Coaching versus Evaluation: Using Type Appropriately When leading a certification program, it is not uncommon for one or two of my participants to have enrolled in the program with the hopes of using the MBTI® for selecting employees within their organization. Obviously, how an individual prefers to communicate, solve problems, resolve conflict and approach their work can impact how they behave and perform – thus, many organizations mistakenly make the leap to using such an indicator to select job candidates after experiencing the assessment in an employee development program. These organizations recognize that the information they have received from the assessment may also help them find the best person for a job and it is tempting to use the same development processes to evaluate candidates. However, based on the appropriate application and use of the MBTI, we know selection is not an ethical use of the tool. These opportunities that arise when a client wants to use type for selection puts HR practitioners in the seat as educators; organizations with little experience with psychometric assessments do not see a big difference between developing people and evaluating people. This is a key misunderstanding and often results in organizations making some basic mistakes, and also results in the most common misuse and misapplication of type. Here are some key points that you can discuss with your clients to help them understand the subtle, but significant differences between using assessments to help employees better themselves and using assessments to compare candidates. Changing the focus Developmental applications of assessments are focused on the person – How might you communicate? How do you make decisions based on your preferences? How do you plan your work? How do you lead others? How are your preferences for any of these tasks helpful in your current work? How do they create obstacles for you? Selection applications of assessments are focused on the job and do not leave much room for exploring when and how an individual uses traits differently. Rather, it simply seeks out an aggregate of how much of a behaviour is used across settings and how well that fits with the role. Therefor,e the questions instead become what are the key tasks and priorities of this position? What characteristics are required for an employee to be successful at these tasks? Changing the assessments Since the focus changes, the assessments must also change. Instruments such as the MBTI® assessment are designed to help people explore their preferences, traits and skills – they are focused on the individual and their own opportunities for growth and development. As a result they should not be used in employee selection. Other assessments are designed to compare people to others – they help you identify things such as who is the most ambitious, the least stressed, the most flexible. They are focused on the subtle differences between people. This is the information you need if you are to identify which candidates have the characteristics necessary for job success. Changing the decisions In the simplest terms, developmental decisions are based on how an individual can work with what they’ve got, and how they could perform at a higher level. It takes people as they are and helps them focus on their strengths and identify potential areas of weakness. The decisions that are made are how an individual can best move forward by selecting their behaviours appropriately. Selection decisions are based on the fit of the individual’s consistent traits and skills with the requirements of the job. The consideration is person-job fit – which is what it needs to be if assessments are to be used effectively and properly. So the next time you are asked about using assessments in selection you can explain the differences between development and selection with these three points: Different Focus Different Assessments Different Decisions If you’d like more information on selection or development, please visit our website.