StrengthsFinder Series, Part 1: Finding the Right Fit
Outside of technology, one area of my role that I enjoy greatly is organizational development. Working to build strong, cohesive, and effective teams is something that I not only take seriously myself, but something I encourage each member of my teams to take seriously as well. One way in which to do this is through talent development, but training and mentoring aren’t always the answer without the right information to guide those activities. For this reason, I started doing some research and it’s not surprising to learn that hundreds of employment tests are available in today’s marketplace.
Having a myriad of testing options to choose from can actually overwhelm employers who are simply seeking tools that:
Were developed by qualified professionals who applied scientific rigor;
- Produce reliable (consistent) and valid (inference accuracy) test results;
- Identify “best fit” candidates based on a role’s success criteria;
- Can be easily leveraged by most managers ̶ tools that do not require PhD’s to administer and/or interpret results;
- Are multi-purpose, meaning, they can be used for hiring, developing/coaching, promoting and retaining employees; and
- Are cost effective.
According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (“Types of Employment Tests”, http://www.SIOP.org), today’s testing landscape includes:
- Situational Tests
- Biographical Data Tests
- Cognitive Ability Tests
- Integrity Tests
- Job Knowledge Tests
- Personality Tests
- Physical Ability Tests
- Work Samples and Simulations Tests
SIOP intentionally omitted graphology (handwriting analysis) and polygraph tests from their list noting that there is little evidence to support that those test results directly tie to employment decision outcomes.
While navigating through the plethora of testing options can, no doubt, be tricky plus time consuming, SIOP reminds us to remain focused on testing benefits which include the following:
- Individuals are treated consistently;
- Upfront testing leads to savings in the decision-making process;
- Wrong decision costs are high;
- Some jobs require attributes that are difficult, if not impossible, to develop or change; and
- Hard-to-get information can be more easily, quickly and efficiently obtained, especially given the increased volume in job applicants.
SIOP cautiously reminds us, however, that:
- Before selecting a test, determine what you wish to assess; and
- Regardless as to which tests are used, recognize that each has their advantages plus disadvantages.
Knowing that the world of employment tests can be confusing at best, I embarked upon a mission to identify that one “right tool” that would meet my 6 criteria as captured above. For a multitude of fact-based reasons, the tool I have selected is the Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment. Through a multi-part series, I will share the genesis, benefits, disadvantages, practical application and outcomes of leveraging this particular talent assessment and management method.