Talent Management
Personnel diagnostics: How to find the right tool.

Table of contents

How to find the right personnel diagnostics tool.

Personnel diagnostics: How do you know exactly what an employee can do?

One of the tasks that a human resources manager is constantly faced with is to identify potential. This means that he is responsible for identifying employees’ strengths, weaknesses and learning areas. The personnel manager is constantly required to describe:
  • What specifically an employee is good at.
  • What specifically he has to learn.
  • Which employee is suitable for which job, at what time and with what requirements.
This field of activity is called aptitude diagnostics. The good news is that there are a variety of tools available to support this responsible diagnosis. The bad news is that there are hundreds of tools on the market whose quality is difficult to assess, judge and evaluate. Each of these tools is described in full as “well-founded”. But is that really true? What is important? When is a tool actually well-founded? We want to get to the bottom of these questions in today’s article.

Which HR diagnostics tool should you choose?

A few weeks ago, I met an HR manager friend of mine. She told me that she was faced with the task of deciding on a personnel diagnostics tool. This is intended to measure the potential of future managers quickly, cost-effectively and, above all, profitably. She had already looked around the relevant portals on the Internet and obtained recommendations from colleagues. In this way, she had made a shortlist of around eight tools that she wanted to take a closer look at. She searched the Internet for information on the quality of the various tools. She looked at various profiles and different survey methods and compared the costs.
In the end, she was very confused: what she always found was a lot of text material. This was always illustrated by many colorful bars on criteria that often seemed inconclusive or even incomprehensible to them. Unfortunately, she did not find any relevant information on which measurement method is used to map which strengths in relation to which job. How should she decide now?
A few days later, we sat down together. I tried to bring order to the jungle of offers in just a few words. We also took a look at the tests and models on which the tools are based. Basically, three types of measurement methods can be distinguished.
>> Read here:
Recruiting – How we found the perfect employee. And how not.

1. self-analysis tests

Much of what is on offer as aptitude diagnostics can be summarized as what many of us would call “Brigitte tests”: Nice questions on the level of “Your mother-in-law, how do you feel about her?” or “The psych test: How determined are you?”. The test participant answers transparent questions and thus conveys his or her own self-image. This means that as a participant, I know exactly what is being asked and give appropriate answers. If I am self-confident or even have an exaggerated self-confidence, then I will present myself in an exaggeratedly positive light. However, if I am self-critical, I may present my weak points very clearly and thus perhaps convey a caricatured impression of myself. The test results therefore show what I think of myself or what I would like my counterpart to think of me.
This type of self-exploration test is not only found in magazines such as Brigitte, Mens Health or Playboy. The classic portals for so-called well-founded personnel diagnostics are also full of self-assessment questionnaires, in which ultimately only the self-image of the person is depicted, translated into complex graphics and then presented including the blind spots.

2. typological models

Another group of questionnaires/testings, the so-called “typological models”, can be found among the professional personnel diagnostics offers. These are usually based on psychological models, for example by Carl Gustav Jung. Such psychological models assign people to certain groups based on common characteristics. In the diagnostic tests based on this, people are examined for individual, clearly differentiated factors. For example, the factor “outward or inward behavior”: Is a person more extraverted or introverted? The “Conscientiousness” factor: Is he/she more detail-oriented or does he/she have a more global view of the world? Or the “openness to new things” factor: does he/she approach new things or does he/she prefer to keep what is in front of him/her? It is assumed that these categories are relevant factors for behavior. Based on the characteristics in the categories, people are assigned to a specific type. Ultimately, “types” are generated from the characteristics, in pure form or as a “mixed type”. People are then placed in a grid, often regardless of their level of education, age or required skills. At best, the results are objective and statistically significant.
However, the statements are only ever relevant within the framework of the respective psychological model. Whether, for example, “extraversion” (being outward-looking) is a relevant or even necessary criterion, e.g. for a salesperson, is often assumed purely speculatively and not empirically – objective survey meets speculative use.
My interviewer and I quickly agreed that the two approaches I had just mentioned – the self-assessment questionnaires and the typological models – provided information, but could not offer a sound basis for decision-making. Her wish: “I want to know what requirements the candidates are up to in the specific work situation.” In fact, there are diagnostic tools that are geared towards the specific requirements of a job.

3. requirements-oriented diagnostics

In requirements-oriented aptitude diagnostics, it is not assumed that a specific type model provides the framework for assessing what a person can actually do. Rather, it is based on the assumption that there are people who are good at a certain job, a certain task. In the requirements-oriented diagnostic process, a person is therefore not assigned to a stereotype, but their suitability for a specific activity is actually identified.
In order to create a basis for assessment, people who are already successful in their professional field were surveyed: electronic questionnaires were used to determine their characteristics, idiosyncrasies and special features. The questionnaires were adapted to the respective occupational field, i.e. a clerk received a different questionnaire than a project manager, a trainee or a manager.
This was used to model the response behavior on career and job-related topics of these very successful people. This means that thousands of demonstrably successful people gave answers that had a lot in common in their respective professional fields.
These similarities in the response behavior of the respective occupation provide a reference value, a benchmark for potential. For example, a candidate for a position as a project manager for medium-sized projects is asked the same questions as the benchmarking candidates in this specific field.
You now compare the response behavior of the high-potential employee you currently have in front of you with the response behavior of high-potential employees who have already proven their success through leadership feedback, references and business results. The differences and similarities in response behavior are measured. These are the measure of aptitude: you can use the diverse requirements and dimensions of a profession – developed in practice – to get an idea of whether a candidate has the appropriate skills. The individual criteria can be considered in a very differentiated way.
In this way, an HR person actually gains a sound basis for responsible personnel decisions.
>> Read here:
How to find the perfect employee in just three weeks.
After looking at the three underlying measurement methods, the HR lady opted for requirement-oriented diagnostic tools. She compared various tools, including the tool we have been using enthusiastically for years, the “Developer”.
The “Developer” will soon be deployed in the HR manager’s company. The results of this tool will form the basis for management meetings. And the colleague is also very much looking forward to the support in recruiting.
Requirements-oriented diagnosis and potential-based recruiting together form the path into the 21st century.

The authors

Oliver Grätsch
Michelle 550
Michelle Templin
Christian Grätsch
Matthias Beikert
Susanne Grätsch
Monika Bt 550x550
Monika Steininger
Kai Hübner
Philipp Andresen 500x550
Philipp Andresen
Dr. Claudia Schmidt
Inga Kühn
Kassandra Knebel
Claudia Lehmann
Anna Isabell Arendt
Komplettes Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Berliner Team