Inside Spectrum’s Assessment Strategy

Assessments are a standard part of the hiring process at many organizations, but that doesn’t mean companies are leveraging them in the best ways. Sure, they’re used primarily to gauge candidates’ skills and competencies, but if that’s all you’re using them for, you may be missing out on their greater value. To get the most out of assessments, it’s essential to connect them to performance and business results.

At the ERE Recruiting Conference, Nov 7-9, in Atlanta, Jennifer Tracy, Spectrum’s vice president of talent attraction and acquisition, will talk about “Starting From the End: Developing an Assessment Strategy That Connects to Business Outcomes.” She’ll reveal how Spectrum developed its assessment strategy infused with mobile-first approach, chat features, virtual job tryouts, and more.

In advance of her presentation, I spoke to Tracy about how her organization has been using assessments to match candidates to roles better, streamline the candidate funnel, and enhance diversity.

ERE: How do you think assessments typically go underused?

Tracy: There’s often a gap where companies aren’t using them in ways that really add value to the candidate and employee experience. It’s a very under-tapped area. At Spectrum, we developed our Fit Finder assessment to fill this gap. It’s based on the fact that there are so many candidates who come to your door, and they often apply for multiple roles. We see people applying for 10 to 20 positions. Our goal with the assessment is to five them real direction to where they might best fit in the organization. 

The truth is that we don’t always need more applicants. We need the right applicants for the right jobs for them. We want that for our organization, but we also want that for candidates. However, when you hire only a small percentage of people who knock on your door, what happens to the rest? How do you make their experience better? 

One way we do this is by offering the Fit Finder assessment to give them better insights into the best opportunities for them, which often includes orioles they may not have previously thought of.

When in the hiring process are job seekers taking this assessment?

Someone can come to our site and take the assessment without even applying for a job. It takes about 10 minutes or so to complete, and then the person gets a report. We don’t ask people for their information other than an email.

What’s been people’s reaction to this?

We’ve found that job seekers love it. It’s helped them and us get people to the right roles. The report they get gives them information about their personality, work style, and recommended jobs. 

And actually, since we launched it last year, it’s become the most visited content module on our careers site. It also yielded Spectrum’s third largest source of people signing up for job alerts.

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The assessment results suggest certain roles, and even such simple suggestions make people more inclined to investigate those opportunities. It’s partly about leveraging the power of influence in a positive way to improve outcomes. 

I also want to point out that this has improved gender diversity. When we look at hired people who did not take Fit Finder versus those who did, we see that the assessment has helped to improve gender diversity in traditionally male-dominated roles. 

Something else, too We see a much lower candidate withdrawal rates among people who’ve taken the Fit Finder. 

What sort of advice do you have for other organizations looking to implement such assessments into the pre-hire process?

Overall, it’s just so important to think about how to move people along in their career journeys in meaningful ways by providing them with information that will help them reach full potential. Putting an assessment on the front end of the funnel this way can really help job seekers. Also, though, we use this internally, as well, to help our existing employees advance their careers. 

Right now, though, we’ve used this a lot with frontline workers, but as this evolves, we’re looking to expand the assessment into the professional level. I guess the larger point here is that you should never feel like you are done with your assessment strategy. You should never be in a steady state — because technology and candidate preferences are always evolving. So should you be, too.


Want more insights from Jennifer Tracy? Experience her session, “Starting From the End: Developing an Assessment Strategy That Connects to Business Outcomes,” at the ERE Recruiting Conference in Atlanta, Nov. 7-9. 

Vadim Liberman is editor of ERE.net and TLNT (the devil wears TJ Maxx) — a workplace renegade advancing how we think, work, and live. He has previously worked as a strategy consultant to HR and recruiting tech companies at The Starr Conspiracy, as a talent management professional at Prudential, and as senior editor of The Conference Board Review, a magazine for business leaders. Vadim loves to talk about all things HR, talent acquisition, and Bravo TV shows. Bring it!

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