What has caused the assessment industry to sway so sharply from the needs of talented individuals towards a transactional process? We need to put the human back into assessments.
In our profession, we are taught to listen, take into account emotional cues, and offer a supporting role to others in many psychological and emotional ways. We believe that we can help others and that we’re good with people. Increasingly, I find myself trying to balance between the needs of the individual and that of the organisation by asking: Am I attending to the needs of the individual, something that I’ve been moulded to do? Or am I more concerned with delivering the project? Could I not deliver a better product if I focused more on the individual, the human being? When we refer to the human being, we must create the opportunity for the candidate to benefit most from the testing process and gain far more value from this process than they could ever imagine.
Risk Taker Rights
We should never forget the rights of the risk taker – the assesse – and the factors that play defining roles in the testing situation. When candidates engage with us, we should make them feel at ease. This allows the candidates to display their best performance and feel that they have given their best. Creating a positive experience also uncovers and facilitates further development discussions. However, we need to provide more than just a good testing situation.
Unfortunately even in a competitive job market, we often find assessment appointments being cancelled, often as a result of the candidate being anxious or uncertain. What is it that made a keen, confident and positive candidate disengage from the prospect of landing that dream job? Is it a lop-sided process that resulted in desirable talent slipping through the fingers of our client? We also find that candidates have not been adequately briefed, which puts them in a stressful situation. As professionals, our role is create the environment where candidates look forward to the opportunity of presenting their worth and potential.
We must empower the candidates with a deeper understanding and insight into the assessment outcome. It’s easy for candidates to rate themselves based on their own experiences, creating a more subjective view. As we are trying to determine the candidate’s performance against the competencies of a specific job, we need to indicate that psychometric assessment will try to measure more specific behaviours, aptitudes and skills and as such bring in a more objective perspective. Not only are we trying to highlight on best fit for the role but also making the candidate more aware that they are not only being assessed to help employers understand abilities, skills and preferences but also highlighting to the candidate their likely fit into a role based on these and other factors such as would they even enjoy or like the role. By ensuring that they understand the assessment process they will be in better position to make informed decisions about their careers. It must be made clear that failure for one role does not need to be viewed as a negative outcome but more as an opportunity to make a better contribution to an organization where there is likely to be a better fit.
When someone is in a job they enjoy, they are likely to make better use of their strengths and abilities, and visa versa when people are in jobs they hate, they may very well under utilize their strengths. We therefore play a very vital role to the candidate in seeing the assessment process from a far more deeper perspective which can actually help them move into jobs they can not only perform in but also enjoy and allow them to move on if they can best put their skills and motivation into use elsewhere.
Improving The Balance
After 7 years of assessment experience, I’ve often wondered whether a candidate could have done better if given a second chance of an interview. The reason for the assessment is to assess their competence for specific role demands and is not an indication of their performance in life and forever. In a global market where precious talent is in demand, we need to improve the balance of our assessments process.