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Psychometric Assessments Decoded in #4 Steps Why are personality assessments so crucial prior to hiring?

By Ravi Panchanadan

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The hiring process is in itself challenging, time consuming and often results in dissatisfaction and frustration when the objective is not met in full. This is particularly the case when companies are involved in mass hiring as there are a large number of candidates to choose the best fit from.The process involves companies visiting the best engineering colleges and B – schools, conducting assessments, interviewing the short-listed candidates to select their entry-level employees, often termed as HPELs (Highly Paid Entry Level).

However, despite the effort and investment of time by the companies, it was found during a survey that a large proportion of the graduates from business schools do not own the expertisethat these companies need the most. As per a recent Bloomberg survey, corporate recruiters say that the newly minted MBAs are found having dearth in some highly sought-after skills of the industry.

The study conducted over 600 companies and 1000+ recruiters, showed that competencies / skills such as communication skills, initiative, problem solving, analytical thinking, creativity, collaboration, strategic thinking, entrepreneurship, global mindset, risk taking, leadership skills and more were among the most sought after traits by hiring organizations.

Identifying these competencies at the onset of hiring leads to a complete job fitment for the given role and will definitely work as a game changer for organizations. The simple and easy path that would lead to finding best-fit individuals would be to re-look at the hiring process itself.

Ideally, a hiring process must be based on assessing the competencies / skills arrived at by in-depth consulting process.

The first step would be to identify the key competencies across knowledge / domain, skills, aptitude and behavior/ personality that contribute to high performance in the given job role. Each job role is broken up into tasks which further help in pointing towards the exact competencies that are required for the successful performance of the job role.

For instance, the job role of a sales executive primarily involves organizing sales visits, demonstrating/presenting products, establishing new business, maintaining accurate records, attending trade exhibitions, conferences and meetings, reviewing sales performance and negotiating contracts.The skills required to perform this role would consist of competencies2such as: Confidence, Perseverance, Patience, Excellent interpersonal skills, Commercial awareness, IT skills and Numerical skills.

The second step would be to identify and employ the right assessments that measure the required competencies and yield results that can be mapped to the identified competencies for the job role.

For example, a battery of assessments that contain analytical reasoning, communication & presentation skills and all the behavior traits mentioned, in the example above, should be used to assess candidates applying for the role of a sales executive. In addition such assessments should have been designed for the target audience – if these assessments are to be used for Indian population then the language must be easily understood by non-native speakers of English, the assessments should have Indian norms basis which hiring decisions are made and it should be affordable for large scale usage.

The third step is to understand and interpret the results of the assessment accurately. This can be done by using assessments that provide reports that are easy to understand and interpret by untrained professionals / psychometricians.

For example: The reports should be easily readable with quick pointers to the selection / fitment of the candidate to the given job role.

Fourth, the assessment should then ideally be followed by a structured interview.A structured interview is designed to throw light on the areas of strengths and development of the candidate to make informed decisions.

For example: A structured interview template will have questions pertaining to specific competencies that have been measured through tests to facilitate quick clarification and / or double check the performance of the candidate on that competency. Questions such as: "Can you narrate an incident where your commercial awareness made a difference to winning a client order?" will help the interviewer understand the candidate's awareness and will also confirm the test results obtained about s/he being high, average or low on this competency.

A meticulous process such as this for hiring, will ensure the recruitment of the best fit for the given job role and would pave the way to a successful organization.

Ravi Panchanadan

CEO of MeritTrac Services

Ravi Panchanadan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from XLRI, Jamshedpur.  Prior to this appointment, he was CEO of Manipal Global Education (Middle East and Africa), and was instrumental in turning around the Manipal University Dubai campus and foraying into Africa.

His previous positions include being the SBU Head for the Manufacturing & ECS business verticals of Infosys BPO where, as the Practice Head for the new Sourcing & Procurement (S&P) practice, he grew from scratch to $35 million in just three years. Before joining Infosys, Ravi was with Intel (2003 – 2008), where, apart from working on putting India on the Intel supplier sourcing map, he was responsible for high value strategic contracts and for setting up and leading global Innovation for the materials group. Prior to Intel, Ravi was with Hindustan Unilever Ltd (1990 – 2003) where he has held several senior leadership positions in IT, Supply Chain, Operations, Finance, Commercial and new business development areas.

His key strengths are P&L management, global client engagement, new client acquisition, operations and people management.  He is a respected global thought leader in the Supply Chain industry. 

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