The Art of Assessment

By Aanand Varanasi – Partner, Menlo Park –

Search firms and companies have long been trying to map cultural assessment to selection  criteria in order to improve probability of long-term career performance. In pursuit of cracking  the predictive formula for the perfect performer within a given environment, many have adopted  prescriptive competency matrices and competency-based assessments in an effort to simplify what is a highly complex human equation subject to “chaos theory” complexity. We have  watched many search firms add such competency-based assessments for years now, including  psychometric competency testing, with none solving the algorithm to predict top performance.

So competency based behavioral interviewing techniques are on the rise, while average  job tenure is on the decline. Is there a relationship?

We take an intellectual, human approach, based on the supercomputing intellect of the human  mind. We solve the human equation with a human equation.

Assessing Our Client

Taking on an executive search is no small feat. Finding the best candidate, in the perfect  position, with the proper culture fit, and the exact skills is a needle in a haystack. However,  proper due diligence can adequately prepare a recruiter for the challenge.

Recognizing a qualifying candidate starts with understanding the company and the culture. We take time to interview executives, board members, stakeholders in the hire, and top performers  at our client companies to understand the corporate culture and the attributes of successful and  high performing employees. Upon completion of these structured interviews, we provide our client with the resulting key performance attributes and develop an assessment strategy……together. We’re able to pinpoint key interviewers within the company who can  properly assess a candidate for these key performance attributes.

Some questions we might ask are:

• Does the company have a stated set of cultural values?
• What kind of hours do employees keep and what work habits are expected?
• How does the company recognize accomplishment and achievement?
• What qualities do the most successful employees in your company possess?

Assessing a Candidate

Based on our experience representing innovative start-ups, here are the most common key  attributes that are critical in hires for our client companies:

1. Integrity: The adherence to moral and ethical principles

2. High Clock Speed: The ability to grasp complex concepts quickly with problem solving mechanisms that reach successful conclusions

3. Passion: Intense inner drive and motivation in an area of deep interest – corporate success, product technology, customer usability

4. Inquisitiveness: Consistent tenacity to probe for analysis and thorough understanding

5. Entrepreneurial Spirit: The ability to thrive in an ambiguous, flexible, fast-paced, unstructured environment

6. Self-assured: Confident with a managed ego

7. Collaborative: Not afraid to bring fresh ideas to the table

The art of assessment is not an algorithm; it’s not a psychometric competency test. It’s a gut  feeling resulting from a proper review based on desired performance attributes. The only computer needed is the human brain.


Our Track Record Speaks For Itself