What Is A Talent Assessment Framework & How To Build One?

January 27, 2023

what is a talent assessment framework and how to build one

Hiring managers and recruiters want to maximize their time and money to hire the right candidates who will remain in the role. Hiring managers can often find that their recruitment process is broken into siloes and doesn’t always align with the overall strategy and ethos of the organization.

In this article, we’ll look at what a talent assessment framework is, why it is important, why you might want to consider using one, as well as how to create it. We will also look at the various types of talent assessments you might want to consider using as part of the framework and why.

What is a talent assessment framework?

A talent assessment framework is the strategy and management used by a hiring manager or HR department. A talent assessment framework is essentially the physical representation of the approach and processes by which an organization recruits and hires employees - from identifying roles and requirements to selecting and interviewing candidates through to the actual hiring of the employees.

The talent assessment framework will be the strategy that aligns with and builds on the company’s aims, missions and needs, considers what requirements the company has concerning skills gaps or current weaknesses and strengths, includes costs and timeframes, and then allows the hiring manager to include relevant stages of assessment to streamline processes, reduce bias and increase objectivity throughout the hiring process.

Why is a talent assessment framework important?

what is a talent assessment framework

A talent assessment framework is important to help implement and solidify an effective hiring process. It will allow the recruiters and hiring managers to establish what the role is, and how to deliver top-quality candidates that are right for that role, and helps to achieve both of these things in a time and cost-effective way.

Building and implementing a talent assessment framework can benefit you as it makes the process streamlined and clear to follow with assessable data, so you can rely less on individual decisions, lengthy time-consuming interviews and discussions which can bring bias, expenses and wasted time.

Types of talent assessments

The framework will set out the opportunity to assess each candidate across the following different types of talent assessments. Each talent assessment helps you examine specific types of knowledge, qualities or skills.

Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests are forms of standardized tests that allow you to assess an individual’s ability at a specific skill or task. This could include testing how they think, how they analyze written words, whether they can think strategically, how good they are at solving numerical problems, whether they showcase emotional intelligence, how adept they are at prioritizing, spotting errors, or solving problems, and so on.

Aptitude tests allow you to make an assessment of how those skills might translate to the workplace as well as how well an individual might succeed in your specific workplace.

Personality tests

Personality tests are specific tests that aim to understand and therefore assess an individual’s personality traits.

We all have different preferences, interests and motivations which together give us an emotional makeup and some personality traits make individuals better suited to one type of work than another.

Personality tests will enable you to assess each of these strands and allow you to make a value judgment as to whether that person might be suited to and fit in with your organization. There are a variety of tests tailored to your industry-specific requirements.

Game-based assessments

Game-based assessments are a way for you to make assessments regarding an individual’s aptitude and personality through a gamified medium, allowing more objectivity and reduced bias.

By requiring a candidate to simply play a game, you are not asking them to answer any questions and they do not need to be aware of their own personal traits and skills. This also means that there is no opportunity to try and present themselves in a way that they perceive will make them an attractive hire. They simply play the games and this provides you with the data.

Behavioral interviews

Behavioral interviews require candidates to answer questions analyzing their past behaviors, successes and achievements by presenting evidence as to how they have carried out prior tasks or reached goals.

Instead of asking more theoretical ‘how would you do this’ you instead ask for examples of ‘how have you done this before’ and then discuss the approach and outcome. It gives candidates a chance to reflect on and examine past outcomes, and gives you an insight into not only what has been achieved but also an individual’s ability to reflect and analyze.

Job simulations

Job simulations are where you create a mock task, for example providing advice to a client, listening to a dictated note and making a typed document, or time management skills.

To be successful, job simulations should be related to the work that would be expected to be carried out by the candidate if they were successful, so careful thought must be given to this element of assessment to ensure it is pitched accurately. You will then be able to see the candidate’s thought process, their ability to work under pressure, and whether the task was completed successfully.

Work samples

Unlike a job simulation which will take place with an interview or selection day, a work sample is completed in advance by the candidate. It could be produced specifically for the occasion, for example, a presentation prepared on a specific topic, or a trial written article.

Alternatively, you could request that a candidate provide pre-existing work samples, such as previously published material, or work in the public domain already carried out for other employers that are attributable to the candidate. This allows you to compare and contrast prior work experience practically and demonstrably.

How to build a talent assessment framework

how to build a talent assessment framework

Step 1: Define the selection criteria

Arguably the most crucial aspect of the talent assessment framework is to define the selection criteria for the specific role. This is where you revisit your overarching and overall recruitment strategy (where you have considered the company’s aims, missions and needs, requirements concerning skills gaps or current weaknesses and strengths and costs and timeframes) and then use this information to create the selection criteria.

Selection criteria will include the role description, identifying desired skills, abilities and knowledge for the role, and will be how you determine the profile of your successful applicant.

Step 2: Shortlist candidates

Once you have defined your selection criteria you will use this to create your job advert, role description and other required documents.

The precise requirements will be determined once you have decided on the format for acquiring the applications. You might choose to invite CVs and cover letters, or you might create an online application using the selection criteria.

At this stage and depending on the role requirements, all candidates who meet the basic recruitment criteria might be shortlisted, or, if you have plenty of applicants, you might choose to shortlist further at this stage.

Step 3: Choose assessment methods

The next stage will determine how you assess your shortlisted candidates. You will again need to revisit your overarching and overall recruitment strategy (where you have considered the company’s aims, missions and needs, requirements concerning skills gaps or current weaknesses and strengths and costs and timeframes) to create essential and desired characteristics. This is where you will consider the various types of talent assessments in relation to the role in question and the budget and time frame required.

Here you will want to be considering whether you want to carry out assessments as a further method of shortlisting (for example, you might consider numerical reasoning to be essential and only invite candidates who meet a certain score on an aptitude test). Or, you might prefer all shortlisted candidates to have to complete assessments ‘in person’ using internal machines to ensure fairness and no one else sits the test for them.

Based on the role requirements and company ethos you will build out your assessment method strategy and ensure all candidates have a fair chance at accessing the suite of tests. You can at this stage also include in-person interviews, or you might run through steps 1-4 to narrow down a smaller interview pool shortlist.

Step 4: Evaluate assessment results

The final step of the talent assessment framework is to decide how you will evaluate the assessment results. Will you give all the tests equal weight or are some scores worth more to you?

Deciding which tests candidates must ‘pass’ before moving on to the next level, helps you reduce the shortlist but also ensures that where a certain skill or knowledge is non-negotiable, all candidates are actually up to the task rather than just taking their word for it that they are.

How you evaluate the assessment results will be organized and to some extent role specific but it is key this is also decided in advance before the recruitment process commences.

Key takeaways

Spending time creating a talent assessment framework is crucial for creating a recruitment strategy that aligns with the company’s values, aims and requirements as well as meets the recruiting manager’s budgets in an effective and timely way.

Talent assessment frameworks help reduce siloes, create uniformity across the recruitment process, bring clarity to everyone involved in the process, and should help reduce subjectivity and bias.

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