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Assessments Are Important Hiring Process Tools - Not Replacements


The Frontier Group has a great strategic alliance with Assess Systems that provides our client companies with best in class talent development and people selection assessment tools. We also like to feature some best blogs from Assess Systems.

The following is a blog from Carol Jenkins, the VP for Talent Solutions with Assess Systems. In this blog she will talk about how assessments are tools for making better hiring decisions but should never replace the human element of interviewing

A recent article in TIME magazine looks at what it’s like to get a job or fill a job in “the age of optimized hiring.” That’s a huge topic, but the article focuses on personality assessments (though it refers to them more generally as tests or questions).

The article asks: “Do you trust data more than your instincts?”
My response… Why choose between them? In the world of hiring, is it really one or the other?

I’ve been in this business a long time, and I’ll be the first to admit that personality assessments get a lot of criticism. People say that candidates can game the test, that companies will use the results for firing as well as hiring, that human analytics dehumanize people by converting them into data points.

The TIME article features one job seeker who says, “If they want to know about your personality, this a little bit of an impersonal way. Wouldn’t they want to meet me in person?”

Yes! Of course they would. But it’s a red flag if the candidate doesn’t know that. In today’s HR market, assessments come standard for just about any job type, and implementation is easy enough, but that’s just the beginning. It’s the company’s responsibility to help their candidates understand why they’re taking an assessment, and what comes next.

Assessments are screening tools, not interviews. They’re designed to help hiring managers determine which candidates to pursue for a particular job. They’re not meant be a replacement for human interaction, or an excuse to skip important steps in the hiring process.


Data - even rich, predictive data - can’t and shouldn’t make the ultimate hiring decision. While personality assessments provide useful, job-relevant data early in the screening process, it’s still up to the hiring manager to confirm the assessment results in an interview (just like reference checking confirms the details on a CV, etc.)

Most hiring managers aren’t using assessments to shirk responsibility. They’re using assessments to gain more insight and evaluate candidates against a common benchmark—to increase the chance that they’ll find the right fit.

As the article points out:

“It’s now possible to identify the workers who will be the happiest and the most successful in the role they have on offer.”

So assessments have a huge impact in improving the way we match people to jobs. But even folks at Big Data companies like Google’s People Chief, Laszlo Bock agree that assessments are part of a bigger solution—a solution that involves structured interviewing, employee development, and more. Read on about the hiring strategies at Google.

Looking at the upward trend in adoption rates, I’d say personality assessments are here to stay. So instead of pitting instincts and assessments against each other, we should be asking questions like these:

  • How do we use assessments properly and with perspective?
  • How can we maximize benefit for both the candidate and the company?

This is a great place to start. After all, screening for job-fit is good for everyone. Candidates don’t want a job they dislike, just like managers don’t want workers who lack necessary skills or clash with the team.

We know it’s not easy. Technology and data have changed the game, and companies—even the experts of talent acquisition—are continually working to improve the way they source, screen, interview, and hire. Luckily, TIME and other media sources that write about the challenges of HCM are bringing these conversations to the surface.  So if you’re struggling with talent acquisition, there’s never been a better time to try some new strategies.

And if you need help working out the best way to use assessments in your org, you can always ask an I/O psychologist (the #1 fastest growing occupation last year!)

About the Author:

Carol A. Jenkins is Vice President, Talent Solutions for Assess Systems and her areas of specialization include test development and validation, selection process design, leadership assessment, development and coaching. She has been involved in the development and marketing of both the Assess Expert System and the Assess Strategic Success Modeling Process. She is currently part of the Assess Systems team that is adapting assessment tools for use in the international marketplace. As the Latin America market coordinator, Carol is directly involved in projects in Mexico and Columbia.

Carol earned her Ph.D. in I/O Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2001. She earned her BA in Psychology in 1993 at Northeast Louisiana University. She is a licensed Psychologist in the State of Texas, and is a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.