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Assessing people - the 4 most common pitfalls...Hey, it’s about people, so watch out…

Evaluating people is one of the key roles of a leader.

Both today’s team members as well as candidates for a role in your team.

Assessments are used to get a handle on this. Unfortunately, not always effectively.

Often the question is asked: ‘Which assessment instrument is the most reliable?’

If only it were this easy, if only there was just one ideal, comprehensive assessment instrument.

This article by Ruth Imose, Jaime Potter and Gunnar Schrah describes 4 pitfalls:

  1. The more assessments the better. That is the question though. Subjecting candidates and team members too frequently and too long to assessments can give a negative impression of company culture and makes candidates drop out. Please, don’t.

  2. Assessments based on cutting edge tech (like LLM’s or AI) are better. This too remains to be seen. Research shows that assessments of cognitive ability and personality traits still offer the best insights.

  3. Selection assessments are only useful for selection. A careful selection assessment has more uses, of course. It can offer useful insights for on-boarding and further development et cetera.

  4. A standardised assessment is not useful for leadership roles. It is more complex than that. Especially for leadership roles, researching qualities that are necessary for the role is essential. So standard assessment with added specific aspects for every role.


Incidentally, top team due diligence or assessment is always tailored for a specific issue. Practical experience has taught me that a combination of focussed assessment combined with a structured interview will paint the most complete picture. 

Practical experience has also taught me that for C-level candidate evaluations the combination of a structured interview and an assessment of cognitive ability and personality traits will provide the required insights, for candidate and organisation.

Please feel welcome to exchange thoughts about my experiences with assessments for search projects, coaching, top team DD and succession issues.

 Warm regards,



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