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Talent assessments: A critical component of selection & leadership development

December 29, 2020 Article 2 min read
Stan Hannah
boardrooom with wood table and white office chairsWhether you’re hiring or developing your people, talent assessments are key to success.

We hear it all the time — “Our people are our number-one asset.” And it’s true. You can have a company with a great value proposition, great strategy, and great ideas for products and services, but all of that is meaningless without the right people to make those products or serve those clients.

Finding the right people transcends skills and experience. Sure, those things are important, but you can’t underestimate cultural fit. Many a promising candidate has been hired into a position only to be ejected weeks or months later due to failure to integrate into the workplace culture. And let’s face it, turnover is costly — at a minimum, it constitutes 50 to 60 percent of the staff member’s annual compensation.

How can organizations determine if a candidate is a strong fit for their company culture? Moreover, once the right hire is made, how can they ensure those candidates have what it takes to become future leaders of their organizations? Two words: talent assessment. 

The benefits of talent assessments

Talent assessments are an invaluable tool for:

  • Selecting staff who are the best fit. Assessments afford organizations the ability to measure skills, interests, work styles, and personality to make sure the person is right not only for the position but also for the organization.
  • Developing leaders. Identifying and developing leaders is critical to building a sustainable organization. Assessments can provide objective, third-party data about a high-potential staff member’s strengths and weaknesses, which can be used to create a targeted leadership development plan.
  • Integrating new hires successfully. Assessments can offer specific suggestions to the organization regarding how to best manage the new staff member. Results can also be used by the candidates themselves to help acclimate more quickly to the organization.
  • Comparing and contrasting finalists for key positions with hard data. Organizations often find it helpful to use assessment data to compare finalist candidates with one another.

The talent assessment process

Although the scope of the assessment differs depending upon the nature of the position, the assessment process typically includes cognitive abilities tests, personality tests, and structured behavioral interviews tailored to the specific needs of the position. Once the process is complete, organizations receive verbal feedback as well as a written assessment report.

The ability to discuss how to interpret the assessment data with an organizational psychologist is invaluable. Oftentimes, organizations will opt for an online assessment tool, but without an expert to decipher how that data translates to a particular candidate within a specific organization, they’re missing a critical piece of the puzzle. The follow-up conversations often give a depth of understanding and information that can be the difference between making the right decision versus making a poor hire. Similarly, these conversations can be helpful for organizations to identify strengths and development areas for current staff in filling key leadership roles.

Assess for talent success

Whether you’re seeking information to help you make the right hiring decision or looking to develop current staff for a position of key responsibility, assessment is critical to your success.

Learn how Michigan First Credit Union uses assessment to hire great people >>

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