#Nextchat: Assessing Candidates for True Grit

 
I have a few thoughts on the standard practices employers use to gauge the quality of their applicants. Many require college degrees or “equivalent experience” for entry-level positions, which I think is preposterous. Quite the contrary, I’m of the opinion that college degrees are dime-a-dozen these days – and a poor indicator of candidate potential. 
 
In a TedTalk by psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, she poses the question, “What if doing well in school – and in life – depends on much more than your ability to learn quickly and easily?”  Duckworth’s extensive research proposes there may be a much better measure of viability. It wasn’t social intelligence or IQ – it was grit. “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals,” explains Duckworth. “Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out – not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years – and working really hard to make that future a reality. 
 
Hiring better talent is an important goal for most organizations, yet the majority of these organizations are still beholden to traditional assessment practices with the main objective of screening applicants. 
 
Consider this: What if the perceived shortage of talent – and even the skills gap at large – is the result of assessment malpractice? What if, by asking the wrong questions, we’re burning the chaff and the wheat? 
 
Are you measuring for grit? Do you have quantifiable measures for culture fit? Do you have qualitative measures for potential? 
 
Your next “Rep of the Year” could very well be the underdog your recruiters would never give the time of day. He or she may be the gray squirrel that was overlooked because you’re still chasing the purple ones. If you subject them to assessment malpractice, they’re very likely to end up gathering nuts for someone else. Assessment technology is evolving rapidly – both in talent acquisition and in talent management.  
 

Please join @weknownext at 3 p.m. ET on April 16 for #Nextchat with special guest Kyle Lagunas (@KyleLagunas).   We’ll chat about how organizations can revise their hiring assessment practices to find better and more qualified candidates for their positions.

 
Q1. Does your organization hire for grit? Why or why not?
Q2. How important is grit (attitude, drive) to your hiring managers compared to more traditional measures like skill or education? 
Q3. What are the best methods for assessing a candidate for qualities like attitude, drive, and cultural fit? 
Q4. What are some examples of qualifications that are a poor indicator of success in a role?
Q5. What are some of the most blatant examples of candidate assessment malpractices used by organizations today? 
Q6. How are candidate assessment malpractices impacting candidate experience and employer brand?
Q7. What obstacles are there to improving candidate screening and assessment practices in your organization?
Q8. Looking ahead, how could better assessment practices improve our ability to attract and retain better talent?
 
 
The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.
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Hi Kyle,

I am a PhD. student at the University of Southern California conducting research on the role of grit in organizations. I would love to hear what was discussed and what your findings were during this #nextchat! Please send me an email.

All the best,
Stephanie

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