BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Assessing suitability

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The following information is an excerpt from the whitepaper ‘Best Practices in Talent Assessment’ by Dan Harrison, PhD, of Harrison Assessments International ©2008 Harrison Assessments International.  For a copy of the full report, please email us.

For most jobs, suitability factors are about 50% of the job success factors. Therefore, effectively measuring suitability is an essential part of assessment. However, suitability is much more difficult to measure than eligibility. The first challenge is to determine which suitability factors relate to job success for a particular job. However, even when that is determined, assessing job suitability accurately is unlikely unless you can determine how different levels of each suitability factor impacts job success.

For example, you may determine that self-motivation is an important factor for job success for a particular job. But you still need to determine how detrimental or how beneficial each level of self-motivation. In some cases, the more the person has the better. However, for other jobs, a moderate level is enough.

Each level of each factor needs to be scored according to its impact on performance. That is why HA contains significant previous research regarding suitability factors and their impact on performance for different job types and for different jobs. Without this, it is nearly impossible to assess behaviour effectively.

Suitability factors are behavioural and are much more difficult for people to change than eligibility factors. This makes it even more important to accurately assess behaviour during the recruitment process. Most organisations hire people for their eligibility and then try to develop their suitability. And in many cases fire them for their lack of suitability. Since behaviour is fundamentally more difficult to change than eligibility, it is better to hire people who already have the suitability for the job.

To illustrate different aspects of suitability, here are some examples of job behaviour factors that could be relevant to a specific job. These are just a small sample of more than one hundred important suitability factors that could relate to job success.

• What types of things will an applicant or employee accomplish or put off?

• What motivates them?

• How will they communicate, influence and lead?

    • How well they can handle autonomy, freedom and responsibility?

    • How much initiative will they take?

    • How much will they persist when faced with obstacles?

    • How innovative will they be?

    • How much will they accept and respond appropriately to feedback?

    • To what degree will they become autocratic, dogmatic, dictatorial or controlling?

    • How much will they resist change and/or be rigid?

    • What behaviours will they exhibit under stress?

    • How much will they be blunt or harsh in their communications?

    • How much will they tend to be blindly optimistic, impulsive, illogical or easily influenced?

    • To what degree will they avoid difficult decisions?

    • How well will they organise and handle details?

    • How much will they be scattered or chaotic in their approach to projects or planning?

    • How much will they seek to learn, grow and excel?

    • What kind of recognition do they need?

    • As a leader, how well will they provide direction?

    • How well will they enforce policy and standards?

    • How likely are they to steal?

    • How well do they handle conflicts?

    • How reasonable will they be when assessing the value of their contributions to the company?

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