Recruitment & assessment: No, your gut feeling is not enough

What do the different assessment tools mean and why do we use them?

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Kasper Birkegaard Pedersen

Senior Consultant, Denmark


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Recruitment is a critical and complex process for both organisations and candidates. In the search for the perfect match, many headhunters use psychometric analysis tools during the recruitment process.

But what is the purpose of these analyses and what value do they actually add? In this article, we dive into the use of these tools, clarify their importance, and discuss how they can improve both the experience and outcome of the recruitment process for all parties involved.

Two analysis tools that complement each other

When we talk about ‘analysis’ in a recruitment context, we refer to two primary tools that we use to assess candidates. One analysis is a personal profile, which aims to uncover a candidate’s work-related behaviour through various parameters, giving us valuable insights into how the candidate acts in different contexts – for example, in collaborative situations, under pressure, as a leader or how they might be best led themselves. The analysis also serves as an excellent starting point for dialogue, where we can explore different scenarios with the candidate to better understand how they will fit into the specific role and culture of the organisation.

The second analysis we use is a cognitive assessment. This method measures intellectual abilities and gives us an insight into where the candidate stands in terms of analytical and problem-solving skills. In this analysis, the results can be quantified and objectively compared.

Both tools are valuable in ensuring a successful match between candidate and company and complement each other by providing a comprehensive picture of the candidate’s potential for a given position.

Modern assessment tools that promote fairness and diversity

While there are critical perspectives on the use of behavioural and cognitive assessment in recruitment processes, it is important to recognise the significant advances that have been made with modern analytical tools. These advances ensure that traditional candidate assessment challenges are effectively addressed. We use analytical tools that have been developed on a strong evidence-based foundation, ensuring high validity and reliability. By continuously updating and revising these tools, we ensure that they remain relevant and accurate in assessing candidates’ skills and potential.

Our tools also take into account minimising bias related to gender, age and culture. This promotes fairness and diversity in the recruitment process. We are also aware of the psychological impact of the tools and strive to create a pleasant and stress-free experience for candidates. Our approach includes clear instructions and open communication about how and why the tools are used.

While the analytical tools we use provide quantifiable data, we also emphasise personal interviews and other qualitative methods. This ensures a holistic assessment of candidates where both soft skills and personal compatibility contribute to the final decision. Our analytical tools are regularly revised to reflect the latest developments and trends in the market, ensuring they remain current and effective in identifying the most suitable candidates for specific roles.

By integrating these tools into the process, we not only ensure that our recruitment process is fair and accurate, but that it also respects and promotes candidates’ potential and likelihood of success.


Levelling the playing field!

There are several good reasons to analyse and assess a candidate using these tools. Firstly, it allows us to assess candidates on common parameters, making it easier to compare candidates who may vary widely in experience and background. This ‘levels the playing field’ and creates a common basis for both evaluation and interviewing. Furthermore, it’s important that candidates not only match the job description, but also fulfil criteria that ensure they will thrive and perform in the role. It’s not enough to simply hire a person; true success is truly achieved when the employee proves to be successful in their role. This respectful approach ensures that we not only look at the candidate’s ability to do the job, but also consider whether they will find joy and fulfilment in their work. In this way, we look at recruitment from both sides of the equation, which benefits both the company and the candidate.


But what about the competency-based interview?

Many companies choose to supplement or combine behavioural analysis with a competency-based interview technique. A competency-based interview technique uses questions that aim to uncover how a candidate has used specific skills in previous positions and how they deal with problems, tasks and challenges. These questions are also known as behavioural or situational questions. The technique is based on the assumption that past behaviour is a good indicator of future behaviour and is particularly beneficial for employers seeking ‘raw’ talent, such as recent graduates in graduate programmes where experience is less important than attitude, and for those seeking promotion within an organisation.

Kasper Birkegaard Pedersen, Senior Consultant at Compass, believes that this approach can offer more in-depth insights in certain contexts: “This is an interesting angle on candidate assessment, and in many contexts, it may offer better results than traditional behavioural analysis,” he says and elaborates: “But in our recruitment process we don’t think it can stand alone. We need an effective method of analysis that works across the board.”

At Compass, we handle a wide range of clients from different industries, which requires an approach that is both research-based and able to minimise bias in the process. Therefore, a wide range of candidates are assessed, and the combination of methods ensures that we can effectively identify the most suitable talent across sectors.

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Advanced assessment tools are valuable elements in modern recruitment processes to ensure successful candidate placement. By combining behavioural and cognitive assessment, we gain an in-depth understanding of each candidate’s unique characteristics and competencies. This enables us to accurately assess who will best contribute to and thrive in a given company culture and work environment.

Backed by research and continuously evolving, these analytical tools help us address and minimise bias while creating a more inclusive and fair hiring. Our commitment to improving and customising these tools ensures that both companies and candidates achieve the most rewarding and successful results. Overall, the use of these analytical tools is not only a technical necessity, but also a strategic advantage that promotes fairness and excellence in recruitment.

These methods ensure that in the recruitment process we not only match skills but achieve a harmonious integration of talent and company culture that respects and promotes each candidate’s potential and well-being. This benefits both the candidates and the organisations that hire them.

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