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Can ‘Fun’ Assessments Be Functional?
  • FAQ

If you’re in HR, then you’ve probably come across a new wave of talent assessments that try a simplified approach to gathering information about candidates. Ever heard of the Draw-A-Dog Scale? It’s used to measure children’s cognitive development, but similar visual assessments are making their way into the world of talent selection.

Recently, a client asked us about a 2 minute picture-based personality assessment. They wanted to know why we don’t implement something similar, and why our assessments take so long (8-15 minutes, typically) in comparison.

Who doesn’t love pictures? But we want to be sure that the assessments our clients use are going to add real value to the selection process. So here are a few things to watch out for as you evaluate different assessment methods.

  • Too general. If the same set of questions is used for every job, whether it’s a hotel desk clerk or a VP of operations, then the assessment probably casts too wide a net and won’t be able to accurately predict performance for any specific role.
  • Irrelevant questions. Questions that aren’t related to the job only create noise in the selection process. Plus, someone applying for a customer service job, for example, will probably be confused by a question asking them about their interest in nature.
  • Potential bias. The problem with pictures and symbols is that they can mean different things in different cultures and groups… For instance, are men more likely to endorse images of other men? And if so, what do you learn from that?
  • High vs. low scores. If the scoring is too simplified, for example, someone who agrees with all the statements get the maximum score, then the assessment is really only measuring how agreeable they are, not how well they’ll perform in the role.

For an assessment to truly add value (and be legally defensible), there should be a clear link between assessment scores and job performance. In other words, candidates who score well on the assessment actually perform better in the role, which means your selection criteria is aligned with the job competencies that lead to success.

What we like about some of these new assessments is that they provide a streamlined, mobile-friendly experience. And we agree that a visually appealing design is more engaging for candidates, but style can’t replace substance. That’s why we recommend a scientifically sound assessment in a fresh, candidate-focused interface.

This post is part of our FAQs series, where you can learn about the inner-workings of our assessments, as well as best practices to help improve your hiring process.

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