4 Tips for Mastering Your Pre-Employment Testing Battery

If you think that you don’t truly know a potential hire until you walk a mile in their shoes, you’re using the wrong pre-employment tests.

It all comes down to what tools you’re using in your testing battery or your collection of pre-employment tests for analyzing new hires and employees. These psychological measurements can give you insight into how an individual will act before they ever set foot in a cubicle.

But when it comes to building the perfect pre-employment testing battery for your company, it can be hard to understand what works and what doesn’t. That’s why we’ve outlined four tips to help you streamline your hiring process.

Learn exactly what your battery can do.

Depending on the amount of testing, and the quality of the tools, batteries can provide companies with crucial information about an individual’s ability to perform in the workplace. Normally, this testing comes in three forms, personality, basic skills, and mechanical aptitude.

For the most part, these personality tests are the main focus of a company’s battery because they offer the most about an individual’s specific capabilities. The traits that these tests measure range from emotional resilience, to thinking skills, to personal communication.

By using these traits in combination with each other, it becomes easy to make predictions on how a new hire might behave in the workplace, barring some sort of Freaky Friday incident in the breakroom.

Use the testing tools that work for your business.

While I wish it was as simple as placing these tests into three main categories, it’s not.

Although the wide selection can seem intimidating, each test has its own strengths and weaknesses for learning more about your new hires.

For example, the 16 PF and the WPI have similar elements to them when determining an individual’s personality. However, the 16 PF is more focused towards how a new hire will perform in your office’s home court, while the WPI tells you more about their behavior during an away game.

While some tests are more common than others, there is no good, better and best when it comes to pre-employment testing. Each test has unique traits to offer your business.

Know the difference between commodity and specialized tests.

Odds are, you won’t need a series of thorough and complicated tests to see if someone’s up to the challenge of flipping burgers. But these five tests would be more applicable for an operations position where this kind of profiling is key.

Tests like the 16 PF and the Hogan are excellent commodity tests that work in a vacuum for basic jobs that aren’t as complicated as leadership roles. They can tell you if an individual would perform well in the role, and you end up getting more value for your testing.

But the more sophisticated the position is, the more tests you should run in your battery to lower your risks of mismanagement. And if you implement too much testing, you end up losing value because there’s nothing more to learn. So when you’re hiring, it’s important to find a critical value that balances your testing budget, with the complexity of the job you’re offering.

Understand what the results mean for each job position.

Testing instruments give you comprehensive information about an employee’s personality and strengths in the workplace. But if you misread their skills, it can be easy to mismanage them or place them in situations where they can’t perform.

For example, you might find that a potential hire is great in a leadership role, so it makes sense to put them in a management or executive position. However, if they lack critical thinking skills to manage assets and make difficult decisions, they’ll crack under the pressure.

To avoid wasting your testing budget, thoroughly research your assessment tools, and learn the relationship between each testing factor in a work environment. When you do, you’ll be able to understand every aspect of what a new hire is capable of, before you even get through an interview.

So what’s in the perfect testing battery?

The ideal testing battery has a collection of tests that offers you enough information to profile them, without wasting value on additional testing. This can vary from position to position, but it’s important to constantly adapt to your hiring environment, and don’t be afraid to go through some trial and error.

Growth usually takes on one of two very distinct pathways: a linear path and an exponential one. The latter sounds great, right? Just pull a few levers and watch your organization reap the benefits of exponential growth, making all of your dreams come true. Wait till that next quarterly review, you’ll show them you mean business!

Except that isn’t the entire story, and consistent leadership development results are better than exponential growth that isn’t sustainable.

So why talk about exponential growth in the domain of creating better leaders in the workplace? Well, because it never hurts to have something to aspire to. It never hurts to see what can indeed happen when consistent action is scaled out. That’s the key to making leadership development a potent component in today’s fast paced business environment.

What does feedback really mean? We talk about feedback, but we know that not all feedback is created equal. Feedback should begin with empathy, which is truly understanding the other person's perspective. From there, we want to come forward with evidence that backs up the statements we're going to make to that person. Direct, professional, and straightforward is the name of the game here.

Feedback and accountability go hand in hand within the world of strategically assessing leadership strengths and weaknesses.

What Comprehensive Feedback Isn't

Sometimes it's important to highlight what something isn't before we can really start visualizing what it is constructively. If you want to build or even transform current feedback and accountability processes, here's what to avoid most:

  • Relying on one assessment. There is no perfect assessment, and it's critical to avoid idolizing any assessment as the One True Measure of performance

  • Keeping resources too narrow. This isn't about trying to use as few resources as possible. Pull out all of the tools and see what's reasonable in terms of the specific leader being refined for greater opportunities (the ultimate goal)

  • Don't settle for just covering strengths and weaknesses in terms of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Full insight requires full analysis; KPIs are just a shortcut.

Collecting quantitative data is important, but don’t skip the opportunities to collect qualitative data along the way as well. For example,

Breaking Down Strategic Leadership Assessment - The Best Path Forward for Growth

In order to get the growth needed to stay competitive, it's time to go back to the drawing board. What does strategic leadership assessment look like in action? Well, the important point is that it begins with realizing the end goal: you're getting insight into an individual's makeup and identifying what their true strengths and weaknesses are. We're going back to the 3D Leadership model as one of the key foundational points of this plan.

Staying the Course

Motivation is a big topic in the business world because we're used to watching people quit. Why do people quit before they've reached the finish line? Sometimes it's a matter of not being able to visualize the end. Or perhaps it's not having enough milestones to reflect upon as they move deeper into their journey. Not everyone will finish their leadership development plan, or approach it with enthusiasm.

Reassurance isn't a bad thing, and it can help bolster morale to the point where employees buy back in. For entry-level employees, leadership development can feel impossible because they're starting their journey with a lot to cover. For the more seasoned leader, development often takes a "been there, done that" feeling.

Dive Deeper Into Refinement With Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development

Digging into the roots of better leadership development isn’t an easy journey. Yet it is absolutely essential for companies of all sizes.

Did you miss the deep dive on assessments? Check out the Strategic View of Hiring podcast episode, Exploring the World of Assessments.

Check out the book store and order a copy of Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development today.

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