Leadership for Life – Assessments

By on May 18, 2015
Leadership for Life - Assessments

One of the most important tasks of a great leader is to make sure the right people are in the right jobs. During the recruiting/hiring process, we have all sorts of tools that we use to make sure we’re making the best selection – resumes, interviews, assessments, etc. After all is said and done, we can only hope that the final selection is the best one for the job. Is it possible to refine our selection methods to ensure we get as close as possible to the ideal candidate?

One assessment that’s often used in helping to determine whether someone has the right temperament for a particular job is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This instrument has been around for over 40 years, and may be the most widely used personality test in the world. The MBTI measures preferences and results in a four letter score describing someone’s preferences along the dimensions of:

  • Introvert-Extrovert
  • Sensing-Intuition
  • Thinking-Feeling
  • Judging-Perceiving

If your score is INFP, for instance, you could be described as someone who prefers one-on-one interactions, rather than group interactions, someone who is more of a big-picture person, rather than a detail-oriented person, someone who is more concerned about how people feel, rather than logical outcomes, and someone who prefers spontaneity, rather than strict order. (These descriptions are only a small fraction of how scores are interpreted.) These preferences can then be compared to the requirements of a particular job, and the best relative match can be determined.

Another widely used assessment is the DiSC (Dominance, influence, Steadiness, Compliance). These four dimensions describe someone’s approach to work and relationships. As with the MBTI, there are no “good” or “bad” styles. A person’s success in a particular job may have more to do with their style/personality fit, than with their skills.

Perhaps a better assessment might be one in which a candidate is asked to perform specific tasks that are part of the job, and then rated on how well s/he performs those tasks. These ratings can then be compared to all other candidates, as well as to an objective standard. The highest rated individual could then be considered the best candidate for the position. For instance, if a job requires a high frequency of oral presentations, the assessment could include several presentation exercises to determine the level of comfort and skill the candidate has in this area.

In recent years, these kinds of assessments have taken on greater prominence in selection, while more traditional methods, such as personal interviews, have been shown to be less effective in ensuring the right candidate is chosen. While interviewing methods have become more sophisticated (behavioral questions, less reliance on “gut” feelings, etc.), the research doesn’t support interviewing as a successful selection technique when used exclusively.

Want to learn more about how to be more successful in recruitment and selection? Give us a call at 314-539-5329.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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