Written by Catherine Librandi, Senior Consultant Talent Management at AIMS International Switzerland
A holistic approach of the individual
A comprehensive overview
The word assessment comes from the English verb “to assess” which means to evaluate. To be objective, an assessment must be based on:
- A robust methodology and psychometric tools that have proven their validity and reliability
- Knowledge of different economic sectors and types of industries, organisations, their internal structure and processes.
- An understanding of economic issues as well as those related to sustainable development
- An understanding of the challenges organisations face in order to stay competitive in the years ahead as well as the strategies and skills required
- An understanding of the purpose and mission of organisations, but also cultural aspects, such as the values that ultimately determine how people will behave
- An understanding of the challenges related to diversity, particularly in terms of making diversity an important driver of business performance
- The evaluator’s awareness of the various cognitive biases that can hinder objective evaluation
But that is not all. It also takes a great deal of knowledge of human psychology to capture all the complexity, singularity and development potential of each person.
Boosting profitability through assessment
The aim of the assessment is to enable managers to decide on a structured, objective and fair basis, since it enables them to know whether the candidate has the skills (technical and also non-technical, i.e. behavioural and relational, commonly known as “Soft Skills”) necessary to perform well in a given role, whether his/her profile is in line with the company’s strategy and values or whether he/she has good development potential.
By highlighting the gaps between the skills that are required and those of the candidates, the assessment can make a concrete contribution to:
- Support decision-makers in the choice of the candidate who is likely to bring the best results (external recruitment and internal promotion)
- Guide the candidate during his integration (onboarding), particularly in skills where there is scope for development
- Reduce recruitment errors and related direct and indirect costs
- Improve performance by highlighting the strengths and development potential of teams (talent management and development). This will also enable concrete planning of the necessary development measures (training, development plan or coaching).
A client-centred approach
First, we will focus on understanding precisely what the customer is expecting: what is the environment, what are the strategic challenges, what are the corporate culture, the nature of the job and the experience required, what are the responsibilities, the goals to be achieved, the technical or Hard Skills and the Soft Skills required for the expected performance? Then determine the purpose of the assessment: is it about identifying new talent following a strategic reorientation, is it about filling a strategic position, is it about ensuring succession, is it about improving performance?
This dialogue between the client and the consultant is an essential step for us, whatever the purpose of the assessment, whether it is for external recruitment, internal recruitment/promotion with a change of responsibilities (HiPo identification / succession plans) or talent management and development (identification of skills and development potential).
Selecting key or winning skills
In a second step, together with the client, we define the key competencies (Soft Skills) that are required for a given position (6-8), either by taking the client’s competency framework as a basis or, if not available, by proposing our own framework. These skills generally cover managerial and relational aspects, those related to emotional and social intelligence and sometimes those related to cognitive aspects.
The assessment will therefore focus on the evaluation of Soft Skills, without however neglecting the strategic aspects and the corporate culture (values). In particular, it will make it possible to highlight aspects that are more difficult to verify in the first interviews, such as the ability to decide, to convince or to manage conflicts, but also give the possibility to focus on the motivational aspects which will boost the candidate’s performance, such as the need for autonomy, recognition, well-being, etc. In our assessments, we also check the match between the candidate’s value system and that of the company. Moreover, in addition to checking cognitive skills such as inductive, numerical and/or verbal reasoning, we attach great importance to emotional intelligence since, from the scores achieved, we can make links to the different Soft Skills: thus a person with high levels in emotional self-management and empathy is likely to be comfortable in situations of negotiation, leadership and even conflict management, just as a person with high scores in emotional awareness is likely to be more comfortable with the ability to resist stress and be open to feedback.
A 3D-view of the candidate
In order to highlight these Soft Skills, once the candidates have completed the battery of tests (personality, motivation and cognitive tests), we carry out a debriefing interview with them, which can last between 2-3 hours. This interview allows us to move from the 2D-perspective provided by the tests to a more exhaustive, precise and concrete 3D-vision of the person. Through competency-based questions we highlight concrete, factual and contextual elements related to the candidate’s professional experience and profile. The information we gather during this interview allows us to test and verify our hypotheses as well as our areas of doubt and to analyse the competency gaps (between what is expected and what the candidate brings).
A tailor-made report
Only after this comprehensive interview do we provide a detailed report containing all the information we have gathered during the entire process as well as a conclusion and recommendation. If the assessment is requested for developmental reasons, we can include targeted measures that will enable the candidate to progress.
Towards a higher level of self-awareness
We also provide the client and the candidate with a possibility to orally discuss the results of the assessment. Whatever the client’s decision, this will allow the candidate to become more aware of his or her strengths and areas for development.
The strength of our teams: their complementarity
Our team is made up of consultants who bring an exhaustive knowledge of the different industries, the economic context, future challenges, issues related to sustainable development and digitalisation, as well as human psychology. We have a global approach and an international mindset as we are present in more than 50 countries. Our consultants are experts both in executive search and talent management and development. With AIMS, you will have a partner who understands your needs and expectations and who will select the best team to support you throughout the process.