In recognition of the value of mindset, this is a core component of our approach to assessment. In our model of assessment, we define mindset as ‘your belief about yourself and your basic qualities’. But we recognise that while an important part, mindset doesn’t tell the whole story about how someone is likely to behave at work, what they might enjoy and what environments they will perform best in. As individuals, we all have a unique and dynamic story to tell and it therefore seems intuitive that there is a need to assess candidates in a way that captures that full story…that captures the whole person. It’s that whole person that will be performing in the job, not just a certain part of them. In addition to mindset, understanding the relative importance of capability, results, behaviour, passion and purpose is paramount. Only then can you gather well-rounded evidence of the whole person.
Capability, results and behaviour are often seen as the more traditional aspects of assessment and indeed form the basis of a number of tried, tested and reliable measures of predicting performance at work. One of the most well-known conclusions from decades of previous research is that the single most valid predictor of future performance is General Mental Ability (Schmidt & Hunter 1998).
So yes, they have their place and certainly contribute to our understanding of the whole person, but those traditional measures do not tell the whole story. Combining these with mindset, we believe it’s essential to understand an individual’s Purpose; their alignment and willingness to contribute to the vision and values of the organisation, as well as their Passion; enthusiasm, enjoyment and commitment to mastering the requirement of the role. Some people today will be aware of the strengths approach to assessment which focuses on capability and energy. But we believe the combination of passion and purpose adds something over and above this. In a LinkedIn study of 100 variables, seeing purpose and value in work was the single most important factor that motivated employees. And this certainly rings true when we turn our attention back to football and those lessons from England’s recent world cup journey. Those components of Purpose and Passion are particularly evident as Gareth Southgate describes in the Telegraph "We are privileged to be out here representing our country. The chance to connect everyone through football and make a difference to how people feel... That’s more powerful than what we’re doing with our results... the feeling of pride and satisfaction on the pitch at the end was enough for us.”
In applying our whole person approach to achieve the most from your assessment activities, we encourage the use of combined contributions as opposed to honing in on a single piece of evidence. Our assessment model echoes this necessity, as well as the need for contextualising the data into the wider role and organisation setting. To look at a single element in isolation adds little value; combining data in a graphic equaliser approach can give us much more powerful predictions of performance.
Recent technological advances allow us to gather evidence of the whole person early on in the recruitment journey. Technology allows us to design recruitment processes that improve cognitive diversity, minimise adverse impact, as well as maximise the power of predictive performance. Our focus is on allowing candidates to bring their whole person to the process as early as possible and our approach encourages them to present their very best self. The very nature of assessing a candidate’s Passion and Purpose also requires the organisation to present an honest picture of life in the organisation and an accurate preview of the role. This helps to create a two way process which we know candidates find invaluable.
Written by Kirsty Nolan, Director of Assessment and Development.