How assessments predict behaviour

How often do we look at an appointment in hindsight and say: I wish I knew in advance the problems this person would create in my business? As any senior person within an organization knows, finding the right person to fill a key role can be challenging.    Even when we believe that we are great at interviewing, we sometimes get it wrong.  The harmful impact of a bad appointment can have far-reaching effects on a business.

Psychometric assessments, used correctly, can predict the kind of behaviour most employees will only start to exhibit once the probation period is over or even further down the line.  As we all know, during an interview everyone puts their best foot forwards and it is difficult to identify someone’s weaknesses when they are intent on trying to convince us that their biggest development area is that they work too hard or that they find it difficult to say no to requests from their manager. Psychometric assessments that are registered and have been proven to be reliable, valid and fair help us to identify not only the shadow side of someone’s personality, but also the areas they would excel in.  Most importantly, these assessments help us to identify the risks certain people could pose for a business.

A case study

We specialize in using a proven methodology of tried-and-tested questionnaires and exercises that help predict how the person will behave in response to different situations. Recently we worked with one of our clients, a small consulting company, to find the right candidate for a Senior Consultant. Once the assessment was concluded and we had sent our report and recommendation, our client decided to appoint Tom on a 6-month contract.  To demonstrate the value of conducting assessments, let’s look at the risks identified in the Tom’s assessment results and his behaviour two months after his appointment.  Despite being well-qualified, highly intelligent, analytical and strategic, Tom’s results showed low resilience and a poorly developed ability to tolerate frustration and persevere in difficult circumstances. He also seemed likely to demonstrate inconsistent views and moods, enhancing the likelihood of him giving up in the face of difficult situations and expressing himself in an emotional and overly direct manner.  Over and above this, his profile also indicated that Tom would fail to monitor or control his own behaviour in line with socially acceptable standards, indicating that he would not follow rules, preferring to respond to situations in an unconstrained and highly spontaneous manner, being guided by his own needs.

Following a very promising start, two months into Tom’s contract, the Director contacted us to let us know what happened. Tom was tasked with developing a process for a new client and had given all indications that the work was on track and ready, even when asked the night before the presentation.  The morning of the presentation, Tom arrived with the work incomplete and in disarray, indignant at how anyone could have expected him to do the work all by himself.    Of course, the Director had to rescue the situation and implement crisis management.  A week later, Tom resigned on WhatsApp, claiming that it was all too much for him and indicating that he was not coming back to work.    Even though this is quite a dramatic example of how we can get it wrong, it confirms the absolute value of investing in the use assessments and digging a little bit deeper, before exposing your business to the behaviour of an unknown quantity.




Wea Van Heerden is the co-founder of The Assessment Toolbox. The Assessment Toolbox are People and HR specialists and perfectly positioned to assist you in making the crucial human capital decisions in an objective, professional and cost-effective manner. We offer HR consulting services, psychometric assessments and bespoke design competency-based simulation tools. Our approach focuses on a clear understanding of the business context, structure and roles, to deliver the tools that will achieve the best fit for the organisation and its people.