How do Talent Acquisition Leaders Really Feel About Assessments?

Featuring: Linda Brenner

This episode looks at assessments from the perspective of a talent acquisition leader and asks the question– Do talent acquisition leaders really care about assessments?

To answer this question properly we call on the perspective of seasoned TA leader and consultant Linda Brenner of Talent Growth Advisors. (

According to Linda- understanding the space given to assessments by talent leaders requires that one really understands what keeps them up at night.

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not a simple one. Pain points in the hiring process are often the result of many factors converging in a “perfect storm”. Placing all the blame on one component (i.e., ATS, assessment, background check, etc.) will not fully remove the pain. In many cases the TA process and workflow is like Frankenstein’s monster- a bunch of stitched together parts moving awkwardly together.

Fixing challenges faced by TA leaders requires a holistic evaluation that applies a supply chain mentality to the entire process and its components. When one considers all of the various moving parts that are needed to create a successful hiring process- assessments far from the first thing that comes to mind.

To succeed with an assessment program- one has to embrace the fact that a good hiring process is much bigger than just putting a good assessment in place. So what part of the big picture is giving talent leaders fits?

According to Linda- it starts with our current labor market. It is a candidate’s market right now and the simple fact is that the supply of talent cannot keep up with demand. This is the lens through which a talent leader sees assessments.

With candidates in short supply- you have to make sure you are attracting talent, not repelling it. This calls for a focus on brand management. The standard method for recruitment brand management has been an employment page with stock photos and videos that all end up looking the same.

In today’s market – a targeted, differentiated approach to branding is a must. Talent leaders be creative and resourceful enough to find ways to target ideal candidates and surprise and delight them. Every decision about what goes into the process and how it is packaged is a balancing act that requires leaders to make decisions that will not upset and repel prospective applicants.

This message sounds like really bad news for those pushing for assessments, but it is far from a death knell. One just has to respect the fact that he labor market shapes the box that assessments must fit in when it comes to engaging talent leaders. Any assessments used must not disrupt the apple cart when it comes to attracting talent and compelling them to complete your application process.

So what are the rules exactly?

From an operational standpoint- the assessment has to fit a supply chain mentality. It must be tightly integrated into the process and the right data must be delivered to the right place at the right time.

From a candidate perspective – there must be a compelling reason for the assessment, the assessment must be short, and it should speak to the uniqueness of the employer’s brand.

Even meeting the above criteria does not guarantee the acceptance of an assessment into the workflow. Ultimately- it boils down to the role itself, what the competition is doing, and the difficulty faced in filling openings.

Assessments definitely have a fighting chance in today’s market- but require a realistic view on the context in which they must work and the ability to adapt to its constraints.

Linda Brenner is the Managing Director and Founder of Talent Growth Advisors, based in Atlanta. She’s passionate about defining what “good” looks like and taking concrete, measurable and staged steps to get there.

Find Linda and her organization at or at