The What And Why Of Leadership Skills Assessments

The War for Talent is back on, but the rules have changed. Candidates are being more selective, remote working is more prevalent, and skills-based hiring has taken the lead. In an uncertain and changing world of work, soft skills, fluid intelligence and a growth mindset trump past experience every time.

Organizations are finding that the right hire is more urgent than ever before. Businesses need to ensure that they’re hiring fast, to the right quality, with a view to retain that individual and build him or her into a loyal, performance-focused employee who is aligned with their purpose. These goals can be even harder when it comes to recruiting for leadership or management roles.

But how exactly do you identify a candidate’s leadership skills and future potential? And how do leadership assessments fit into all of this?

Mapping out leadership competencies

Before we talk about assessments, it’s best to start at the beginning by defining what good looks like.

In the past, when we had a management opening, we would dust off an old job posting, require only a bachelor’s degree in business and see what happened. Now we talk about what skills someone needs to be successful in the role.” Says Barb Johnson at national manufacturer ICG Inc.

Whatever kind of leader you are looking to hire, from shift supervisors to board-level executives, leadership skills are essential.

Competency frameworks can allow you to set out widely understood behaviors, such as team working, decision making and delivering results. HR professionals and managers can set different measurements to these frameworks, depending on the level of leader you are looking for. 

Typically, competency frameworks and behaviors can influence your job adverts and interview questions, but there is growing evidence that this is not sufficient.  Some recruiters have found that behavioral interviewing does not go far enough to differentiate average candidates from good ones, or good candidates from superstars.

Understanding recruitment risk areas

If you are finding it difficult to assess leadership strengths and weaknesses as part of the recruitment process, then you are not alone.  As organizations become more diverse and specialized, and employees become a lot more transient and change roles with greater frequency, past experience can no longer be viewed as a reliable indicator of future success. 

As well as this, candidates rarely act naturally in a pressurized and structured interview process. They are therefore unlikely to demonstrate the competencies you are seeking simply through a verbal interaction. Behavioral interviewing relies heavily on the skills of individual interviewers who might harbour unintentional bias.

If you have a lot of roles to recruit for and are looking for a more interactive or practical way to measure candidates, then assessment centers can be one solution, but these take a lot of time to organize, for often limited reward.  You will also need to train the assessors to understand what they are looking for, as well as being mindful of bias and varying degrees of quality in the assessment they offer. 

Leadership assessments

There will always be a place for competency frameworks, interviews, and assessment days, but recruiters are starting to add another string to their bow: leadership skills assessments. These are essentially assessment tests that will issue leadership candidates with a questionnaire that he or she fills as part of the recruitment process. 

PeopleFactors offers a one-stop shop when it comes to leadership skills assessments, covering a wide range of features that are designed to support leaders in their recruitment decision-making in an accessible and practical way.

Why leadership skills assessments?

Leadership skills assessments provide a structured framework and report which facilitates high-risk hiring decisions. For example, when hiring a senior leader who will likely be an expensive and influential member of the team, you certainly want to get that decision right first time.  Even for junior managers, these leadership assessments ensure that your supervisors and line managers are aligned to your organizational values and have the necessary skills and attributes needed to fit into your workplace culture.

Leadership skills assessments provide a much better quality of recruiting through improved objectivity, advanced benchmarking, broader perspectives and, seeing as they are often externally-sourced tools, provide a degree of third-party acceptance at C-suite level.  There are numerous long-term strategic human resource management benefits as well, such as improved retention and employee engagement. 

Bringing all these benefits together does not come easy, but PeopleFactors’ leadership skills assessments do just that.

The function of an assessment platform

  • Fully-integrated functionality

One of the risks of leadership assessment tests is that they can add a lot of work into the diaries of already busy people.  PeopleFactors provides a fully integrated solution, with functionality to streamline the screening of applicants, customizable interview guides, assessments and questionnaires, and the reporting of leadership profile results. 

If you or your organization are already struggling to keep up with the administrative load that comes with managing a recruitment process, PeopleFactors can take away a lot of that work. Its simple interface means that minimal time is needed to be spent on setup and navigation.  Not only this, PeopleFactors can be built into your existing applicant tracking and human resources information systems, meaning that you can have all the tools you need for evaluating leadership ability aligned your existing suite of technology.

  • Ease of use, ease of analysis

A common preconception of leadership skills assessments is that they are driven by advanced data science, which requires highly trained people to pick apart and analyze.  PeopleFactors provides the best of both worlds; advanced levels of analytical clout, which is presented in easy-to-understand summaries and reports which do not require understanding of statistics or critical analysis to interpret. 

PeopleFactors’ assessments, leadership profiling tools and questionnaires have been thoroughly peer reviewed by the American Psychological Association and British Psychological Society, but the results are collated into easy-to-digest summaries, meaning you can easily pull rankings, benchmarks and top-level data, allowing you to succinctly present top-level figures to your senior leadership team.

  • Deep dive into data in the way that you want and need

PeopleFactors provides a comprehensive suite of analytical tools for you to use when you want to go beyond preparing top level summaries for senior leadership. The reports allow you to measure fit for the job, long term potential and in-depth analysis of various competencies, as well as fitting these measurements into personalized onboarding plans which will ensure that your new hires get the best start possible. 

Multi-dimensional profiling, including cognitive ability, leadership personality inventory, competency evaluations and leadership agility assessments will allow you to understand the leadership approach of new managers, illustrating how they might integrate into your teams.

  • Technologically advanced, fully compliant

Leaders and hiring managers often must think about whether their existing tools are up to date with current capabilities and standards. PeopleFactors’ systems use a proprietary, AI-based leadership potential score which can fully integrate with the latest ATS and HRIS tools.  The technology is specifically designed to remove bias and is fully compliant with both General Data Protection Regulation and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission safeguards.

Recruiting has never been more challenging, thanks to tighter labor markets, increased competition between employers and the needs of evolving firms demanding a higher caliber of leader.  Existing talent acquisition tools such as competency frameworks and behavioral interviews are widely respected and necessary parts of the hiring process, but many hiring managers have found a need for greater diligence, especially when it comes to recruiting leaders, people who have considerable influence over the organization and therefore are often regarded as key hires.

Leadership skills assessments are designed to give gravitas and credibility to your hiring decisions. They use numerous psychological profiling tools to build reports on a candidate’s leadership capabilities and competencies.  Such tools can be challenging to use, especially if your managers struggle with analytics or simply do not have enough hours in the day to sift through reports and candidates.  

PeopleFactors’ leadership skills assessments are set up and configured easily, integrate into your existing ATS and HRIS tools and offer recruiters and leaders a high level of customization, allowing them to make informed decisions on which leaders to hire.  PeopleFactors can use this information to build into other tools such as interview guides and even onboarding tools for your new hires.  This integrated functionality will give you piece of mind that your talent acquisition processes are measurable, credible, and feed into the long-term goals of your organization.  Leadership skills assessments have never been easier to use.

Learn more about our assessments, or get in touch for a quote.