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Pre-Employment Talent Assessment: Three Perspectives

Hiring talent can be a little like buying a house. The place has curb appeal, and you’ve had the opportunity to walk  through it a time or two. However, without an inspection, how much do you really know about the place?

The hiring process can offer a similarly limited view of what you’re getting into. A pre-employment talent assessment lets you see beyond the resume and interview by uncovering attributes that contribute to long-term satisfaction with the employment relationship, both for the company and the employee.At HT Staffing, we not only answer the “how to find talent” question; we help our clients navigate the talent assessment process. In this post we share our own perspective on assessing talent, and we give you the low-down from two specialists in the field: Bob Lanza of Sales Team Solutions, LLC and Barbara Metzger of MaxImize.

Upon our clients’ request, we coordinate assessments from basic screenings—drug, background and credit checks—to more in-depth tests for skills and job-related personal attributes.

The first step in these deeper-dive assessments is to understand what the position requires. Once you determine the values, behaviors and attitudes a particular spot demands, you can screen for the candidates whose attributes best match those defined for the job.

We recommend the basic screenings for most hiring situations. The more key the role, the more advantageous it is to conduct additional assessments that help you find a precise fit.

Internally, we vet our prospective employees using a popular assessment tool that has been tailored to the staffing industry. We can attest to the effectiveness of assessing talent in this way; we love our team, and we work well together!

Bob Lanza specializes in providing assessments for staffing companies. He has identified top performers in the field and set benchmarks based on those front-line super stars’ characteristics.

Lanza comments, “The main thing that drives an individual’s performance is value structure. If what the person values in a job is rewarded in the job, that person is likely to be a good performer.”

He places employment-related values in three categories: Economic (receiving monetary gain), political (having control over one’s work) and theoretical (having opportunities to learn). A theoretical-value person (one who most highly prizes the opportunity to learn and grow professionally) may quickly become dissatisfied in a job that is repetitive and routine, even if it offers bonuses and prizes.

Barbara Metzger echoes our advice to start the assessment process with a thorough understanding of what the job entails. A 23-year talent assessment veteran, Metzger suggests you ask yourself, “If the job could talk, who would the job hire?”

Metzger points out the best candidate is not necessarily the one whose resume or interview is most impressive. Resumes have been known to stretch the truth, and it is likely the person being interviewed has had more coaching than the interviewer, and is thus able to spin the conversation in his or her favor.

Metzger observes that while most candidates believe they can do a job for which they are interviewing, if the skills and qualities required do not come naturally to the candidate, performing well in the position will be an ongoing struggle. The talent assessment process uncovers the person’s innate attributes.

Metzger and Lanza agree that in assessing talent, it’s necessary to mesh interview and assessment results to get a big-picture view of a candidate’s suitability for a position. The assessment validates strengths and highlights weaknesses that show up in discussions.

Both also emphasize the importance of choosing an assessment method that adapts well to ongoing coaching and career management. Metzger points out that assessment results remain valid for several years and provide valuable insights into strengths that can be amplified with the right management approach. Lanza likens assessment results to exercise equipment, saying, “Assessment results are only valuable if you put them to work for you.”

Pre-employment talent assessment can also significantly improve hiring results. Lanza comments, “It’s expensive to hire. Why not use every tool possible to stack the deck in your favor?”

If you have questions about assessments for executive search, direct hire or temporary staffing, HT Staffing is happy to help. Leave a comment or give us a call. For help deciding whether to hire, see our earlier blog post, To Staff or Not to Staff.

What is your perspective on pre-employment talent assessment?

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