Should Competency Assessments Be Done Before or After Hiring New Employees?

Should Competency Assessments Be Done Before or After Hiring New Employees?
November 4, 2013 seouser

Competency assessments are without a doubt one of the most useful tools in any HR department’s toolbox, helping to attract and keep the best employees for the job at hand. Not all companies have the same approach when it comes to deciding when & how competency testing should be done however. Some prefer to focus their efforts purely on pre-employment testing. Others don’t bother much beyond the interview process, preferring to test after hiring is done. Then you have companies that opt to test at various points of each employee’s time at the company. In order to determine which approach will provide the best level of competency, you need to consider one of the most important factors that govern competency in the first place… motivation. Employee motivation comes down to what drives each employee, and how much motivation they have. There are a number of different things that motivate people to work: money, the need to serve, creative drive, power and thirst for knowledge. These motivations can and should be determined before and after the hiring process – the amount of motivation however often differs between the pre and post hiring phases.

Understanding Pre-Employment Competency Testing

If you had to think about just about any job role for which an applicant is tested for, knowing their underlying motivation will give a great deal of insight into what sort of role they would be best suited to. For instance, someone who is motivated by money would naturally be drawn towards a sales type position that rewards with incentives and commissions. On the other hand, someone who feels the need to serve is well suited towards customer relation roles, as they are inclined to feel empathy and care towards people. How do you benchmark testing during the pre-employment phase though, and how will motivation help with this? It’s simple – select your top performing employees to take the pre-employment test, and use the results to get an idea of the type of employee you hope to attract. Ideally, you want to find employees who have the same motivations that your high performing employees also have.

What about Regular ‘On the Job’ Competency Assessments?

Once you have begun to hone your hiring strategies in order to attract ‘super stars’, you may feel that you can rest easy from here on out. But even if you are sure of the work motivations that are present when hiring, that doesn’t mean motivations will remain the same for all of time. What on the job testing does is help determine that employees are happy, performing at their best and meeting basic goals set forth by company policies. In short, are your people still the stars they seemed to be when you shook hands and welcomed them to the company? You will of course be testing any number of criteria, depending on your specific policies, the industry, the employee track record and even whether or not they have any disciplinary action set against them. By including motivation in your on-going testing, you will be able to check that employees are still thriving in their designated roles, or whether they may not be harbouring the same ideals and drive. Once you understand the things that drive your employees, you will soon see how much further insight competency assessments can give you into the work patterns and abilities of your employees too.