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This is the second article in a series about individual assessments.

In my first article in this series, I discussed the elements you typically find in any assessment: job requirements; testing; and information about the person.

So, the second element – the person – is superimposed onto the first element – job requirements – to determine whether a candidate is a good “fit.” The testing information (the lens), then fits over that job-person combination and gives it greater clarity.

The starting place for any assessment is an understanding of the job requirements for the position you will be assessing. Although jobs are usually described in terms of duties and responsibilities, they can also be described and analyzed in terms of the competencies needed to accomplish those duties and responsibilities. You can also evaluate a person in terms of competencies they have demonstrated in past job situations.

One of our beliefs as assessors is that the best predictor of future performance is past performance. Asking a job candidate for a series of situations from their past in which they were successful will give the assessor an idea of the competencies a candidate possesses today, competencies they should be able to demonstrate in the future.

The bottom line is, can they do the job?

I don’t want to minimize the skills needed to collect these examples from candidates, as well as ask follow-up questions, so what the candidate was doing, thinking and saying is explicit. This takes training and practice. The notes from the interview need to be analyzed for the specific behaviors demonstrated. The assessor needs to be able to support his or her rating of a candidate from interview notes. It may sound easy, but it is tedious and thorough because the assessor wants the evaluation of a candidate to stand-up to any challenge legal or otherwise, now or in the future.

A big difference between assessments for lower- versus senior-level positions is the time involved. Lower-level assessments are less expensive to conduct because there is less consultant’s time involved.  The more labor-intensive an assessment is, the more expensive it is.  So, with lower level assessments, we do the same activities (job analyses, testing and reporting) but we try to automate them or do them more efficiently.

What is included in a lower-level individual assessment?

Job Analysis Questionnaire

A job description is collected from the company for any job being assessed. A job analysis questionnaire is sent to a group of people – typically three or four –who are knowledgeable of the position. Ideally, the supervisor for the position completes the questionnaire, as well as someone who is currently in the position, previously been in the position or a peer to the position.

The results of this questionnaire are mathematically computed and used to establish a specific profile of the job. E.A.S.I-Consult® calls these best fit ranges. The assessor will note instances in which a candidate falls outside (above or below) one of these ranges. This may not prevent someone from being hired, but consideration would need to be given as to how to manage this issue and/or person.

Testing

Three assessments are used: 1) Critical Thinking; 2) Personality; and 3) Learning Agility. The assessments, conducted online, take a few hours for candidates to complete.

The Critical Thinking measure evaluates whether the candidate can handle the thinking and problem- solving parts of the job.

The Personality measure provides information about how aspects of the candidate’s personality would fit or clash with the job requirements.  This isn’t a “pass/fail” result but a question of manageability given job requirements.

For a measure of learning agility, we use the Burke Learning Agility Inventory, which measures how resourceful a person is when faced with the unknown. The results do tell you something about the candidates’ skill and motivation but are also used for future development if someone is hired.

Structured Interviews

The interview takes about 45 minutes and can be done in person or remotely. An assessor can collect examples of four to six competencies in the time allotted. The competencies assessed were described in the first article in this series and are based on the job requirements. The assessor is determining whether the candidate’s examples meet, exceed or do not meet what is needed for the position.

Summary Assessment Reports

These are customizable for each organization. There is an overall summary statement of the candidate’s fit for the position based on all the data collected. There is a summary of the candidate’s key strengths and key areas for concern and/or development. Any lower-level assessment can be made more comprehensive and in depth, which would add consultant time and costs.

There is a short debriefing conversation with the hiring manager, HR and the assessor. The session is usually 15-30 minutes per candidate and used to clarify and elaborate on statements in the report.

My third article in this series will describe the elements of senior-level individual assessments.

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 www.easiconsult.com, email ContactUs@easiconsult.com or call 800.922.EASI.