Five Steps to Navigate Assessments

September 13, 2019

Numerous employee or job candidate assessments are available and each serves a different purpose. Identifying the questions your organization needs to answer will allow you to select the right instruments and get the most value from your assessments.

1. Define your goals.

  • Assess the skills of job candidates.
  • Support an unbiased interview process (identify appropriate culture fit and/or assess job-specific skills).
  • Understand an individual’s skills when a job change is being considered.
  • Determine an individual’s development needs and training requirements.
  • Define what might motivate or challenge an employee. 
  • Understand a team’s strengths and weaknesses as well as how they work together.

2. Identify the information you need to gather and the type of assessment(s) needed.

  • How does an individual solve problems? Use an aptitude assessment.
  • What does an individual already know? Administer one or more skills assessments.
  • How does an individual approach work and social interactions? Give a behavioral assessment.
  • How well does a team function? Provide a team assessment.

Four Key Types of Assessments

It is effective to use multiple types of assessments to supplement other information, for instance, during the hiring process. Likewise, when assessing individuals for other purposes, assessments pair well with 360-degree interviews and performance management information.

3. Determine if you will DIY or hire a consultant.

  • Define how much time you want to invest and if you have the internal resources to support selecting, administering and interpreting the assessments.
  • Are you able to hire consultants to support your needs? Consultants recommend validated assessments, understand how to administer the tests, educate individuals taking the test, and know how to read and present the metrics one-on-one or in a group setting. Consultants can also train an internal team to administer and evaluate the tests for future use.

4. Develop the process.

  • It is always important to tell people what type of test they are taking, what it measures and what will be done with the results. For instance, if you are administering a personality test, there are no right or wrong answers. It is important to put test takers at ease and ask them to answer with their own preferences vs. what they think you’d like them to answer.
  • If you are trying out a new assessment, take the test yourself to get an understanding of how the individual will experience it. For instance, with a behavioral assessment, it is ideal for the administrators to take the assessment to allow them to answer specific questions others may have about it or how the results are shared. Sharing your profile along with personal anecdotes will help build trust and others may be more willing to open up about their profiles.
  • Compass recommends defining a control group to take the assessments first — this will allow you to gauge the accuracy of the results. Administer the assessment sample to individuals who showcase excellence (high performers, perfect culture fit, etc.) to see if the scores match their performance. The control group should also include individuals with distinct opportunity areas. If the latter group scores high on an assessment, yet do not perform well day-to-day, you are likely using the wrong assessment to measure success.
  • Consider when to administer and when you will share results, if not automated.
  • Determine how the assessment will be administered. It is common to allow individuals to take a behavioral assessment without oversight, however, skills and aptitude tests should be proctored to ensure they are completed by the individual in need of assessment.

5. Define how data will be measured and shared.

  • What scores are appropriate for each assessment type and related to the job requirements or other metrics?
  • How will results be shared with the test-taker and person requesting the assessment if not by the assessment administrator?

Sharing outcome thresholds and results establish trust in the process and leadership. Providing internal testimonials and leveraging the information to strengthen decisions and team dynamics will demonstrate the positive impact of assessments to encourage better adoption.

Compass can help lead the way as we have significant experience with customizing assessment plans for organizations and individuals. We offer DiSC-certified Solutions Providers and 1500+ behavior and skills assessments through IBM’s testing platform, along with supplementary group training and team-building sessions. Please e-mail us at info@compass-resources.com to learn how we can help you better use assessment data to build and advance your best team.


Compass navigates beyond traditional HR concepts to facilitate the success of clients. Compass drives organizational performance with proven business and HR consulting strategies. The Compass team’s experience and talent are tailor-fit to find a solution that encompasses any aspect of the employee experience, regardless of the client’s company size or industry. Compass works to learn each client’s business by listening. We serve clients better because we understand and care.