Behavioral assessment at the workplace - what, why, and how

HR or hiring professionals are always expected to make the right decisions. And that’s somewhat fair, given that bad hires can be a waste of resources. But sometimes, even the most qualified and skilled recruits turn out to be the wrong decision. Why?

Despite being professionally qualified, a new hire often doesn’t work out when the hiring authority overlooks the non-technical abilities. That’s why behavioral assessments should be an integral part of the recruitment process, and this blog can be a quick guide for you.

What are behavioral assessments for new employees?

Simply put, behavioral assessments are personality tests. And not just regular self-assessment or biased tests but data-driven and based on scientific theories. Professionals like psychologists, data scientists, and behavioral analysts are involved in designing such assessments.

The sole reason behind behavioral assessment is to predict how an individual would react in a particular scenario based on their senses and abilities that goes beyond their technical knowledge.

Assessments include questions about an individual’s likes or dislikes, motivations or aspirations, abilities or fears, and preferences of what to do and what not to do in specific hypothetical scenarios.

Hiring authorities use such assessments to map a recruit in various workplace situations to evaluate the candidate’s suitability for the role with utmost accuracy. Behavioral assessment saves HR from bad hires and results in selecting more compatible candidates.

Benefits of behavioral assessments

Behavioral assessment helps management to devise more efficient and compatible teams. Let’s see with an example. The Behavioral assessment classified three equally qualified candidates: team player, introvert, and monotonous.

Now without behavioral assessment, these three employees are assigned tasks randomly. The introvert gets into a project requiring discussion and team planning. Despite being technically qualified, productivity and coordination will suffer.

But when HR offers a convenient work environment by assigning an introvert to solo effort tasks, a team player in collaborative projects, and monotonous with administrative duties, they will perform their best, and even with the same qualification, productivity will increase by a lot.

Moreover, introducing standardized behavioral assessments will be a perfect tool to avoid conscious or unconscious bias in hiring. When multiple entities are involved in a hiring decision, especially in a hierarchy, bias becomes unavoidable.

Culture, age, race, physical attributes, or “over chemistry” with an involved entity can easily influence and deviate from proper judgment. Even if you somehow avoid bias, you still have a chance to get it wrong, as you can’t decode the whole personality in an interview or two.

But with a behavioral assessment, you can compare all the applicants against the same workplace criteria and situations to identify the most compatible ones. You can analyze their personality traits objectively and with additional data points to make a more accurate choice.

We’ve seen what they are and why they exist, but it’s time for how you can implement behavioral assessment as a part of your recruitment process. Here’s how organizations can use behavioral assessment while screening several applicants.

Behavioral event-based interviews – low accuracy & less effective

Another widely used method in interviews is to assess the applicant’s performance in specific roles based on their course of action and feelings about a past situation or event. The technique uses past behavior as a predictor for future activities.

The interviewer uncovers the past with questions like “Have you ever faced a scenario where…” or “Share about the time when you…” which require a detailed description of interviewees’ past experiences that shows how well they would perform in certain future situations.

Group Discussions (GDs) & activities – somewhat effective

Organizations conduct GDs as a part of interviewing several applicants simultaneously to asses their social skills, influence, inclusivity, and leadership qualities with few other values. The interview evaluates applicants based on active participation, quality of ideas, and perspectives.

The setup requires all the participants to effectively work with each other while discussing or solving a common problem by sharing views, listening to others’ opinions, and reaching a conclusion or solution that is agreeable and accepted by everyone within a given time frame.

Using online assessment tools – highly accurate & most effective

Organizations are using smart and automated assessment tools with behavioral test features to get highly accurate results in less time. Such assessment tools are rich in their test libraries for assessing technical and non-technical capabilities.

For example, one such assessment software Zapilio, powered by AI and ML, offers a comprehensive library of behavioral assessments to present the hiring authority with detailed, accurate, and actionable insights about each individual’s suitability for any role.

Moreover, the test libraries are built on proven scientific theories by psychologists and behavioral analysts with consistent criteria and non-complicated questions for an applicant-friendly test environment to ensure maximum accuracy. One such theory is:

The proven theory of the Big Five divides human behavior or personality into five major traits, hence the theory’s name. The five traits are popularly known as OCEAN. They stand for:

  • Openness: Inventive and curious vs consistent and monotonous
  • Conscientiousness: Efficient and organized vs extravagant and careless
  • Extraversion: Outgoing and energetic vs introversive and reserved
  • Agreeableness: Friendly and compassionate vs challenging and callous
  • Neuroticism: Sensitive and nervous vs resilient and confident

Why Zapilio?

Typical assessment tools with behavioral assessments use brief answers or video interviews, often including manual checking or reviewer interpretation. Human interaction invites several loopholes, such as interview bias, potential error, low accuracy, etc.

Whereas with Zapilio, the human effort is supplemented with a powerful AI, and short answers are replaced with multiple choice answers while keeping the assessment thoroughly detailed to collect all the necessary data points to let the AI help you make an informed and accurate decision.