Finding future talent: Are your assessments missing the mark?

Despite the turbulent economic climate of the past few years, the 'war for talent' is still raging. Real talent is scarce and the expectation is that this is not going to change anytime soon. At the same time, talent management and recruiting top talent has never been higher on the agenda of many CEOs.

29th February 2016


This has a significant impact on HR departments. They need to put in place effective methods for searching for talent, as well as attracting high calibre candidates. In addition, they need a top notch selection process to ensure that those they hire really fit the organisation. Too often, selection processes and criteria don’t reflect the needs and priorities of generation Y (those born after 1980). As a result, less than optimal hiring decisions are made, top talent quickly becomes demotivated and leaves.


New generations demand new selection criteria

The main problem is that selection criteria are not sufficiently attuned to gen Y. Many selection tools have been on the market for decades and are based on theories and insight from the past, using concepts and norms that are long outdated. This is also evident in their use of language, as well as old fashioned formats and presentation styles that are a far cry from the fast, user-friendly interfaces gen Y candidates have come to expect.

By using tools developed for previous generations, employers aren’t able to get the insight they need about what inspires today’s potential talent and what matters to them. Without measuring the relevant characteristics and competencies, employers won’t know whether an individual will be able to adapt to the changing demands of the modern business environment. There are several reasons why it is so important to apply the latest assessments when seeking young talent:

1. Employees from gen Y are motivated by different factors than the talent of the past. 

For example, many tests and questionnaires measure ‘work ethic’ in terms of commitment, hard work and the length of hours worked, which are less relevant to the way younger people operate in the workplace. These questionnaires thus lose their relevance and consequently don’t offer employers much understanding of the real motivations and drivers of their employees.

2. HR and recruiters need to know that the talent they take on has the right personality characteristics to cope with the freedoms that gen Y workers claim.

Concepts such as this, which are highly relevant to the younger talent pool, are unlikely to be covered by assessments designed years ago.

3. Your candidates are looking for added value.

To attract and engage Gen Y talent, your selection process needs to offer value in return for the time and effort put in by the candidate. The process needs to be challenging and educational; stretching participants and helping them learn about the organisation, the role and themselves. In particular, feedback is important. Explaining why an individual has been successful or not and offering them some insight into their assessment performance, strengths and development areas will help ensure they leave with a positive impression. Always remember, today’s candidate could be tomorrow’s client.


Don’t get left behind

The risk of applying an outdated approach to attracting and selecting talent is often considerably underestimated. There are huge dangers in making hiring decisions based on incomplete or irrelevant information; namely a high turnover, demotivated talents and unnecessary reputational damage. For these reasons it is crucial that employers scrutinise their methods for selecting talent and adapt them to the realities of the people they want to target.

Of course, this is easier said than done, so here are some tips to help start the process:

1. Complete the test or questionnaire yourself, or ask employees from gen Y to complete it.

Be critical about the content; do you think it will appeal to the talent you’re looking for? Do you think it connects with what matters to them?

2. Explore the extent to which the questionnaire measures aspects that are relevant to gen Y. 

For example does the questionnaire explicitly address dealing with uncertainty and ever faster changing circumstances?

3. Research when the survey was last updated and how recently the norm groups were developed. 

Look into whether the questionnaire takes into account and accommodates the diversity of today's society?

4. Finally, think about whether your assessments pay attention to the development of potential candidates?

Do applicants receive feedback and are they getting something out of / learning from the assessment?

For further advice on attracting and selecting talent, please get in touch with your local Cubiks team or email If you're looking to take the process online, especially during current remote circumstances, you can with Cubiks' virtual assessment and development solutions.



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