Behavioural Assessments

Behavioural Assessments

How They Improve Your Hiring Process

Why behaviour is important at work

When it comes to behaviour, there’s a crucial distinction between what people can do and what they actually do. Take weight loss, for instance. Everybody knows that they need to consume less and exercise more if this is what they want to achieve, but that doesn’t guarantee that they’ll change their behaviour in order to shed the weight. The same principle applies in the workplace. Just because a sales team knows what to do to improve their sales record, that doesn’t mean they will.

Behaviour can be altered though. People can lose weight and sales teams can improve their sales records if they make significant changes. However, it’s not enough to simply tell someone to adapt their behaviour: context is key. Ultimately, organisations must hire employees who are motivated by the specific context of the company and are thereby likely to exhibit behaviours that correlate with high performance.

The limits of behaviour tests for selecting candidates

Many organisations will incorporate behaviour assessments into the hiring process to help them identify candidates most likely to thrive. For example, structured interviews can probe examples of past effective behaviour at work, while situational judgment tests assess what candidates deem as appropriate actions in particular scenarios.

This approach can provide useful insights into how candidates may perform within the company. However, recruiters can further benefit from seeking evidence that a candidate is likely to demonstrate critical behaviours consistently within their organisation. Somebody capable of doing the job on paper, but who tends to conform to rules and structures, could struggle to work for a company that encourages them to think outside the box.

For effective hiring, recruiters have to look at the bigger picture, which means examining behaviour alongside other relevant factors.

What behaviour assessments show you (and what they don’t)

Behavioural assessments are hugely beneficial within the hiring process and constitute a key part of the Five Box Model we follow here at Chemistry, enabling us to match talent to the context of an organisation. However, human behaviour doesn’t happen in isolation. Instead, we assess it in conjunction with other areas to obtain a more accurate idea of how a candidate is likely to perform at work - not just on their best days, but every day.
The Five Box Model

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Behavioural assessments can help reveal whether a candidate possesses behavioural competencies that align with the context of an organisation. For example:

- Will they thrive working in a team?
- Will they show leadership?
- Will they be open to new experiences?
- Are they conscientious?
- Are they introverted or extroverted?

Possessing the right skills and capabilities alone doesn’t mean a candidate will necessarily thrive with a particular business. Employee behaviour is at the heart of a high-performing organisation, and making good hiring decisions is one of the best ways to foster positive behaviour in the workplace.

Introducing a scientifically reliable behavioural test will increase the chances of new hires being successful.
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Looking solely at behaviour ignores the bigger picture and contributes to misguided assumptions about how talent is defined.

Behaviour is one of five criteria that we look at in our uniquely science-led approach to assessing a candidate. Alongside behaviour, we look at:

- Intellect: speed and accuracy in taking in, processing and retaining information
- Personality: beliefs, principles and cultural ethos
- Motivations: what drives people in the workplace
- Experience: previous performance

Each one of these areas must be examined in tandem to predict how someone will perform in the context of a specific business. Behavioural assessments provide no information regarding these other factors, so unsuitable candidates are more likely to be hired if this is all that’s considered.

Making behavioural assessments work for your next hire

There are certain behaviours that aren’t welcome in any workplace, like bullying, dishonesty and discrimination. However, other ‘negative’ behaviours are subjective and entirely depend on the specific context of an organisation. One business may benefit from a highly sociable candidate, for instance, but that same person could bring more problems than benefits to another business.

Once a company has identified the unique behaviours they do and don’t want amongst its employees, this must be embedded into the hiring process so candidates with negative tendencies are avoided. There is evidence to suggest such traits can even be contagious. According to Harvard Business Review, 37% of employees are more likely to do something wrong if they worked with someone behaving badly.

This explains why behavioural assessments are such an important part of the hiring process, but to make them work for your organisation, they need to be combined with tests measuring other core criteria. It’s also crucial to ensure that all assessments are tailored to your business — context is everything when it comes to hiring talent.

Finally, each candidate should be assessed on their potential to help you reach your business goals. At Chemistry, we call that understanding What Great Looks Like™. It’s the context you need to create an environment for your talent to thrive.

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