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How Employment Assessments Fit Into the Hiring Process

November 19, 2019

By: Wendy Sheaffer

As a hiring manager, you’ve probably seen it all… the no-shows, the ones who walk in late as if they are on time (no explanation, no apology), the ones who can’t answer a single question thoroughly, to the ones who spend a very, very long time answering your first question.

I once started an interview with my standard icebreaker – so tell me a little about yourself – and the candidate deep dove into his professional history from his first job at the DQ to every company thereafter. It was the director’s cut of his resume and lasted a full 40 minutes, the highlights punctuated by him rapping his knuckles loudly on the table. I’d never been bored and startled at the same time before. But you know the saying, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before one turns into your next A-player, or something like that.

Some candidates are super helpful and tell you all you need to know with honesty so you can make a decision. Recently, I had someone tell me he’d always answer the phone at the end of the day, unless it was a Friday before a three-day weekend, because why risk it. Who says that?! Of course, it did make my job easier. Here are 9 more tips your interview is going nowhere.

But some candidates are more … creative. Take these scenarios, for example.

"I work through problems collaboratively," which you later discover means the candidate will be spending lots of time discussing weekend plans in the break room.

How about?

"I build consensus through multiple organizational levels" and that turns out to be "I plan to stop in everyone’s office at least once a day to discuss Game of Thrones and how much I miss it."

Or,

"I have high customer satisfaction across many industries," which ends up being a nice way of saying, "I have yet to find what I’m good at, so I change jobs… A LOT."

And finally, you discover that the candidate’s eloquent discussion of their thoughtful due diligence and contemplative attitude means they will sit and ponder things like;

“Why do we call them cupcakes and not baby cakes?”

The Best Hiring Process is Multi-Faceted

Interviewing is one of the ways we get to know candidates so we can decide if they are the right fit for the job and our work culture. But a couple hour-long meetings aren’t really enough time to peel back the layers and see the true person. As we all know, it’s easy to spin negatives into positives on a resume and even in person. Still, interviews are an extremely important selection tool and should represent about 30% of your overall hiring decision. But what about that other 70%?

Good question. That boils down to several other selection tools.

First, you examine the candidate’s work experience and skills, along with potential for learning and growing in the job and organization. Some of that is done in the interview, but we also suggest testing for those hard skills that you require in the job. For example, if you are hiring an accountant, you might want to give a test on some basic accounting tasks to be sure the candidate knows the difference between a debit and a credit. You might also consider a cognitive assessment – Omnia has a great one – to determine general mental aptitude.

Do they have the cognitive wherewithal to work through problems and take logical action? All of that should make up another 25% of your overall decision.

You might look at:

  • Social media (5%)
  • Background and drug testing (10%); this is where you make sure they truly have the certifications, education and licenses you might require.
  • 5% goes to reference checking
  • My personal favorite, a pre-employment personality assessment (25%)

A Good Personality Test is Icing on the Cake

Employment personality testing is a great way to complement the interview process. First, because it really does complement the process; it doesn’t replace it. You want the icing and the cake. I’m all about getting my hands on as much data and insight as possible when hiring. When you’re dealing with people and human behavior, it’s complex, so the more you know, the better off you’ll be.

The Omnia assessment provides data insight into the innate behaviors of your candidate which you can use to determine fit and future potential. For example, if you are hiring a salesperson, you want to make sure your candidate has the best innate talent for the job. Omnia’s pre-employment personality test can tell you the level of assertiveness your sales candidate has. A high level of assertiveness is the key behavioral trait found in most successful salespeople. Highly assertive people have the drive and competitive spirit to push past obstacles and close deals, over and over again.

If you hire someone with a high level of caution, they might “go after” only the low-hanging fruit or take orders rather than make them. There is also a higher than average chance the employee will burn out quickly. It takes a lot of energy to work against your natural “grain.” Knowing in advance if your candidates have the basic competitiveness for sales is the first step towards hiring the best candidate.

Omnia’s personality assessment measures four behaviors – assertiveness, communication/thinking style, pace and need for structure. You’ll know, before the hire, if your candidate has the natural analytical aptitude to work as your bookkeeper, or the strong attention to detail you want for your order entry CSR. Looking for a bold leader who can brush off criticism and make decisions with limited information? The Omnia assessment can give you that insight. And best of all, you can use this data for employee development throughout the employee’s entire professional journey within your organization. A behavioral assessment can be used for employee engagement, motivation and workforce optimization.

Of course, there’s a catch. There’s always a catch. The candidate must be willing to use those innate talents for good (and not ignore that last phone call the Friday before a long weekend), and that speaks to work ethic and integrity. The right candidate has all the right ingredients to be successful. By using a personality assessment, a cognitive aptitude test, skills tests, and a well-thought out interview, you’ll have all the pieces you need to make the best decisions for your team, department and company.

By using a variety of tools to help make your next hiring decision, you increase your hiring odds and zero in more easily on the best candidate. When deciding on who you want to work with you, availing yourself of as many tools and as much information as possible is the best way to hire successfully.


omnia 10 step hiring process

Wendy Sheaffer

With over 20 years of experience, I help companies hire the right person the first time, manage more effectively and build high-performance teams using everyday tools and behavioral concepts.

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