Recruiting high quality employees has been a common struggle for employers throughout corporate history. Think back to the last time you went through a rigorous job application process.
How many times were you left feeling underwhelmed or, worse, completely discouraged by the outcome? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably too many to count.
The problem with the traditional hiring process is that it often relies on outdated methods, such as resume screening and interviewing alone, which can be ineffective in predicting future job performance.
This is where other methods have to come in order to improve the recruitment process.
One of these categories of methods are talent assessment methods which can be used to evaluate job applicants in a more holistic and accurate way, such as by taking into account their soft skills.
In this article, we will discuss talent assessment methods in further detail – with a particular emphasis on what talent assessment methods are, types of talent assessment methods, the 9 box talent assessment grid and some common do’s and dont’s.
Let’s get started!
What Are Talent Assessment Methods?
Talent assessment methods are tools and techniques used to evaluate an individual’s suitability for a job.
Unlike the traditional hiring process, which can often be biased and inaccurate, talent assessment methods aim to provide a more objective way of measuring an individual’s skills, abilities, and potential.
Imagine a situation where you are looking to hire a new marketing manager for your company.
The traditional hiring process might involve screening resumes, conducting interviews, and reference checks.
While this process can give you some insights into the candidate’s qualifications, it doesn’t necessarily tell you whether or not they will be successful in the role.
This is where talent assessment methods can be useful.
They can help you to identify candidates who have the skills and abilities required to excel in the role.
Some common talent assessment methods include:
- Psychometric testing
- Cognitive ability testing
- Personality assessments
- Skills tests
- Work sample tests
Each of these methods will be discussed in further detail below.
Types Of Talent Assessment Methods
Let’s understand and delve deeper into some of the more common talent assessment methods companies use today:
1. Psychometric Testing
This is a type of psychological testing that measures an individual’s cognitive abilities and personality traits.
The aim of psychometric testing is to provide a more objective way of measuring an individual’s suitability for a role.
Psychometric tests can be used to assess a range of different skills, including:
- Verbal reasoning
- Numerical reasoning
- Abstract reasoning
- Logical reasoning
They also identify and test a number of personality traits such as:
Psychometric tests are often used in conjunction with other talent assessment methods, such as interviews and work sample tests. They are especially useful for roles that require high levels of critical thinking and problem-solving.
2. Cognitive Ability Testing
Cognitive ability testing measures an individual’s capacity to learn, remember, and solve problems.
Unlike intelligence tests, which aim to measure an individual’s current level of knowledge, cognitive ability tests aim to assess an individual’s potential to learn new information and skills.
This method of talent assessment is excellent for predicting future job performance, as it can identify individuals who have the potential to excel in a role despite having less experience.
In order to conduct this type of testing, employers will often use a combination of aptitude tests and achievement tests.
Aptitude tests measure an individual’s potential to learn new skills, while achievement tests assess an individual’s current level of knowledge.
3. Work Sample Testing
Work sample testing involves giving candidates real-life tasks or scenarios that they are likely to encounter in the role they are applying for.
Consider a situation where you are hiring for a customer service representative role.
As part of the work sample test, you could give candidates a scenario in which they have to deal with an irate customer.
You would then assess their performance based on how well they handled the situation. Work sample testing is an excellent way to identify individuals who have the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in a role.
4. Assessment Centres
An assessment centre is an event at which candidates are assessed on a range of different skills and abilities.
The assessment tasks used vary depending on the role being recruited for, but can include group exercises, individual exercises, presentations, and interviews.
Assessment centres are often used to assess candidates for senior roles or roles that require a high level of interaction with others. They provide employers with a more holistic view of a candidate’s suitability for the role.
Think about jobs where being a ‘team player’ is important such as in sales, customer service or project management, this sort of talent assessments would be very beneficial.
5. Situational Judgement Tests
Situational judgement tests (SJTs) present candidates with a series of hypothetical workplace scenarios and ask them to choose the most and least effective course of action.
SJTs are designed to assess an individual’s ability to make judgements in the workplace. They are often used to assess roles that require decision-making, such as management roles.
Situational judgement tests are a new phenomenon and as such, there is not a great deal of research to support their use. However, they are increasingly being used by employers as a way of assessing candidates’ potential.
The 9 Box Talent Assessment Grid
When we talk about talent assessment methods, the 9-box talent assessment grid comes to mind. But what is this grid, and how can we use it effectively?
The 9-box talent assessment grid is a tool that can be used by organizations to rate and compare employees on their performance and potential. The grid has nine boxes, with the following ratings:
- Very Good
- Needs Improvement
The ratings are then used to identify high performers, low performers, and those who have the potential to be high performers.
This information can then be used to make decisions about who to promote, who to give developmental opportunities to, and who to let go.
The 9-box grid can be used for any type of employee, in any type of organization. However, it is most commonly used for managerial and executive positions.
In terms of the 9 boxes themselves, they are usually arranged in a 3×3 grid, with each row representing a different performance level, and each column representing a different potential level.
There are 6 levels of performers as identified by the following:
- Outstanding performers are those who are rated as ‘outstanding’ in both performance and potential. These are the employees you want to focus on retaining.
- Very good performers are those who are rated as ‘very good’ in performance and either ‘very good’ or ‘good’ in potential.
- Good performers are those who are rated as ‘good’ in performance and either ‘very good’ or ‘good’ in potential.
- Satisfactory performers are those who are rated as ‘satisfactory’ in performance and either ‘satisfactory’, ‘needs improvement’, or ‘unsatisfactory’ in potential.
- Needs improvement performers are those who are rated as ‘needs improvement’ in performance and either ‘satisfactory’, ‘needs improvement’, or ‘unsatisfactory’ in potential.
- Unsatisfactory performers are those who are rated as ‘unsatisfactory’ in performance and either ‘satisfactory’, ‘needs improvement’, or ‘unsatisfactory’ in potential.
The 9-box grid can be a useful tool for organizations because it provides a way to compare employees on both performance and potential.
It can help organizations to identify high performers, low performers, and those with the potential to be high performers. Additionally, it can be used to make decisions about who to promote, who to give developmental opportunities to, and who to let go.
Do’s And Dont’s Of Talent Assessment Methods
Choosing the most effective talent assessment methods can help you hire the best employees while reducing costs associated with recruiting and onboarding.
The right talent assessment strategy will also help you create a more cohesive and productive workplace. However, as with anything, there are some dos and don’ts to consider when selecting and implementing talent assessment methods.
- Use a variety of methods to get a well-rounded perspective of each candidate.
- Consider the specific job requirements when selecting talent assessment methods.
- Use talent assessment methods that have been validated against job performance.
- Make sure the talent assessment methods you use are legally defensible.
- Overly rely on a single method of assessment.
- Use an off-the-shelf personality test without validating it first.
- Try to assess everything about a candidate with one test or exercise.
- Forget to consider the costs of implementing talent assessment methods.
Regard talent assessment as an important part of your organisation’s strategy, not an afterthought tacked on to the end of the recruitment process.
When used correctly, talent assessment methods can help you identify the best candidates, reduce turnover, and create a more productive workplace.
However, it’s important to use a variety of methods to get a well-rounded perspective of each candidate and to make sure the talent assessment methods you use are legally defensible.
For your own specific firm, tailor the talent assessment methods you use to the types of roles you are recruiting for. Doing so will help ensure you are making the best hiring decisions for your business. Good luck!