Much as a carpenter must select the right chisel to carve a head post, a hiring manager must carefully choose the right assessment tools to make a sound hiring decision. To help you develop a functional hiring “toolbox,” here is a brief overview of commonly used assessment tools.
These simple questionnaires determine if an applicant has the minimum requirements to perform a job (availability, years of related experience, etc.).
This is probably the most commonly used assessment tool and may range from totally unstructured (unplanned) to completely structured (carefully designed beforehand). Regardless of which type you choose, the skill of the interviewer is critical to the effectiveness of this tool.
Job Simulations / Work-Sample Tests
These require the candidate to actually demonstrate or perform job tasks. Simulations may be conducted as written tests, as role-playing exercises, on a computer, or even in real-life conditions. By design, they generally show a high degree of job-relatedness.
General Abilities Tests
These are used for entry-level jobs. They measure broad mental abilities such as reasoning, quantitative, verbal and spatial abilities – skills fundamental to success in jobs where reading, computing and communicating are required.
Specific Ability Tests
These test for distinct mental and physical abilities, such as typing speed, reading comprehension, strength and mechanical aptitude. For example, physical endurance tests may be used for firefighting or lifeguarding jobs.
Knowledge and Skills Tests
These determine how much an individual knows about a very specific, advanced subject area such as software programming or mortgage laws. As a category, these tests are generally highly valid.
Talent Measures / Personality Inventories
Talent and personality assessments measure a candidate’s natural personal characteristics associated with success in certain positions. These assessment tools are used to predict what a person can do (e.g., delegate effectively, handle stress well) and what a person will do (e.g., step-up as a leader, get along well with fellow workers).
Culture Fit Inventories
Questionnaires like these assess how well an applicant will fit into your corporate culture and work environment, to help ensure organizational commitment. Culture fit inventories focus on making the right match between company and candidate.
Standardized questionnaires such as these gather job-related biographical information (e.g., education, years of experience and even hobbies).
These inquiries gather information from outside sources, such as former employers and police records. Employment, criminal-record and reference checks all help employers avoid potentially catastrophic hires.
Overt integrity tests gauge a candidate’s attitudes toward, and involvement in, delinquent activities – namely theft.
These tests use a physical specimen from the candidate to determine past drug or alcohol use. Drug screens are frequently used by companies where legal and safety requirements necessitate that employees be drug-free.
These tests determine if a person can safely and sufficiently carry out all the requirements of a specific job. Employers using medical exams must comply with all provisions of The Americans with Disabilities Act.
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