19 May Culture-Fit and Digital Assessments
Recruiters and companies using culture-fit assessments are a contentious subject at the moment. And they are definitely something that should be discussed.
Typically, figuring out how someone would fit with the team is a people-based process. They could have multiple interviews and coffee catch-ups with their to-be co-workers. This is a great way to figure out if they will mesh with the team and fill gaps needed. However, this can be a very biased process. Individuals are prone to getting along with others who are like them rather than someone who has different experiences and views. Yet we know that an effective work team needs varying views to be successful – while having similar underlying values.
This is where culture-fit assessments come in. Talent assessments are designed to gather objective insight into candidates. These insights help recruiters to assess an individual’s alignment with a company’s values and role requirements.
If built properly with a psychologist, these can be useful tools for an unbiased assessment. Unbiased assessment is crucial to providing a safe and objective application experience. With unbiased assessments, candidates will not be affected by any unconscious biases in the workplace.
A qualified psychologist should be the one to evaluate and map the values and model of success for the company. This is best done by an external party as they will have a more objective approach and are more likely to spot bias. If the model of success is based solely on existing employees, the assessment tool may carry over unconscious biases. For example, imagine all c-suite and managers at a company are middle-aged white men. Based on current employee data, the profile for success at the company will be a middle-aged white man. When selecting tools, it is important to choose one that has proven validity and reliability. On top of validity and reliability, having done an adverse impact study is a good sign for a tool.
What is Adverse Impact?
Adverse impact is when an employer uses a selection process that disproportionately disadvantages members of a minority group.
When people who perform poorly on an assessment also perform poorly on the job, they are not being unfairly discriminated against. This validation confirms that rejecting low scoring candidates is reasonable. Where validation shows people are scoring lower but not performing worse on the job, adverse impact is occurring. (Professional Practice of Psychology in Aotearoa New Zealand).
Psychometric assessments are objective and free from the bias that may occur when evaluating candidates using other criteria (educational achievements, work experience, etc.). The ‘predicting potential’ capacity of psychometric assessments is integral to enabling diverse employment practices.
Talent measurement assessments are designed to be used as early as possible in the candidate journey. Using them early helps to predict relevant on the job behaviours before an interview. They are one of a range of proven techniques and should be applied along with other innovative approaches. Other tools could be:
- Video introductions to the organisation
- Video interviews before in-person interviews
- Digital reference checking
It is not possible to obtain a complete picture of a candidate’s potential and behaviour with a single tool. However, you can gather a wide range of predictive data through pairing culture-fit assessments, structured interviews, and, background checks and reference checks. Combinations of assessment techniques are better than any individual selection method.