Herbein Conversation - Hiring Assessments: The Key to Retention

November 2, 2023

Welcome to the Herbein Conversation Podcast, where we delve into pressing topics impacting your business. Join Dr. Gary Kustis, Dr. Gary Kustis, a partner in Herbein's talent and HR consulting team, as he explores the world of hiring assessments. Discover why assessments remain pivotal in today's job market, how technology is transforming the landscape, and best practices for integrating assessments into your hiring process.


Jack Kolmansberger: Hello, and welcome to an episode of the Herbein Conversation, where we take a deep dive into the trending topics that impact your business. I'm your host, Jack Kolmansberger the Chief Growth Officer at Herbein. Herbein's been helping businesses succeed with confidence locally and nationally for over 50 years.

We're very excited about this discussion. It's one that resonates with employers and industries across the board, the important role of hiring assessments in today's dynamic market. I'm happy to introduce today's guest, Dr. Gary Custis, a partner with Herbein's Talent and HR Consulting team. Gary has over 25 years of experience in business consultancy.

He's focused heavily on utilizing applied psychology to foster growth and development in various organizations. Welcome, Gary.

Dr. Gary Kustis: Thanks, Jack. It's great to be here.

Jack Kolmansberger: Okay, Gary. So let's dive right in here. So first question, when we're talking about hiring assessments, can you tell, tell us what exactly a hiring assessment entails?

Dr. Gary Kustis: Yeah, of course. So hiring assessments are tools that help employers kind of gauge the suitability of candidates for different roles that they're looking at. They can encompass various evaluations typically like Personality tests skill assessments, and cognitive evaluations, all those things that help in understanding a candidate's capabilities, their behavior, and how they approach different tasks and challenges.

Essentially, they aid in predicting a candidate's performance and cultural fit within an organization.

Jack Kolmansberger: Okay, so Gary, like, given the constantly evolving nature of today's job market, what role do assessments play and would you describe that role as being pivotal?

Dr. Gary Kustis: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, the job market, you know, it's, it's, it's evolving.

It certainly has, it certainly has been over the last couple of years, but the fundamental principles of successful hiring remain the same, right? It's, it's finding the right match of skill and compatibility. So assessments help in bridging that gap between a resume and the real person behind it. And it allows us to get deeper insights that will help make an informed hiring decision, which are, which really is more critical now than ever.

You know, we, I, we see a lot of companies out there that are struggling right now to find good candidates so there aren't enough people applying, and those who do apply, you know, wouldn't be their first pick. So often they, they, you know, the people in these companies tell me that they don't want to use testing because it's going to reject people that they can't afford to turn away.

So I always respond, however, that, you know, they can hire whoever they want. You know, nothing stopping them from doing that. The testing, however, you know. Could help them uncover and potentially offset the kinds of problems that a candidate who you know, may not be the ideal candidate may bring with them to the job, you know, like a, like a propensity for, for tardiness, for example.

Jack Kolmansberger: Okay. So we're, we're really talking about a, an issue of quality and quantity and just trying to be effective with the, with the hiring process, can you tell us about like what a typical project looks like and how it's going to be beneficial for a hiring team?

Dr. Gary Kustis: Sure. Sure. A typical project, you know, starts with identifying the key competencies required, for that particular job.

So I want to make sure that, we all agree on what it is that we want to measure. And based on that, then we develop a customized assessment strategy. So, and it, which means that we'll utilize, you know, various testing methods, you know, the cognitive tests, the personality tests, Ext. And the collected data then not only reveals that.

Candidates' strengths and weaknesses, but it also provides a roadmap really for their, their integration and their development within the company. So it's really a mutually beneficial relationship, you know, right from the start.

Jack Kolmansberger: Okay. Yeah. Thanks. So when you're looking at today's, everything seems to be technology-focused in the context of technological advancements, how have assessments adapted and are there any new tools or methods that are gaining popularity?

Dr. Gary Kustis: Oh yeah, I just went to the Applied Psychology Conference in Boston this past year, and it was all about the technology. I mean, it was just amazing the kinds of things that people are doing out there. So it's, it's really has, it's really brought a revolution, you know, in assessments. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, you know, all that kind of stuff enables the development of tools that can, they can analyze, you know, these huge data sets and make predictions about candidate success with, you know, with higher and higher accuracy.

And then you have things like, you know, virtual reality or VR and, and, gamified assessments, you know where you don't even realize you're taking a test and those kinds of things are emerging as different ways to evaluate candidates and, and simulated work environments. So you know, in those cases we have, you know, a more hands-on and realistic view, of what a candidate's abilities really are.

Jack Kolmansberger: fascinating. Gary, is, is this a cross-generational issue or is this focus on, the newer generation coming into the workforce?

Dr. Gary Kustis: Oh, it's really cross-generational. I mean, we see these tests being used, you know, across the board. And you know, not only for people being hired you know, new hires into an organization, but also as part of the process for deciding, you know, which of which of a slate of candidates who already work in the company are going to progress then to the next level.

So, you know, across the board.

Jack Kolmansberger: Okay. Yeah. So what, when you're looking at insights into a candidate's potential for growth and development, something that I think always resonates is case studies. Like what the good, the bad, and the ugly, like do you have a couple of case studies that you can share with us?

Dr. Gary Kustis: Yeah, you know, it's not just about selecting, you know, the right candidate. It's also about, you know, nurturing them, you know, right? You want to get the full potential of the person you know, being you know, that you can see throughout the job. So, for instance, you know, in a case where a candidate was assessed for a managerial role you know the assessment revealed, you know, they had high potential, but there was a lack of experience with team management, for instance, in that case, you know, the information that That now is available to the company about this, you know, limitation with the person, you know, allow the company to devise a personalized development plan and, you know, that, of course, you know, allowed them to focus on that particular area and develop the person and it makes and help them make some improvements, you know, you know.

If you look at it this way, it's at the beginning of a job, you know, the beginning of starting a new job, that's when people are the most open to training and development, right? You know, they know they need to learn, they're coming into the job with the expectation that they're going to be taught something new.

So, you know, now is the time to take advantage of that willingness to change right there when they're, you know, excited about it.

Jack Kolmansberger: Okay, so, bottom line, change is good when it comes to assessments.

Dr. Gary Kustis: Oh yeah, yeah, very much so.

Jack Kolmansberger: Gary, just before we wrap up today. Do you have any final advice for organizations that are looking to implement assessments into their hiring process? Any best practices that you can recommend to our our listeners today?

Dr. Gary Kustis: Yeah, yeah, of course. It's, you know you know, first off, it's, you know, it's, it's vital that you, you choose assessments that are scientifically validated, you know, because you want to make sure that you're using something that's accurate and it's reliable.

So, you know, always ask for you know, the information that gives you some confidence that this isn't just something that. Somebody came up with you know, just right off the, you know, out of you know, off of a, a Buzzfeed quiz or something like that second you know, maintain a, you want to maintain a transparent communication process with candidates, you know, you want to be upfront with them.

And one of the things you hear over and over. If we talk in our business also about the, you know, the candidate experience and, you know, Yeah. It's you know, nobody wants to be ghosted. Nobody wants to, you know, be sitting around thinking that they're, you know, potentially a good candidate for a job, not knowing that they were you know they, you know, they've been screened out.

You know, earlier than they realize so, you know, it really helps to make sure that people, you know, know where they are in the process. And also that you explain, especially with assessments, you know, you want to let them know what's the purpose of it. You know, what's the point of this? You know, what's or even what are some benefits of it?

And lastly, I guess I'd say, you know, that, as I said, as I was saying earlier, You know, utilizing the insights that you get from these assessments is just, you know, vital. It's, it's, you know, you're giving, you know, to take one of these assessments and then put it in a drawer after you hire the person you know, it's, you're wasting it.

There are so many times when people look at those things later on, and they're like, ah, why didn't we remember this? Or why didn't we, you know, continue, to work with this person? We, the report said it right here. We should have known. So they can be a really big help, in building a cohesive and dynamic workforce.

Jack Kolmansberger: Okay. Well, I'd like to thank our guest today, Dr. Gary Kustis. Thank you for joining today's Herbein conversation. I'm sure our listeners, just as I have, have gained a wealth of knowledge on this crucial topic. We want to thank all the audience for listening in. To learn more about assessments and how they can revolutionize your hiring practice, please visit Herbein.com. Until the next time, this is Jack Kolmansberger signing off.