Chris Russell

3 min read

Human Resources

How to Use Talent Assessment Tools

In the fierce competition for talent today, companies are turning to talent assessment tools to give them a leg up in hiring and promoting workers who not only have the skills for the job, but who will also be a good fit.

Recruiters use talent assessment tools to test the extent of a job candidate’s know-how, learn their work style and see if their personality is a good match for the company culture. These tools help predict a candidate’s performance in the job, providing both recruiters and hiring managers greater insight into a candidate than a resume and interview alone can.

Recruiting may be the best-known use of talent assessment tools, but it’s far from the only way these tools help companies made smarter workforce decisions.

A report by the Society for Human resource Management says machine learning and artificial intelligence have broadened the reach of the newest talent assessment tools. Beside hiring, SHRM says these tools today are used to “evaluate current employees for different roles, identify employees with high leadership potential, compare talent within an organization against industry or geographical benchmarks, understand talent strengths and gaps, and develop employees’ long-term value.”

The SHRM practice report details a dozen different types of assessments beginning with the more common and familiar job knowledge and personality tests to such specialized ones as writing and physical fitness, which, the report explains, “require candidates to perform actual work tasks to determine whether they can meet the physical requirements of a job.”

5 Types of Talent Assessments

The most widely used assessments fall into four or five broad categories: skills specific to the job, personality and behavior, cognitive which covers critical thinking and communication, and integrity, which is just what it sounds like.

There are talent assessment tools designed to test each of these areas. Many are intended for specific job types. A Google search for “talent assessment tools for customer service representative” turns up dozens, with several specific to individual industries. The hospitality industry alone has multiple generic talent assessment tools available, while most of the largest hotel groups have their own customized tools

Before deciding what talent assessment tools to use SHRM says, “The first step in selecting an assessment tool is to understand what the target job or role requires the employee to do by conducting a job analysis that focuses on identifying critical work activities and/or competencies.”

This may seem obvious, yet as the example illustrates there are any number of different types of customer service jobs. Generic talent assessment tools abound, however their predictive value for a specific job and industry will be limited. Knowing not just the broad job category, but what the specific role entails and how it’s to be performed is essential to selecting the right talent assessment tool.

The next steps in choosing the right tool, as the SHRM report explains, is to determine the validity of the test and its potential for adversely and unfairly impacting protected groups such as those over 40, minorities and women. In addition, how will those being tested react? And, of course, what’s the cost?

Talent Assessment Validity

SHRM’s practice guide goes into detail about each of these decision points. Briefly, what you need to consider are:

  • Validity: Does the test reliably predict performance? Criterion validity is the relationship between scores on the test and actual business outcomes. Content validity means that what the assessment tests for is directly relevant to the job or the desired behaviors.
  • Adverse impact: Consider whether the test leads to a disproportionate hiring of a majority group versus the minority group. Says SHRM, “If an assessment produces an adverse impact, the only way to defend its use is by showing that it is a valid predictor of performance and that alternative measures are not feasible.”
  • Candidate reaction: Especially in pre-hiring assessments, the test-taker reaction is critical. A negative experience can be expensive to the company, causing it not only to lose the job applicant, but others swayed by reviews posted online. Test-takers have a more positive reaction to talent assessment tests that measure work behavior via simulations and work samples versus abstract and hypothetical multiple-choice tests.
  • Costs: Off-the-shelf talent assessment tools will cost less than those built specifically for a company or job. Technology has reduced the overall cost substantially. Most tests are talent online with scoring and ranking automated.

There are many excellent, valid assessments available today for nearly ever industry and job. Whether customized or off-the-shelf, talent assessment tools can help recruiters and managers – and individual employees themselves — make better, more informed workforce and career decisions.

### Contribution by John Zappe ###

About Emissary

Emissary is a candidate engagement platform built to empower recruiters with efficient, modern communication tools that work in harmony with other recruiting solutions.

Book a Demo

Stay in the loop!

Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter and keep up to date with the latest Recruiting and HR tips and trends.

By clicking send you’ll receive occasional emails from us.

Ready to speed up your hiring process?

Start texting candidates and get better results today.
Book a Demo