What are Behavioral Assessments and when should you use them

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Behavioral assessments are a type of assessment used in recruitment to evaluate the behaviors and competencies of job candidates. They are designed to provide insights into how candidates might behave in certain work-related situations and how they might handle specific tasks and challenges.

Behavioral assessments typically involve asking candidates to complete tasks or answer questions that are designed to measure specific behavioral traits or competencies. For example, a behavioral assessment might ask candidates to describe how they would handle a difficult customer service situation, or to provide examples of times when they demonstrated leadership or problem-solving skills.

The purpose of behavioral assessments is to provide hiring managers with a more complete picture of a candidate's strengths and weaknesses, beyond what can be gleaned from a resume or traditional interview. By evaluating a candidate's behavior in specific situations, hiring managers can make more informed decisions about whether a candidate is a good fit for the role and the company culture.

Some common types of behavioral assessments used in recruitment include situational judgment tests, personality assessments, and cognitive ability tests. These assessments may be administered online, in person, or as part of a larger assessment center.

  1. Situational Judgment Tests (SJTs): These are assessments that present candidates with realistic work scenarios and ask them to choose the best course of action or response from a set of options. The scenarios are designed to test specific competencies, such as problem-solving, communication, and teamwork. SJTs are often used for roles that require strong interpersonal skills, such as customer service, sales, or management positions.

  2. Personality Assessments: These are assessments that measure a candidate's personality traits and characteristics, such as extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness. Personality assessments are often used to determine a candidate's fit with the company culture and to predict how they might behave in certain work situations. They can be administered in various formats, including self-report questionnaires or situational judgment tests.

  3. Cognitive Ability Tests: These are assessments that measure a candidate's mental ability and aptitude, such as their verbal, numerical, and spatial reasoning skills. Cognitive ability tests are often used to predict a candidate's potential job performance and to determine their ability to learn and adapt to new tasks and challenges.

  4. Emotional Intelligence (EI) Tests: These are assessments that measure a candidate's emotional intelligence, which is their ability to perceive, understand, and regulate their own emotions, as well as those of others. EI tests are often used for roles that require strong leadership and interpersonal skills, such as management positions.

  5. Work Sample Tests: These are assessments that ask candidates to complete tasks or simulations that simulate real job tasks and situations. Work sample tests are often used to assess a candidate's ability to perform specific job-related tasks and to determine their technical and practical skills.

Here are a few examples of how behavioral assessments have helped make organisations recruit and manage talent in a more effective manner:

  1. Improving employee retention: A company was experiencing high employee turnover rates and wanted to improve retention. They implemented a personality assessment as part of their recruitment process to help identify candidates who were a good fit for the company culture and job requirements. As a result, they saw a significant decrease in employee turnover and an increase in employee satisfaction.

  2. Identifying high-potential candidates: A company wanted to identify high-potential candidates who had the skills and competencies to succeed in leadership roles. They used cognitive ability and situational judgment tests as part of their recruitment process to assess candidates' ability to problem-solve, think critically, and handle complex situations. This helped them identify candidates with strong leadership potential and provided them with a pool of qualified candidates to groom for future leadership roles.

  3. Assessing team fit: A company was experiencing team conflicts and wanted to improve team cohesion. They implemented a personality assessment as part of their recruitment process to help identify candidates who had the personality traits and values that were compatible with the team culture. This helped them build more cohesive and productive teams and improved overall job satisfaction.

  4. Reducing recruitment bias: A company was concerned about unconscious bias in their recruitment process and wanted to ensure that they were hiring the most qualified candidates, regardless of their background. They implemented a work sample test as part of their recruitment process to assess candidates' technical and practical skills, which helped reduce bias and ensure that the most qualified candidates were being hired.

Overall, behavioral assessments can help companies make more informed hiring decisions, improve employee retention, identify high-potential candidates, assess team fit, and reduce recruitment bias. By using a combination of assessment methods, companies can build more effective and diverse teams that are better equipped to achieve their goals.

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