Values-Based Assessment: The need for balance

Values-based assessments have long been a part of the recruitment process, but should be used with caution to avoid a lack of diversity.

Values-based assessments have long been a part of the recruitment process, but it is only in the last few years that companies such as Southwest Airlines and Red Hat Inc. have really made finding the right organisational fit for your company fashionable. Values-based assessment is, however, a double-edged sword and should be used with caution.

How much importance you lend to values-based assessment will vary for every position you hire for. It may be that you have an efficient and successful workforce that needs enhancing with additional staff, in which case more weight should be placed on organisational fit. Alternatively you may be looking to re-energise a department, in which case you want to find someone with core competencies, but whose values offer something different.

The core purpose of values-based recruitment is to find candidates who will match your corporate culture and ethos. The idea is that this will increase retention rates: new employees will mesh with their new working environment more easily. In addition, the hope is that by hiring people similar to those who already populate the company, unique organisations will be able to retain the element, which differentiates them from their competitors.

Too much focus on values-based assessment can, however, end up stifling a company. Tim Sackett argues, "organisations only get better through diversity, diversity of thought and diversity of workforce. Diversity is not just getting more of the same." He articulates the concern that always hiring the same type of person will result in a loss of innovation and will prevent the company from moving forward.

The key is to find a balance in the selection process between understanding core values and assessing core skills and experience. Video interviewing can be used to reveal a combination of competencies and personality. You can tailor the questions to get candidates to give concrete examples of achievement and abilities. At the same time, being able to hear and see the candidate will mean you can spot behavioral tendencies and consider how their personality will complement your company culture.

What are your thoughts?