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This is the first article in a three-part series focused on individual assessments.

Individual assessments are not executive searches. We don’t find the people; we evaluate your finalist candidates once you get to that point in your process.

Some people believe anyone can do an interview. While technically true, conducting a quality interview that gathers specific, legally defensible information about a candidate is a skill. Interview questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” seldom provides informative, insightful data about a candidate’s ability to perform a job.

How do you increase your chances of making better selection decisions? What is an individual assessment?

There are two key considerations with individual assessments: time and money.

Is the time allotted to fill the positions a constraint? Leadership may want the person “yesterday,” but what is the reality? What are the steps in your process? Those steps could include things like sourcing candidates, phone screenings, in-person interviews, written assessments, and decision-making discussions. Who is going to do what? Are some of the steps sequential and can others be parallel?

On the money side of things, how much is your organization comfortable spending to get the best “C-level” person? Senior level candidates expect more personal attention so be sure your process contains the right amount of human “touch” with candidates.

The depth of information you want to collect about the job and about the person in the structured interview, as well as how extensive the assessment report is, all take an assessor’s time. And time translates to cost. These are not right or wrong decisions but ones of tradeoffs.

Another aspect of assessment is that it consists of two parts: the job and the person. We are trying to find the person who is the best fit for the position.

job circle intersecting with person circle

On the job side of the equation, you start with a job description to understand the required competencies. E•A•S•I-Consult® also relies on a job analysis questionnaire and job analysis interview (typically with the hiring manager and HR manager) to understand the key requirements and challenges of the role. Our assessments can be built either on an organization’s existing competency model or on E•A•S•I-Consult’s own proprietary 4-Factor Model. Based on years of research and practice across industries, E•A•S•I-Consult created a list of competencies that are organized around four domains: Cognitive, Emotional, Interpersonal and Motivational.

4 intersecting circles entitled cognitive, emotional, interpersonal, motivational

There are 24 competencies in the model, which has three levels: 1) Individual Contributor; 2) Manager; and 3) Senior Manager. The labels for the competencies are the same no matter what level but the behaviors required to perform at each level are different.

We try to limit the number of competencies a company uses to describe a job to between six and ten. We encourage the organization to pick at least one competency from each of the four domains. This creates more balance in what is being assessed.

On the people side of the equation, E•A•S•I-Consult’s individual assessments look at information in three areas: Critical thinking; Personality; and Learning Agility. We recommend using these three measures no matter what level the assessment

Personality is relatively fixed by adulthood. The Personality assessment will, based on the requirements of the job, tell us about “fit” or any struggles the person may have to accomplish the job challenges. The Critical Thinking assessment will tell us whether the candidate can handle the intellectual parts of the job, the parts that require thought. The Learning Agility assessment gives us an indication of how the person will handle the unknown. How important to the candidate is it to overcome what they don’t know?

All the information collected during the assessments is combined into a report. What differentiates the reports and affects assessment cost is how automated versus individually written they are for each person being assessed and whether or not the organization wants developmental feedback and how much feedback included in the report.

All reports start with an Overall Summary. There is reference made to critical thinking, personality fit with the job and learning agility capability. There is also a summary of competency capability. Some reports have bullet descriptions. The more elaborate senior-level assessments describe capabilities in detail with examples.

There is time built in for the assessor, hiring manager and HR staff to discuss the reports. The length of these sessions will vary on the complexity of the assessment. What should be clear is that individual assessments involve people decisions based on science.

In the next two articles, I will discuss in more depth the detail for individual assessments at entry and assessment at the senior level. Assessments for middle managers combine elements from the other two types of assessments and may lean more heavily in one direction or another, depending on the hiring organization.

David Hoff is the chief operation officer and executive vice president for leadership development at E•A•S•I-Consult®. E•A•S•I-Consult works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized corporations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. E•A•S•I-Consult specialties include individual assessment, online employment testing, survey research, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. The company is a leader in the field of providing accurate information about people through professional assessment. To learn more about E•A•S•I-Consult, visit https://easiconsult.com, email ContactUs@easiconsult.com or call 800.922.EASI.