Assess for Success

June 30, 2022

Amidst the current labor and talent shortage, there is opportunity to be found in behavioral assessments. 

Teams come in all sizes, and each with their own unique distinctions. But they all have one thing in common: they are a team, and a team needs people. 

Currently, the automotive aftermarket is faced with labor shortages that can make establishing a cohesive team environment difficult. Finding talent is hard, and if that “hiring” sign hanging outside of your shop is getting a little rusty it may be time to consider a new strategy. 

As tempting as it can be to hire someone that looks good on paper, it could hurt your shop more than help it. Claudia St. John, President of Affinity HR Group, recommends implementing behavioral assessments in your hiring process. 

“One thing we know is that people fail in their roles. Usually not because of their experience, but because of their attitudes or because of their views—not overt views—but how they're wired,” says St. John.  “These assessments help you identify where somebody has strengths and areas of opportunities for growth, or if they're just wired in a way that makes them not suited for those roles.” 

Consider the Overall Impact

Behavioral assessments essentially take the interview process a step further. They help assure, based on a variety of questions, if an individual will be a good fit for your circumstances. Affinity is a source of assessments like these. 

The company uses Mercer Mettl, which offers hundreds of assessments. These options range from reliability and dependability to proficiency in certain programs such as Microsoft, and higher level functioning.

In the midst of an intense labor shortage, motivation to implement an assessment process may seem like more work than it’s worth to some, St. John explains. 

“The challenge that most shops and owner operators have is it is such a tight labor market,” says St. John. “They don't want to create one more hurdle that a candidate has to get over in order to fill vacant positions that are critical for the company’s operation.” 

It is worth noting that there are costs associated with these assessment programs. St. John understands that in this case, adding extra money to the hiring process can be a lot to ask. But at the same time, mis-hires can be extremely costly. 

“The costs of a mis-hire can include damaging relationships with customers, damaging relationships with employees, theft…and on the other side, when somebody leaves after you’ve invested all of this time in training them, there’s a cost involved with that.” St. John explains. 

For that reason alone, assessments could prove to be an extremely beneficial tool, even if they don’t automatically ensure success. 

“Nobody's perfect. Nobody's going to score a thousand percent on one of these assessments,” says St. John. “[Assessments] will definitely show you some areas of opportunity and growth so that it helps you in developing a career path in professional growth opportunities.” 

St. John says that a person completing an assessment might show that they are competent in many behavioral areas, but their ability to navigate conflict may be low. That helps managers determine how best to develop that employee.

If interested in bringing them onto the team, a shop owner could decide to take that in stride by incorporating feedback and training to help that potential employee better develop those skills.

Implement From Interview to Promotion

Assessments can go beyond new hires. They can also be taken advantage of when looking to promote an employee. 

“There’s not a direct path between doing [a job] and managing others,” St. John explains. “These assessments help identify the specific behavioral gaps that may need to be developed in a potential employee or somebody you’re promoting into that role.”

Additionally, the industry is not only facing a labor shortage, but a talent shortage as well. Assessments can help with this conundrum by showing the full scope of a hire. 

“If you're hiring new talent, who doesn't have experience, you really don't have anything to go on other than your gut, if you're not using testing,” St. John says. “And so the testing will help you say if they don't have experience, but they're behaviourally a match or behaviorally well-suited for the job, we can teach the experience.”

Establish Consistency

Conquering the current labor market is all about making informed decisions and aiming for quality and retention. Assessments can aid in this approach, but there is not a simple one-size-fits-all solution. 

Research needs to be done ahead of time in order to assure that the assessments being implemented are relevant to the roles being hired for its behavioral aspects. Assessments need to have validity for the role and cannot have a discriminatory approach. 

St. John also stresses that in order for these assessments to be successful, there needs to be consistency. 

“You don’t have to test everybody,” St. John says. “You may just want to test your supervisors on up, but you should be testing all of your supervisor positions, not just the ones that you say, ‘Hmm I’m not sure about this person. Let’s test them.’ You really need to integrate it into your overall process.”