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    The Buzz About Behavior Testing

    By Kelly Medinger


    Learning about people to improve employee selection and team performance

    What types of behavioral traits are you looking for in your next hire, and how do you know when you've found that person?


    What is a Behavioral Assessment?

    Behavioral assessments (also called personality tests or predictive evaluations) are increasingly being used in the business sector for hiring, team building, professional development, leadership identification, coaching, and conflict resolution.  This practice recognizes that hiring is about more than finding a qualified candidate for a slot -- it is about finding a "multi-level match," according to the wisdom of Dr. Todd Harris, director of research at the human resource consulting firm PI Worldwide.  A "multi-level match" is described as the ideal fit between a person, a job, a supervisor, a company or organizational culture, and the surrounding community.


    How Can it be Used?

    An effective use of behavioral assessments begins with an understanding of the roles within an organization and what types of people are most successful in those roles -- that is, the specific behavioral characteristics of a good executive director, finance person, development professional, social worker, or database administrator.  Once these roles and characteristics are defined, it is possible to use behavioral assessments to test job candidates against the desired behavior pattern.  For example, a development director may need to proactively connect quickly with others and also be able to enthusiastically persuade and motivate others.  These desired traits would be revealed in a behavioral assessment.


    Who are Some Behavioral Testing Resources?

    A recent article by Kay McFadden on Inc.com entitled "7 Tips for Using Personality Tests to Hire," explores various reasons to consider using behavioral assessments in a company or organization.  McFadden points out that they often add perspective, balance, and fairness to the hiring process.  She also mentions resources such as Hire Success and PI Worldwide's Predictive Index System, noting that many testing consulting agencies now tailor their products especially for small businesses. 


    In the end, when combined with interviewing, reference checks, and work samples, a behavioral assessment can help answer the question:  Will this person be successful in the role I have defined for them, and will this person fit within our organizational culture?  Are you trying to answer this question at your own organization?  If so, it may be worthwhile exploring the use of behavioral assessments in your employee selection, retention, and professional development efforts.