Hiring Assessments: What Makes an Effective Assessment Result?

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One of the most enduring lessons about the importance of communicating the results of data and analysis happened while studying statistics and research methods as an undergraduate student. We covered the specific events and documents leading up to the Challenger disaster. The launch date, January 28, 1986, was forecasted to be an unseasonably cold morning. Engineers believed the O-rings that sealed the bottoms of the Space Shuttle’s solid rocket boosters would fail in the cold temperatures and presented data to convey this point to NASA leaders. Tragically, they were unable to convince the team of the risk before the launch. While there were many contributing factors for proceeding with the launch, the nature of the charts and methods the engineers used to present their case weren’t easily understood. For example, the performance data of the O-rings was arranged by launch date, rather than by the critical factor, temperature[1]. That made it all but impossible for decision makers to envision that a launch in weather below 66 degrees would probably involve O-ring failure.

Learning about the Challenger disaster helped me understand that critical findings will only be useful if they are understood and acted on by the intended audience.  In this way, communication is just as important as the analysis and research that is used to discover the findings.  As a student with a passion for applying social science to help organizations make the best choices this was an important realization.  Although, at the time, I did not fully appreciate how critical communicating data and results would be to my work.

Lesson Learned

At Corvirtus, our ability to communicate in ways that inspire action applies to everything we do in strengthening a company’s culture by hiring, developing, and retaining exceptional people. Pre-employment assessments only influence business results if their findings and recommendations are relevant, understood, and used as part of the hiring decision. With this in mind, here are three elements you can expect from our assessment results. If you’re considering using assessments or in the process of evaluating providers, this may give you useful points for comparing your options and building your hiring process.

Objectives of Corvirtus Assessment Results

 1. Provide first-glance understanding and the right information at the right time.

Hiring managers review tens to hundreds of applicants in a short amount of time to not only reduce time-to-hire, but accurately determine who to move forward in the process. With our assessment results, users can quickly see one of three overall results: Strongly Recommend (above average in all areas assessed), Recommend (likely to meet job expectations), and Do Not Recommend (unlikely to meet job expectations). To gain more detailed information, users can quickly review the competency-based bar chart highlighting candidates’ strengths and opportunity areas.

 2. Describe how candidate performance on the assessment relates to key behaviors and outcomes on the job, and provide information and tools to use throughout the hiring process.

By using a data-driven process to develop and continually improve our assessments, we develop a detailed understanding of how assessments predict performance. This gives us job specific information about how personality traits, values, abilities, and other qualities measured in the assessments predict specific areas of job performance. We take this technical information and transform it into clear descriptions of how a candidate will likely perform on the job.

By using more than one method to verify and understand a candidate’s strengths and opportunities, you are more likely to make an accurate hiring decision. What’s more, each assessment result provides probing questions for the candidate’s greatest area of opportunity, which can be tailored to your specific culture and positions.

 3. Give an action-focused overview of strengths and opportunities to support the candidate’s success if hired.

As you begin to more deeply evaluate candidates, you may need more specific information about a candidate’s potential performance and how to best support his or her success on the job. At this point the result gives more specific detail about a how a candidate will meet job demands and fit with your culture. Developmental Information allows you to differentiate what areas of performance will be readily mastered and which will be the most challenging to master, if the candidate is hired.  It also provides you with more in-depth information about the competencies measured across the assessment – and development-driven insights on how the candidate will meet job demands and fit your culture. This information is based on norms linking tests scores to performance for thousands of candidates and employees in related positions.

Putting It All Together

Our objective is to deliver assessment results that are understood at first-glance while communicating research-driven findings in a job-relevant and clear manner. By doing this, we ensure our results are a trusted tool used throughout the hiring process. However, the result is only one piece of the puzzle. To learn more about how to select assessments that will predict performance for your unique positions and job demands read our eBook, The What, Why, and When of Assessments.

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[1] Plotting Relationships and Conditional Distributions.  Introduction to Social Statistics: The Logic of Statistical Reasoning.  (2009).

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