Ask the Heat Treat Recruiter-Should Potential Employees be Tested?

Jessica Maier, Sr. Recruiter at recruiting firm International Search Partners is a regular contributor to “The Monty Heat Treat News”. Today she answers a question posed by a large furnace OEM-Should we implement the use of testing to make hiring decisions or otherwise utilize assessments during my hiring process?

“The Monty Heat Treat News has worked closely with International Search Partners, a US search firm which is known for being the only recruiting agency in the world working exclusively in the heat treatment industry, for many years now. In 2023, The Monty is pleased to announce that this relationship will continue with ISP offering a regular exclusive feature where they will answer questions about salaries, interviewing, negotiations, and a host of other topics related to recruiting and job searching for companies and/or individual professionals in the heat treat industry.

Jessica Maier, Sr. Recruiter, recently tackled this question from the HR Manager of a large furnace OEM: Should we implement the use of testing to make hiring decisions or otherwise utilize assessments during my hiring process?

Jessica: Generally, my advice is that assessments should not be used exclusively to make a hiring decision, however, they can, sometimes, be used as a tool.

Let me explain, there are a ton of different testing varieties out there but, assessments break down to 2 general categories: skillset & personality.

Skillset. When I say skillset, I’m talking the hard skills. AutoCAD, calculations, thermodynamic principles. Think something akin to a math test to assess your algebra skill level. These tests often work well in the engineering space but not much else. Often created by the employer, these are used to see what level of a certain skillset a candidate has. If you are hiring someone that needs to bring a very specific knowledge to the table, these assessments can be used to determine a candidates specific skill level. If a candidate cannot pass to a certain level, they may not be a good fit or may require additional training. For certain technical or niche roles, these types of tests are a good determinator of how well a prospective candidate will perform in a role.

The other benefit of skills testing vs personality testing is that they make more sense to the candidate and are more likely to be accepted as a reasonable part of the interview process. In fact, most prospective employees will be happy to show off their abilities. Personality tests, however, can be a turnoff and we’ve seen several strong candidates remove themselves from consideration because they just don’t believe in them.

Personality. These are anything and everything pertaining to someone’s personality: management style, conflict resolution, workplace strengths & weaknesses. These types of assessments are where I most often see an employer lose out on an amazing candidate due to a “red flag” shown in a personality assessment. This is because these assessments are often geared towards showing faults not strengths. Think about who gains from these assessments: if you purchase one assessment and hire one candidate, the company that you purchased from is not going to get your repeat service immediately. If the assessment shows you faults and you don’t make a hire, you’re going to purchase another assessment to test the next candidate. Who gains here? Additionally, when assessments are being taken, candidates will often answer questions in ways they think a perspective employer wants to hear. This is even done subconsciously and completely on accident. So, while a “red flag” might pop up, it may not directly correlate to a candidate’s flaw.

So where does a personality assessment make sense? These assessments are great at showing managers how to best manage a new employee after they’ve been hired. They can also show where a company might invest in some extra training for their employees.

Bottom line, I am a firm believer that a candidate should not be dismissed solely because of the results of a personality quiz. I have seen too many companies lose out on top candidates due to a failed assessment that excel with their competitors who did not use one. I encourage my clients to look at the whole picture when it comes to the hiring process. Does the candidate match the skillset needed? Does the candidate mesh well with the company culture? Does the candidate meet the logistics (compensation range available, open to relocation, etc.)? Looking at the whole picture and understanding that assessments can be a tool will help you make the most informed decision on who to hire.

Jessica Maier has specialized in talent acquisition for the heat treat industry since being hired by Josh Hale at International Search Partners in 2015. Since then, she’s helped make hundreds of industry hires, while maintaining a love for the thrill of the search and passion for putting “good people in front of good companies.” For more information email [email protected] or call 619-465-9621.”

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