Mashing the Myths About Assessments

Bus Levit WEB SMLLong ago and far away the foundation for assessments began with Empedocles, 490-430 B.C. who founded the school of medicine in Sicily and Hippocrates, 460-370 B.C. from Greece who we consider as the father of medicine. However, he was also an observer of people. Despite what my children tell you, I do not know these two gentlemen personally. Even with this long history, many myths, mistaken ideas, and misuses of assessments exist and persist. The point of this blog is to dispel the myths, correct the mistaken ideas, and better redirect the misuse of assessments.

Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3

Many people suffer from test anxiety. You can relax, psychometric assessments are not tests. There are no right or wrong answers and the information you input is about who you are as an individual. Psychometric assessments do not even measure skills; that’s what typing tests do. Some assessments do measure competencies. See this article for the difference.

“Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner.”

You will no doubt recognize the above quote from the movie Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze. One of the myths about assessments is that people fear that will be “put in a box.” Assessments resulting in that are typology assessments. Not all assessments are typology based.  Pigeon holing or putting people in a box often comes from human interpretation. Think about this. Taking the DISC assessment alone, think about all the many combinations possible in just that one instrument. Now add a Driving Forces or Motivators assessment and you reach even more combinations. Next, add the Acumen Index, and the Competencies assessment. The combinations would be infinite. The more assessments you administer, such as the five in the TriMetrix HD, the better-rounded view you will have of a candidate or creating a development plan for a direct report.

Time and Money

Assessments are affordable, and prices are all over the board so, there’s something for everyone’s budget. The time to take them is negligible especially when you think about the amount of information you have at your fingertips. The “catch” is finding a certified individual to interpret or debrief them. One idea is to certify someone on your staff. When you compare the cost of turnover and the lost productivity from someone being in the wrong job, the argument about time and money becomes a moot point. As an individual, it is imperative to invest in yourself and your future. Moreover, if an organization is not willing to invest in hiring the right talent, and developing their own, maybe you should look for another organization.

Manipulation and Measuring

People can manipulate these assessments to say what they want. It’s true that some respondents will try to skew an instrument. However, if you’re administering the correct instrument for the right purpose, there are mechanisms built into an instrument to alert both the respondent and the person conducting the debrief that this could be the case. Speaking of using the right instrument for the right purpose…

Many people think that all assessments measure the same elements. There are many assessments that measure behaviors. However, others measure motivators or driving forces. Others measure Emotional Intelligence. Still others measure competencies. The idea is to find an assessment that provides the most well rounded and in-depth picture of a candidate. The same holds true for coaching whether you’re a manager coaching for development or you are a professional coach looking to have a deeper understanding of your clients more quickly.

This blog mashes several myths around assessments. The human mind is far more likely to generalize, have biases, and experience outside influences. The fact is that assessments provide more reliable, valid, and non-biased results than any human.

Thank you for reading this blog.  To see how assessments can help your organization reduce turnover, increase productivity, and dispel conflict - Let's Get Started!

Anonymous. (n.d.). What’s the Difference Between Skills and Competencies? Talent Guard.
Bonnstetter, B.J., Suiter, J.I. (2016). The Universal Language DISC. Phoenix, Arizona.

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Assessments,, Employeee Development