There are many assessment tools in this world. A google search for employee assessment tools reveals 78,400,000 results. Gather a group of HR folks and ask them about their opinion on assessments and I can guarantee that the answers would be as much varied.

We HR folks love assessment tools. Most of us seem to be using it for talent identification and some evolved folks amongst us – also use it for hiring. Most of us also place a lot of emphasis on validation and reliability of the tests. And the more data we encounter for these parameters, the better it makes us feel. Rightly so, Otherwise – Why would I want to use the test if I am not sure about its relevance. And of course, behavioural economics also come into the play. The more expensive the tool, the fancier the abbreviation, the better it looks.

However, in our quest for the best, we tend to undermine the most precious tool one has – on both ends of your head – your ears.

My experience tells me that more often than not, we tend to undermine this facility we have – the ability to listen to assess. Most people make a judgment in the first 7 seconds and then the listening starts – to validate the judgment.

I am short-listing three reasons why we don’t use our ears well enough.

  1. Recency effect: Comparing the person with another individual rather than looking at the person in absolute.
  2. Halo effect: Biasing opinion based heavily on certain criteria and hence overlooking other factors like dress, appearance, certain pleasing qualities like courtesies which perhaps might not have a bearing on the job at all.
  3. Cloning effect: Trying the find the exact replica of the person you are replacing and hence not listening into what the candidate has to offer.

A smart assessor would listen without prejudice, listen to the said & the unsaid to arrive at a conclusion.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

Any psychometric tool can aid you in your decision but perhaps the one tool that you can always rely on – are our “ears” and our ability to listen.

My advice : Listen sharp; Assess Sharp!