Beyond the Stars – Using Assessment Tools in Hiring

“What's your sign?”


“I'm sorry. I can't hire you. We have two other Leos working here and adding a third would be just too much to manage.”

That exchange, which took place during a job interview in the 1970s, represented the first and only time I had been denied a job based on my astrological sign. While it's disappointing to be turned down for any reason, that  particular experience gave me my first insight on how important it is to the employer to hire the person who not only possesses the right set of skills to do the job, but also to find someone who is a good “fit.” Thankfully for both the job seeker and the employer, tools are available and legal ramifications in place today to guide that process along.

Employee assessment tools offer a way to match the right person to the right job by systematically matching the needs and personality of the job with the abilities of the candidate.

Jenniferleake Rather than relying on how the stars were aligned at the time of birth, Jennifer Leake, principal of  Assessment Pros, stresses the importance of choosing the right assessment tool.

According to Leake, "An assessment tool is a valuable part of the hiring process, but no tool should EVER be used as a sole means of deciding whom to hire."

Leake recommends choosing a tool designed to compare people to people (normative) vs. a behavior self-assessment (ipsative) like Myers-Briggs or DiSC. “The latter,” she says, “can be faked – not good when you don't know someone during the hiring process.”

Today's tools can measure attitude, job fit or skills to help determine such traits as honesty, work ethic, ability to do the job, and levels of specific required skills such as math, writing or computer expertise.

On the legal side, consistent use of assessment tools is recommended to avoid discrimination. Leake advises that “All candidates who are at the same level of consideration need to be treated the same. You can't use a tool for one person because you like or dislike him or her more than another candidate.”

When assessment tools are used, finding the right person for the job becomes a more reliable process rather than something "written in the stars."


Z. Kelly Queijo is the founder of SmartCollegeVisit and a frequent contributor to Handshake 2.0.

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  1. Wanda Cromer says:

    In an interview not too long ago, I was asked what bumper stickers I had on my car.

  2. Wanda, that’s fascinating! I wonder what other off-the-wall questions have been asked during job interviews. I’m going to post this question on Twitter. Maybe others will post comments, too!

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