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Strategic Assessments:  Setting up Assessments for Success

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Question Two:

Why are assessments being requested?  What is behind the assessment request?  According to IO psychologists, there are two primary reasons for assessment:  selection and development.  Within these two categories, assessments are used in a number of ways, as the following scenarios illustrate.

 Assessments for Selection Scenarios:

Talent Acquisition

Scenario One: The Talent Acquisition Department identified finalists for a key senior position.  They then hired an independent, outside firm to assess the two final candidates.  Following an assessment battery, the assessment report offered an external, objective perspective and gave the company a recommendation for the final selection.  The report included insights into company fit, long term potential and potential issues.  While the organization still made the final selection, there was more data on which to base the decision.

Cultural Fit and Role Readiness

Scenario Two:  In another organization, an executive search firm had identified the final candidate for one of their key clients.   As a part of the recruitment process, the firm did an executive assessment.  This data was given to the internal VP of Talent to ensure the company was aware of the potential hire’s cultural fit, strengths and areas of opportunity.  When the person was hired, they also received a debriefing of the data in order to be aware of the potential fits and challenges.  This assessment data is also helpful for an onboarding and transition coach.

There is a debate in some assessment circles as to the implications and objectivity of the search firm also doing the report on the candidate.  While some firms state that they have a wall between assessment and selection, other firms would suggest a conflict of interest by having the search firm also do the assessment results.

Success Profile

Scenario Three:  An organization wanted to understand and improve the skills of a given role within their workforce.  First, the best performers were identified using objective criteria. Next, an external IO psychologist team assessment team interviewed and assessed the high performers and built a success profile.  The organization can now assess current and future leaders against this profile, and create  development plans.

Assessments for Development Scenarios:


Scenario Four:  Through the talent process, an organization had identified their strongest future leaders.  To launch the high-potential development program, all participants received assessments and executive coaching to heighten leadership self-awareness and provide development direction.  The company used a 360 and a validated style instrument to give the leaders crucial feedback.  Each participant was given executive coaching sessions to debrief the instruments and support to create the actions plans.

Leadership Skill Evolution:

Scenario Five:  With consumer tastes shifting, a company needed their leaders to develop skills in data analytics and strategic planning.  Since the leadership expectations were significantly changing, the organization and the leaders needed a baseline of data and a tangible picture of the skills that needed to be developed.  The company worked with an outside firm to create a success profile of the successful future leader.  The leadership development team then created a curriculum and experience path to support the growth of the new skills for all the identified leaders.  Leaders were then assessed against the profile and given a development path and executive coaching for support.

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