How Pre-Hiring Assessments Can Help You Avoid Disastrous Hiring Mistakes

By Talent Selection
Talent Selection

Here is a recent experience where talent selection helped an organization I was working with:

I was asked to assist with evaluating final candidates for a senior vice president position at a hospital. Multiple interviews with various staff groups had already occurred and one candidate was vastly preferred by most of the staff. They found this candidate (we’ll call him Mark) very charismatic and inspiring. The other candidate (Bill) was more of a “known commodity” and no one was very excited about the possibility of hiring him.

In an assessment I conducted using standardized, EEOC-compliant tests, including normal personality, leadership, and emotional intelligence assessments, the patterns were very clear: Mark had very clear red flags and indicators for derailment. In particular, Mark’s assessment showed he had a quick temper, could be impulsive in decision-making, liked to be right, and was often disorganized. No red flags appeared in Bill’s assessments.

Of course, a lengthy structured interview is also important in addition to doing the actual tests. What happened in the interview provided validation for the concerns evident in the assessments. Mark failed to take his tests in a timely way, which meant I got his results late. This required our interview be delayed a couple of hours so I had time to review his results. When he came in for the interview, he never apologized for not getting the assessments completed on time, nor did he thank me for making extra time for the interview. This showed a lack of self-awareness, empathy, and judgment.

The talent selection assessments for Mark and Bill helped the hospital senior team make a better and more confident hiring decision. The CEO confessed afterward that he had not preferred Mark as other team members had. He had worried that Mark might veer off on his own path and not be in alignment with the hospital goals–the CEO felt validated by the results and the hospital was able to choose a leader who was much less likely to derail and who was a better fit for the culture. It costs companies between two and seven times an employee’s salary to replace them (and it is at the higher end of the scale for the senior leadership positions). Doing a talent selection and hiring assessment saved this hospital a lot of headaches, heartache, and money!

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