How our assessments can help you select the best candidate – pitfalls to avoid

Written by Grégoire Depeursinge EVP EMEA, Managing Partner Switzerland and Leonie Pentz VP EMEA, Managing Partner South Africa

At AIMS we know that any business is only as good as the sum of its employees.  With our practice team leaders and entrepreneurial partners leading the way, we constantly strive to intimately understand the purpose and underscoring values of our client businesses on the one hand and developing future-fit employee engagement and employer branding strategies and processes on the other.

Today is the third in our series of short articles explaining the services we offer, when and how to use them and how we can help Hiring Managers and Business Leaders build better teams;

Episode 3 – How our assessments can help you select the best candidate – pitfalls to avoid

While it is certainly worthwhile to invest in formal assessment or testing of finalist candidates, there are also some pitfalls to avoid.

Computerised tests, combined or not with assessments, are more and more the rule. Many companies have introduced their own systems used by in-house recruiters or partner with external firms, often also with their executive search provider. The main motivation for this is risk management, as a mis-hire will result in very high costs to the company whilst testing normally represents a low percentage of the hiring costs.

How tests can help you:

  • Check if there is a match between your perception of the candidate’s personality and the test results, especially in key personality traits, motivators or competences
  • Verify doubts concerning potential weaknesses
  • Confirm perceived strengths and areas of improvement (better evaluate the long-term potential of the candidate)
  • Verify the cognitive abilities (with cognitive tests), something which is difficult to do in the course of an interview
  • Allow a more in-depth evaluation/understanding of the candidate through discussion of the test results
  • Prepare the taking of references (what questions should you ask?)
  • Take a more informed decision (I am hiring this candidate in spite of this weakness. I am aware of it and accept it, even though it was a requisite in the profile)
  • Prepare the onboarding of the candidate (in which areas is he more likely to need help?)
  • In case of unexpected problems after the hire, the solution can often be found in the test and assessment results

How tests can mislead you:

  • When you let the computer take over by not having a well-qualified human being who knows the candidate interpret the results (often, a simple certification with a test provider is not enough)
  • When you let the computer take over, valuing test results above the feeling consecutive to the interviews (it should be the other way round)
  • When you don’t discuss the results with the candidate
  • When you define a desired personality profile for a role or a company and eliminate anybody who does not fit it (many different personalities can be successful and variety is always a plus)

The quality of a testing/assessment tool depends on the comparison of the results with those of a representative reference population. Function, language and culture are important aspects.

AIMS International offers a comprehensive range of tests and assessments with worldwide availability. Those are carried out by experienced and certified consultants, coaches and in-house psychologists. Please contact our Talent Management Team for more information.


AIMS International is a leading global organisation active in Executive Search and Leadership Development.  Founded in 1992, AIMS International is active in 50+ countries today. Thanks to seamless cross border co-ordination and active and dedicated practice teams, we serve many multinational clients, sourcing and engaging with candidates worldwide and provide leadership development services to executives and their teams.