How-To Hire a Sure Thing: Bettering your odds with assessments.



Contributed by Levi Taylor, Human Resources Manager 


How-To Hire a Sure Thing: Bettering your odds with assessments.

Bettering Odds Hiring Process H+M Industrial EPC

“If you think that it is expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur”? How often have you heard this cliché? The idea that value is found in the quality of work is not a new concept. However, it does seem difficult to define such value in the modern business world. Large companies have spent billions on developing assessments, tests, surveys, and programs to evaluate candidates in a seemingly talent commodity paradigm. With all of the data that is extracted from the plethora of tactics, the end result still has a company betting on their selection to hire.

The traditional interview has been shown to have a nominal success rate of identifying top candidates. Many candidates can present themselves exceptionally, naturally skewing the impression given to the interviewer. Yet, often times, their performance and skillset underperforms. This leaves the hiring manager claiming “well, they were great in the interview.”

While there is no sure bet when it comes to the hiring process, there are scalable assessment solutions to tip the odds in the company’s favor. Having the candidate submit to assessments not only gives the hiring manager a larger pool of data for informed decision making, it adds job and company related, quantifiable evidence that allows the best fit candidate to standout. There are multiple applications in the pre-employment testing realm, the easiest to incorporate and interpret are those that consider “fit to company culture” as well as the job related skills.

Personality Assessments

When evaluating a new employee, certain characteristics will always be sought out. Leadership, charisma, and the ability to be a team player are anecdotal and typically paramount for workplace success. However, things like agreeableness, company loyalty, motivation are less discernible but may be more indicative of a successful hire into the company culture. While hundreds of personality inventories exist in the clinical and industrial/organizational psychology world, only a few can possibly capture the traits that accentuate the culture of a company. This would require an organization to take an introspective look at the true core values of their employee population and pair them with the traits that are required to emulate the vision of the future. Once the assessment is selected in regards to the ideal traits, the company must administer the assessment to the current population. The range that is found within the current population will serve as the baseline for establishing the profile of the ideal candidate. Although this is not at perfect solution for eliminating turnover rates, it does reduce the likelihood of placing a bad bet.

Hands-On Demonstration

Job related skills are far easier to identify but may be more difficult to quantify. For instance, an Administrative Assistant may be given measures for grammar, business math, and software like Excel with little preparation or research. However, extremely technical roles, like engineers or hands-on labor, require skills that cannot be judged on a knowledge based assessment alone. Positions that are given a knowledge based assessment should also be subject to a demonstration or hands-on assessment that validates the ability to apply the skills. Welders in the construction industry complete a weld test that requires them to fit pieces of metal to specifications and then perform a weld that passes code requirements. Manufacturing Engineers are given product components with schematics and then required to assemble the complete product to gauge mechanical ability and reasoning. Regardless of the skills required to the complete the job, some level of demonstration should be introduced to validate the walk to the proverbial talk.

Assessments give candidates the ability to audition their true self. Even the most confident people are somewhat nervous in an interview setting and everyone tends to behave themselves. Giving candidates the opportunity to shine in a less anxiety provoking environment, like an assessment, can give a far better measure of relevant behavior.

The goal of this effort is to identify the candidate that best exonerates the skills needed for the job as well as emulates the company culture that company leadership envisions. Although developing the tools that properly identify the desired characteristics in a candidate may not lead to a sure bet, it definitely goes a long way to find a candidate to put money on.


Levi Taylor Human Resources H+M Industrial EPC

Levi Taylor, MS, SPHR- Human Resources Manager at H+M Industrial EPC

M.S. in Psychology 

Levi has an MS in Psychology paired with over 10 years of Human Resources, training and workforce development experience in both U.S. and international companies including those in the engineering, construction, manufacturing, petrochemical and power industries.