Don’t Mistake Talent Assessments for Performance Appraisals or predicting the future

January 27, 2014 2 mins read
Don’t Mistake Talent Assessments for Performance Appraisals or predicting the future

Performance appraisals refer to external observations of behavior, words, actions, or data indicators which are broadly lumped together as ‘performance’.  Talent assessments, on the other hand, are concerned with a person’s inner qualities and relatively stable characteristics—i.e. their way of thinking, sense of responsibility, flexibility, and ability to see the big picture.  When should talent assessments be used? Talent assessment techniques can be used in any situation where an employee’s relatively stable characteristics and abilities need to be appraised and understood. At present, in modern companies which place an emphasis on the development of human resources, there are typically four types of practical assessments: During the hiring process, to evaluate a candidate’s suitability for a given position; during promotions, to predict a candidate’s chances of success in a new role; before development and training, to get an understanding of the training target’s development and training needs; and during the planning of human resources, to appraise and evaluate the company’s HR situation .

Talent assessments, however, should be used with caution and are not for predicting the future like fortune telling. Combining elements of psychology, management, measurement, and behavioral science, along with systems theory and computer science, talent assessments are a type of scientific, systematized, objective and standardized evaluation and analysis of an individual’s personal qualities. They provide a comprehensive appraisal of factors such as a person’s level of knowledge, ability structure, personal characteristics, career (and personal) inclinations, and development potential. Aside from providing quantified data from the dialogue between candidate and computer, they also include expert evaluations—making them fundamentally different from computer fortune-telling. Unlike the way a computer mechanically conducts synthesized comparisons, during talent assessments, experts conduct an analysis and evaluation of quantified data. Using current scientific methods, variables such as IQ and occupational abilities can be expressed as quantified data; a person’s personal qualities and personality characteristics, however, are not easily analyzed by a computer.

Talent assessments are an important component of a headhunter’s services. By using expert talent assessment tools, recruiters can sort the multitudes of candidates from various channels into those who are appropriate or inappropriate for employing. At present, there is a shortage in the quality and number of talent assessment experts. How can we end this? At Morgan McKinley, conduct talent assessments to help our clients recruit the best talent and help our candidates secure the roles that best suit their experience and their career goals. 

Marlon Mai's picture
Managing Director, Greater China
mmai@morganmckinley.com