Attracting the right people is only one part of talent management. How they are measured against the organisation's needs is what makes the difference between a good hire and a costly one.
Formal assessment has been a core component of talent management for more than 100 years. Assessment centres were first used in industry by telecommunications giant AT&T in the 1950s.
Much of the early work in assessment was carried out by educational and clinical psychologists, leaning heavily on testing and biographical interviews. Now, an increasing number of organisations are using more leading-edge techniques, where candidates can get as close an experience to the real job as possible. So how do organisations know which approach is most effective?
Why assessment is important
There are two main reasons why a business should invest in effective assessment techniques:
First, from a traditional HR viewpoint, it builds better employer branding, ensures a good fit, maintains the culture, and portrays the employer as fair and objective.
Second, numerous studies have shown there are massive savings to be made through the use of valid techniques. This covers not only the effectiveness of the person selected - a high performer typically outperforms an average performer by 40% - but also decreased costs associated with training and increased tenure.
What is effective assessment?
There are a range of assessment tools that are used at senior levels within organisations. These range from hour-long interviews and a few tests, through to full-blown assessment centres lasting up to a week.
Interviews are renowned for being open to all sorts of biases - not helped by the fact that often interviewers are not trained.
Also, the use of biographical interviews (which often start with childhood experiences and work up to present day) and psychometrics are going to come under increasing scrutiny under the new age discrimination law. Most psychometric tools (personality or ability) show significant age related differences in scores - a fact that many users are unaware of.
New forms of assessment
Leading-edge assessments are now built around business simulations. These