The Use of Assessments in the Hiring Process Part 1

 In Company Culture/People At Work, Recruitment Strategies (TA)


I have known Sam for over 10 years and appreciate his passion and desire to bring his skill sets to the area of talent acquisition.  Sam will be playing a key role with us in vetting quality CPG individuals for our Premium Candidate Program (link).   CPGjobs is proud to bring Sam’s expertise to our community.

Sam Alibrando, Ph.D., is a respected speaker and trainer, with results-oriented workshops and talks available in a variety of formats and topics. His company, APC Inc., (link)  provides organizational consultation to growth oriented businesses and organizations. Successful organizations and teams are built on successful relationships; our expertise is in the business of relationships and their role in the development and effectiveness of organizational strategies.

The Use of Assessments in the Hiring Process Part 1Making a good hire is the second most important thing that an organization can do to be successful. (The first is being an organization worthy of the good hire –otherwise, the good hire will eventually leave and join the competition.) Jim Collins in his classic book, Good to Great, states that the first thing that a Great company does–even before having a breakthrough strategy –is to get “the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figure out where to drive it.” Based on his extensive research, Collins concludes that the focus should first be on the Who (and not the What). And in order to get the Who, you have to either hire them or develop them. Both are important but it is more expedient to hire a star performer than taking the time, money and risk to try to develop them.

On the other hand the cost of making a bad hire is notable. I was once hired by a Fortune 500 company to help them hire executives who ran regional organizations within the company. What the company found was that when they made a bad hire, it would take up to two years to realize that it was a bad fit and by that time, they had lost a lot off the top and bottom lines. My colleague and I developed a series of assessments based on the attributes of an idea executive in that position and then ran the final candidates through the assessments to begin an intentional process to properly vet candidates. A process that went beyond merely face-to-face interviews which are highly subjective. (But I get ahead of myself.)

A bad hire is costly. The Harvard Business Review points out that as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions.

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, bad hires resulted in:

  • 36% lost productivity
  • 32% showed a negative impacts on employee morale
  • 18% negative impact on client relations
  • 10% lost sales
  • 31% impacted by the cost needed to train another worker after the bad hire

What company can afford to sustain loses like these? In addition to these factors consider also:

  • The cost to recruit, hire and retrain another person all over again1
  • Costly mistakes and bad decisions they make
  • The time and energy it takes to supervise the bad hire (It is estimated that we spend 80% of our time managing only 20% of our employees.)
  • Good people leave (The #1 reason a person leaves a company is because of their boss)

Making a bad hire is easy–don’t invest much in the process. But you will pay for it later. According to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), it could cost up to five times a bad hire’s annual salary. Making a good hire takes a lot more time and effort (and a little luck). But you pay a lot less on the back end. If you are going to make short cuts in your business do NOT do it around the hiring process.

If you are buying equipment, you probably want the latest and the greatest technology as an investment in your future. Why not use the best “technology” to hire you workforce and especially your leaders as well? One of these technologies comes from the behavioral science: targeted assessments. There are many ways to use assessments in the hiring process. I will mention only one in today’s article. I like to use assessments to build a profile of the ideal hire. With the Fortune 500 Company that I mentioned above, we worked with the stakeholders on what characteristics made up of the ideal candidate. We did this in a few ways:

  • We extracted a wish list of attributes from the stakeholders based on their years of experience and aligned with their strategic plan
  • We did a survey in the field of attributes that were deemed necessary for success from down-line, clients and vendors;
  • We gave a battery of assessments to their Star (and their under-performing) executives and let that inform the idea profile.

As a result of this discovery work we now had a profile of the Ideal Hire and some assessments to give candidates in order to help identify these attributes. (For example, a key attribute was the ability to work independently which we measured on a few assessments.) We used this information to screen people down to finalists and later on we used the assessments to help focus us in our interviews. PLEASE NOTE: I never suggest using the results of an assessment alone to hire or dismiss final candidates. They should only be used as a guide in the interviewing process (and for future on-boarding of the newly hired candidate).

If you want to read more about the process that I use, please see: And remember, making a good hire is the second most important thing that your organization can do to be successful.

Sam Alibrando started his career over 30 years ago as a psychotherapist. His interestin leadership and organizational development led him first to leadership positions he assumed himself. Sam’s top five strengths from StrengthsFinder 2.0 (Woo, Individualization, Communication, Futuristic, Ideation) all point to someone who works collaboratively with others with positive transformation in mind. Whether it is working together with a business owner to hire just the right person to run their operations, grooming a new GM to run a troubled satellite office, facilitating a team-building workshop using the latest personality assessments, helping refine the effectiveness of an executive leadership team — or as one owner commissioned him, “to make all my project managers more emotionally intelligent” — Sam brings all his talents and passion to bear on helping others get to the next level.

Sam Alibrando is also an author. His seminal work on the change process is Follow the Yellow Brick Road: How to Change for the Better When Life Gives You Its Worst. Read more about his book at

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