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How to leverage assessment tools to avoid bad hires

Rikka Brandon Assessment Tools

Few things are more exhausting than a disappointing hire. It affects your confidence in your ability to interview, to “pick” the right person, and your ability to onboard and manage people to success. On top of those hits to your confidence, it is an exhausting and often futile process to try to get the productivity and results you need out of the individual you hired. Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball that ensures every hire hits it out of the park. But pre-hire assessment tools can give you a huge advantage.

Here are the insights that assessments can provide about a candidate:

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1. How do they communicate and approach their work? 
Many of you may be familiar with the term DiSC; it’s one of the most recognized assessment sciences in the world. DiSC stands for D: Dominance, I: Influence, S: Steadiness, C: Compliance. Someone who scores as a high D is task-oriented, decisive, and fast-paced. High I’s (like me!) are people-oriented and quick to act. High S’s are people-oriented and slower to act, but they’ll be consistent. And a high C is also task-oriented, but they are more inclined to take the exact right action and are slower to act. You’ll see many High D’s in leadership positions, High I’s in sales, High S’s in professional or support roles, and High C’s in accounting and legal roles.

2. Why do they do the things they do (or don’t do)? 
The DiSC covers HOW people do things. Driving Forces, another assessment tool, measures WHY we do things. It is built around six basic areas of motivation that people experience on any given day. Driving Forces will help you start to understand the “why” behind the way people act like they do. One of the ways it’s been powerful in my business is by identifying people who aren’t motivated by financial rewards. It doesn’t matter how high someone’s I and D are and how great your pay-for-performance plan is if the individual isn’t motivated by money. When someone’s work and Driving Forces are aligned, they feel energized, challenged, and motivated to do better each day. Conversely, when the job doesn’t match their Driving Forces, they feel disconnected and drained, and productivity plummets.

3. What will impact their productivity?
I know that I’m not the only one who thinks that the “what are your weaknesses” question is a joke. So I love that the assessment report gives insight into some of the areas of opportunity for your new hire with its “Time-Wasters” section. You can see the top ways they may inadvertently waste time. This allows you to ask behavior or situational interview questions around these issues to see if they’re already executing on some of the suggested solutions. Plus, it helps you set them up to succeed when you’re onboarding and setting expectations for them.

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4. Is it going to be a fit?
One of the biggest challenges in making a good hire is getting the intangible “fit” part right. This allows you an inside view into how the candidate is best motivated and managed, as well as their ideal environment. These sections will help you identify and address potential fit, culture, and management style issues before you hire the person. This enables you to start having conversations about what they need to succeed and conduct some realistic self-examination of what you’re willing and able to provide to set both of you up for success.

Now, wouldn’t these insights be nice to know BEFORE you started shelling out payroll and your time and energy? Assessments are an easy and inexpensive way to help you build a high-performing team.

Rikka Brandon, a recruiter in the LBM industry since 2001, is a building products recruiter with Building Gurus. Reach her at

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