Assessments…tools to help you make better business decisions


The world economy has turned the labor market into a commodity. Those countries which can provide the cheapest labor are taking jobs from the United States and Europe. The long-term hope is that third-world countries will become consumers of US products and services and the US niche will become the knowledge and technology arenas.

It’s interesting to note, as we become more advanced from a technology and productivity standpoint, many of our practices in the areas of hiring, promoting, people development, and succession planning have not changed to accommodate these advances.

We continue to rely on the use of interviews, resumes, past experiences, observations of personal qualities, and references as a basis for hiring or promoting. We often promote our best salesperson to be the sales manager and our strongest technical person to be the manager of engineering. While these are important “pieces of the puzzle,” ignoring personality, specific competencies, and the measurement of management skills often leads to bad decision making, which can cost companies dearly now and in the future.

Tools to measure and benchmark successful managers are helpful for astute owners and leaders to ensure they are hiring and promoting the “right” people, those who have the greatest chance to succeed in your organization. If your pool of candidates is only made up of individuals currently with your company, then benchmarking against them will not necessarily lead to hiring or promoting the “right” person. A combination of tests and assessments, along with a careful examination of past performance, will get you closer to better hiring and promotional decisions.

The key to the successful use of assessments is to make sure the tools you use are valid. A valid assessment can:

  • More accurately predict future success because it is validated through large sample sizes
  • Select specific competencies that match with a successful person at the same level of responsibility
  • Determine the best practices that have been established within the pool of successful people at that level to define development needs

It is not enough to internally benchmark what someone does in a particular job and then compare candidates to that benchmark. You must compare the results to a larger pool of normative data in order to obtain reliable results. If you’re wondering which assessments are valid, you can refer to the Buros Center for Testing that evaluates assessments to determine which are valid in a work place environment. While many assessments provide additional information about candidates, which can be valuable and useful in some developmental applications, be careful not to extend these same assessments for use in selection and promotion situations.

How have you utilized assessments in your organization to assess potential leadership candidates? Let us know in the comments below.


Dan is the Founder and CEO of Career Partners International – Davenport. Dan has over 25 years of experience as one of the Midwest’s leading Retained Search Executives. Dan is a very active and highly respected community leader serving on numerous not-for-profit and for-profit Boards. The customer focused values organizations experience when they partner with the Management Resource Group are a direct reflection of Dan’s vision for the organization.

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