resources Technology Conference

by Oct 23, 2013, 5:28 am ET

For those who love technology and value it as an essential asset to the people side of business strategy, a conference held this near in Las Vegas, the HR Technology Conference, never disappoints. This year was no exception. It  seemed to be the biggest edition yet with a dizzying array of companies offering a wide range of solutions across the entire HR landscape.

I saw the major themes permeating the trade show floor as: unprecedented levels of individual accessibility and control over information of all types; social connectivity and easy integration of everything; data and analytics attached to most things; on-demand learning everywhere one turns; and technology as a means to support personal, corporate, and social responsibility.

I’ll leave the details of the big picture views to other analysts whom I feel have offered great insights, and drill down to my specialty areas: talent acquisition and specifically talent assessments. keep reading…

Learn to Identify the Qualities You Really Want in Your Next Hire

by Oct 2, 2013, 6:22 am ET

Many business leaders take a gut instinct approach to selecting talent. This means they know in their gut what they want their candidates to look like, but don’t take the time to fully develop a profile of the ideal person into a measurable description. Even if the ideal candidate is described in a job posting or a job description, it is often vague and lacks clear direction. In a recent exercise with a group of business owners and executives, we explored some of the qualities they looked for in candidates. I made two distinct observations and came to one conclusion. keep reading…

Like it or Not, You Are Testing Applicants (Part 2 of 2)

by Sep 20, 2013, 6:44 am ET

In Part 1, I explained that job skills walk around on two feet; past achievements are less important than the skills used to accomplish them; employers rent two-legged skills to do specific jobs; and headhunters produce about the same hiring quality as internal recruiters. I suggested readers Google “Principles for the validation and use of personnel selection procedures”and follow the SIOP.org link; and, read how applicants feel about organizations that follow best-practices.

In Part 2, I’ll continue the discussion.

Proficiency Test

If you want to learn whether HR is doing a good job screening candidates for critical job skills, ask the hiring manager. keep reading…

Like it or Not, You Use Tests (Part 1 of 2)

by Sep 18, 2013, 6:38 am ET

Two comedians are talking…

“Do you test applicants?”

“We don’t use tests.”

“Oh. You hire everyone who applies?”

“No … just the ones who pass interviews.”

“You know, interviews are tests.”

“We don’t use tests.”

You see, it’s a crazy conversation you hear in the corporate attorney’s office as often as the HR department. Everyone seems to forget that testing and assessment are just different terms for evaluating whether someone is job-qualified … like interviews. And, if an organization has more than one candidate lined up for a job, by definition they will use some kind test to separate those they think can do the job from those who cannot. FYI … research shows everyone’s favorite tool, the interview (aka test), tends to discriminate against minorities.

Remember: If you have more candidates than jobs, you use tests. keep reading…

Flunking the Test: Demystifying Pre-Employment Testing

by Sep 5, 2013, 1:37 am ET

The sad truth is, in the pursuit of money, needing a job and fear of failure, people create false resumes and falsify information when they go to an interview. To help ensure candidates are who they say they are, many companies do pre-employment testing before even doing an interview, let alone making an offer.

Questions to consider when choosing a testing or assessment program include: keep reading…

Hackathons Are Today’s Most Powerful Recruiting Tool

by Sep 4, 2013, 6:45 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 3.27.24 PMThe secret weapon in tech recruiting today is the hackathon. Most notably on college campuses the mega-hackathon has emerged as the top event for sourcing quality engineers. What started as friendly meetups organized by on-campus tech clubs has evolved into massive and disruptive hackathons with more than 1,000 students participating and companies like Facebook and Google swarming to shell out tens of thousands of sponsorship dollars. But not everyone has bought into the frenzy and some are maintaining an autonomous and even purist approach.

Hackathon as Recruiter keep reading…

The New College-grad Test Is Better Than GPA, But Proceed With Caution

by Aug 29, 2013, 6:45 am ET

cae-logoAs long as I have been in business, hiring managers have been trying to pin a magic number on job candidates in the hope it will indicate future job performance. Sometimes that number is a GPA, combined test score, or even past earnings. Now we have the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) … a test given to new college graduates and scored like the SAT. But guess what? Magic numbers are just that … magic!

Magic is the art of illusion. That is, a magician creates illusions using sleight of hand that deceives the audience. Hiring decisions based on a number are sleight of hand because they lead people to think everything about a person can be reduced to a few digits. But anyone with enough years on the job and the professional savvy to systematically compare job performance to pre-employment test scores (i.e., studies … not stories) knows this is only part of the performance story. keep reading…

What’s a Degree Worth? A New Test Will Help Employers Know What a Graduate Has Learned

by Aug 29, 2013, 1:18 am ET

Letterman-BuildingIs a degree from Harvard worth more than one from Oklahoma State? By how much? A year at Harvard costs $52,650 versus about $9,000 at OSU. So is a graduate of Harvard almost six times better than one of OSU?

You may soon be able to tell, courtsey of a new test called the Collegiate Learning Assessment that supposedly provides an objective, benchmarked report card for critical-thinking skills. keep reading…

What Have You Done for Me Lately? Entrance to the C-suite Requires Data on the Economic Impact of Job Performance

by Aug 6, 2013, 12:58 am ET

If I hear one more speech about how HR needs to be strategic, I may lose it. Of course, we all want and need to make a difference, get noticed, and help our companies be successful. I’m not trying to suggest that we avoid the idea of thinking strategically, but there is only one true way to be strategic when in front of business leadership: show them the money!

Until we HR, talent acquisition, and talent management professionals have the tools and know-how needed to directly quantify the economic impact of our efforts to hire people who will perform effectively, it will be hard  for us to be truly strategic and triumph in our quest to be taken seriously by the C suite. While there is no doubt that the tools used to predict which applicants will be the best performers provide an important contribution, the only way to gain insight into the value of these tools is to tie their effectiveness directly to financial metrics of job performance. Unfortunately, this has proven to be a major challenge.

Below is a short list of the major roadblocks to HR (specifically talent acquisition and talent management) being truly strategic when it comes to measuring the economic impact of the hiring process. Since the value of the hiring process hinges on the ability to show the impact on the bottom line through the people who are contributing to it, these issues all center around problems related to translating insight about workplace performance into financial metrics. This is a data problem and thus it is no surprise that all of these roadblocks are related to the data used to measure job performance. These issues include: keep reading…

Hiring for Both Attitude and Aptitude

by Jul 18, 2013, 6:30 am ET

Lately there has been a push to hire based on cultural fit, over skill set. There are several reasons that this makes sense. When you hire for cultural fit you end up with a more cohesive workforce, and it improves engagement and retention rates. Leadership IQ performed a three-year study of 5,247 hiring managers and tracked 20,000 new hires; 46 percent of them failed within 18 months.

But even more surprising than the failure rate was that when new hires failed, 89 percent of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11 percent of the time for a lack of skill. Bad attitudes or attitudes that aren’t in line with the company culture will lead to high turnover. High turnover then leads to low morale, upset productivity, and high talent acquisitions costs. It’s clear then: hire the smile!

But wait, there’s another side to this equation. keep reading…

How Valid Is This Test?

by Jul 16, 2013, 6:45 am ET

9781118531181_cover.inddNo business wants to spend time and money on a measurement method that does not work. This is why most businesses know to ask this basic question: “How valid is this method or test?” The challenge only begins here, though, because you then need to be able to understand and evaluate the answer. To help you, try following these seven tactics.

(Excerpted with permission from the publisher, Wiley, from Talent Intelligence: What You Need to Know to Identify and Measure Talent by Nik Kinley and Shlomo Ben-Hur. Copyright © 2013.)

Ask for Evidence. We were recently looking at the validity of a popular U.S. interviewing system that described itself as being accurate and valid. On a Web page entitled “Validity,” the vendor described a wide variety of research showing that interviews can be valid predictors of success. Yet there was not a single mention of any research that the vendor had conducted into the validity of its own system. So rule No, 1 is that you need to get specific and ask vendors for the evidence that their particular method or tool is valid. And beware of statements such as, “The test is predictive,” but do not come with any specific validity figures or evidence.

keep reading…

The Problem With Personality Tests

by Jul 12, 2013, 6:03 am ET

It seems counterintuitive. Some people claim that personality has everything to do with job performance. Others know that every piece of serious research shows personality scores have almost nothing to do with job skills. I’ll repeat that: personality scores seldom, if ever, equal skills.

Soooo, if personality has nothing to do with skills, why do so many organizations used it to predict job performance? The answer depends on how and where you look. keep reading…