Finding the Fit

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PAS-It-On Vol 12 Issue 1

Have you ever wondered why some new employees learn tasks quickly, take initiative, and immediately connect with their workgroup and customers, while others struggle to ever fully succeed? This is one of the great challenges facing managers who hire employees. They are tasked with assessing how well someone will fit with the organization, both with regard to skills and personality, with very little contact time, and often with little training. Consequently and despite their best efforts, many managers are not effective at assessing a job candidate’s for fit. Research into the value of traditional interviews shows that there is very little correlation between how a hiring manager views a candidate in the interview and the candidate’s actual on-the-job performance.

This is very unfortunate as the impact of culture fit between the individual and the organization is one of the most important factors in cultivating an engaged workforce. Additional research indicates that an engaged workforce is more likely to achieve organizational goals, deliver greater productivity and profitability, and generate greater satisfaction among employees.

Identify Success Components for Position

There are tools that can help close this gap. Pre-hire and developmental assessments come in many forms and can be tailored to focus on a number of success components for the specific position to be filled. These assessments can be designed to evaluate levels of technical skill, personality, motivation and primary abilities. The results of the assessment form a summary report that outlines the candidate’s strengths and potential weaknesses. Consultation about the assessment results with the hiring manager and Human Resources provides an in-depth understanding of how the candidate goes about achieving results in their work life.

To get the most from an assessment, hiring managers must be clear about what they are looking for. The assessment process begins with a discussion of the job, its impact on the department and the organization, and the challenges the new employee will face. Further, there is discussion about the preferred skills and work styles of the ideal candidate. From this information, the assessment can target the most important aspects for success in the job. Assess Candidates for Fit to the Job Assessments for those within the professional and management ranks typically include one or more measures of personality and motivation, a structured behavioral interview, and measures of functional ability. The assessment of personality and motivation is done through online, self-report inventories that have been validated and shown to be effective predictors of on-the-job behavior. The structured, behavioral interview is conducted by a trained organizational psychologist who is listening for recurring patterns of behavior that demonstrate strengths and blind spots in the candidate’s profile. The measures of functional ability give insight into how quickly individuals process complex information. Taken together, these tools provide clear and precise insight on whether or not an individual will fit with the organization, workgroup, and job requirements.

Additional research indicates that an engaged workforce is more likely to achieve organizational goals, deliver greater productivity and profitability, and generate greater satisfaction among employees.

Interpreting Assessment Results

Once an assessment is complete, the results can be used in a number of ways. First and foremost, they can be a key part of the hiring decision. The results are an objective source of input, with third-party credibility. Second, once a person has been hired the assessment can serve as a guide for on-boarding and development planning. The detail contained within the assessment can help guide the man- ager in coaching the new employee effectively, tapping into the employee’s natural motivation and setting up the new employee for success. Third, in situations where employees have been with the organization for some time, assessment can provide descriptive language around concepts that are often difficult to describe and talk about. The assessment results often describe behaviors, tendencies and nuances that can be felt as a gut reaction but are difficult to articulate for most people. By describing them through the assessment results, managers and employees can more easily agree on which behaviors are effective and which get in the way of performance.

Assessment in Professional Development and Succession Planning

Finally, assessments can be used as critical input into succession planning and development efforts. In this context, assessments help the organization and the individual identify and discuss both strengths and areas in need of development. By effectively evaluating the potential of current employees, organizations can target their development resources for greater effect, resulting in faster development for the employee and deeper bench strength for the organization.

If your organization struggles to hire people who succeed quickly and raise the bar for the organization or you have difficulty identifying and developing high potential employees who will lead others to success, consider adding professional assessments to your toolkit.

Contact PAS

For more information about how PAS’ Human Resource Services division can help with assessing job match, professional development potential or succession planning, contact PAS’ Account Management Department at [email protected]


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