Assessing talent: getting it right in the downturn

During an economic downturn, the first temptation for every employer is to cut costs – either to stabilise profit or, in more extreme cases, to survive. There are some areas, however, where attempting to cut back could end up costing the business considerably more than is saved. Assessment is one such area.

The economic situation is grim, but good employers who are ahead of the game will appreciate that economic recovery will follow the gloom, and with recovery will come immense opportunity. The best people need to be onboard to ensure optimal business performance both during the recession and when recovery comes. Business survival will depend on it.

It is absolutely essential for an organisation to assess how important its people are now and for the future. Getting the right people is going to impact significantly on the bottom line and will be the difference between success and failure.

Applying rigorous, fair, and tailored assessment ensures that the investment organisations make in their workforce will be money well spent. There are some fundamental elements an organisation needs to have in place to guarantee their assessment process hits the mark in these trying times.

First, as discussed in TMP’s recent White Paper, The Right Fit: Reducing the Risk of Recruitment, organisations need to ensure they are using a competency framework that fully reflects the behaviours and skills people need to be successful in a given job.

Second, organisations need to put in place a recruitment process that deals efficiently with large volumes and assesses candidates against both the competency model and motivational fit for a role as well as an organisation. As competition for jobs increases, so the need for sorting the wheat from the chaff becomes all the more important. Candidates will increasingly apply for jobs through a need for work, regardless of whether they are suitably qualified or genuinely motivated to perform within the available roles. The number of applications companies face can become quite overwhelming.

Third, there is a range of assessment methods (such as assessment centres, competency-based interviews and psychometric tests) that organisations can use to ensure they gain a thorough and objective assessment of candidates. Companies cannot underestimate the importance of getting assessment right, and using the right tools to find the right people will be the winning success factor for seeing out the downturn.

Claire Parkin is head of assessment at TMP Worldwide

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