Here’s why I hate standardized assessments for a job, and why you should too

Here’s why I hate standardized assessments for a job, and why you should too


‘’It was a very easy tool to set up – I picked the job I wanted to create an assessment for, got a selection of tests, and I was good to go within five minutes!’’

Job assessments. Obviously, I love them, but as being a founder of a company that builds gamified assessments to tackle hiring biases, I might be slightly biased. 😉 What I absolutely don’t love, however, is the way most assessment tools position their assessments. The way they standardize all their practices, just to make it seem easier for companies to use their tool, but ultimately not leading to the desired result at all – and for sure not to successful hires.

In this blog, I will share a personal experience of how relying on standardized assessments has led us to our very first sales hire being a mishire, and also I will explain how to use assessments the right way. 


Our first sales hire was a mishire

Just before we launched our platform (in January 2019), we decided to hire our first sales colleague. The good news here was that we already had our neuroscientific games ready for usage. A one-sentence intro of Equalture in case you don’t know us yet: We’ve built a hiring tool that leverages neuroscientific games to objectively reveal the skills and behaviours of both your current team and your candidates, to hire people based on science instead of gut feeling. So, the games are really the core of our product.

The bad news, however, was that we made the same mistake as most other assessment tools were (and still are) making. We based our (soft) skill requirements for this sales position on old-fashioned literature. And consequently, we were on the lookout for someone who could meet these old-fashioned (soft) skill requirements. 

The result: Our very first sales hire was a mishire. We had the most detailed insights into his skills and personality, but still, we failed. I can hear you thinking: How is that even possible? Well, here’s why. 


An example: The 3Ps of a Sales Executive

I always use the 3 Ps to describe the context on which the success of a Sales Executive depends:

  • Product: Is your product very straightforward and feature-focused, or more complex and solution-focused;
  • Price: Do you sell a hundred subscriptions to small companies, or ten subscriptions to larger companies;
  • People: Do you sell to decision-makers, or to stakeholders who need to sell your product to decision-makers.

A different combination of these three dimensions requires a completely different Sales Executive – but unfortunately, most assessment tools don’t take this context into account when you search for a ‘Sales Executive Assessment’. 


The danger of not knowing why: How Equalture can help

Using assessments in hiring only makes sense if you know why a particular assessment is important for the job you’re hiring for. Sure, it’s nice to be able to easily rank candidates on a matching score, but my guess is that most people don’t have a clue about how this particular score is calculated – and in most cases, the calculation won’t match your needs.

At Equalture, we therefore do things completely differently. We have built a hiring tool that leverages neuroscientific games – assessments, but in a gamified format – to help people hire their people based on science instead of gut feeling or wrong assumptions. Here you can try out a game yourself

So, this is what we’re doing differently.

Instead of working with standardized job templates, we let customers analyze their current team in order to determine what to look for in a next hire. Our team analysis feature allows you to reveal skill gaps, top-performer indicators, and cultural traits, all with the aim to help you ‘create’ your own assessment per job. So whereas a Sales Executive for our company might be asked to complete game A, B, and C, a Sales Executive at your company might be asked to complete games B, C, and D. And in case you’re hiring for a completely new job in your company, our experts help you set up the assessment that fits your specific needs.

Yes, I know that it takes more than 5 minutes to set up our tool. And yes, I know that it requires some effort to let your current team complete an assessment first. But those few hours of time investment will eventually prevent you from making the wrong hiring decisions – and believe me, those few hours of additional investments are much cheaper than making a mishire. 

Charlotte Melkert Co-Founder and CEO of Equalture in Portrait picture

Cheers, Charlotte

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