The higher education landscape is changing rapidly, and with it the attributes essential to being an effective leader. It is no longer sufficient to be intelligent and accomplished; leaders must be adaptable, innovative, proactive, and masterful at interpersonal relationships. But how do you measure these less concrete characteristics when hiring new leadership?
Many assessments have been designed to help employers learn about prospective and current employees. According to the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), employment tests are standardized tools that help employers determine if a person has the ability to perform well in a particular job, thus helping match individuals to positions. Among these, behavioral assessments have become more widely used in pre-employment assessment.
Before incorporating one of these instruments as a factor in your leadership search, take a look at these four key considerations:
1. Ensure the instruments are customizable to the search.
Experts agree that the most effective assessments are highly tailored to the culture of the organization and match the requirements of the position. When deciding which instrument to use, ensure it is EEO approved and reflects the position you are trying to fill.
2. Determine how the behavioral assessment fits within the overall hiring process.
If your institution is considering the use of a behavioral assessment, consider how this component is part of a greater strategic hiring process. Work with your human resources department to ensure the instrument complements your institution’s hiring strategies, and be clear about how much weight the assessment will have in decision making. Keep in mind that the behavioral assessment is just one piece of the hiring puzzle, and it should not be used to make a hiring decision on its own.
3. Be transparent with candidates.
Candidates should know early on that assessments will be used, when they will be administered, and how the results will be used. Some candidates also express concern about how long results will kept and whether the results will be shared with them. Develop a policy regarding the results, and share it with candidates.
4. Put the results to use.
Many well-regarded assessments are designed to identify an individual’s preferred style of interaction and workplace behaviors. The results can be used to help a leader, perhaps with coaching, to first understand and then to manage his or her style for maximum effectiveness. If an institution decides to assess candidates, the results should be utilized to the fullest effect and allow the candidate of choice to learn from this tool.
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