Business Training

Leadership Assessments: New Practices

Scientific and predictive validity seem to be the mantra for organizations today as they look at building rigor and objectivity in their hiring process. Instead of merely hiring the ‘right person for the right job’, organizations have become more appreciative of charting out a career graph for new hire hires even as they are being considered for the job.

We appreciate the importance of choosing candidates who possess the capacity and orientation to take on strong leadership roles tomorrow. Investing to select future leaders at the level of hiring itself presents multiple benefits to the organization concerned.

  1. The decision of hiring individuals is based on well-researched assessment tools, which show a strong correlation between scores on the assessment and performance in leadership roles. Hence, the organization is trusted to make a sound hiring decision.
  2. The assessment can throw up some very insightful data with respect to the candidate’s strengths and opportunities keeping in mind a specific role. By providing a career graph to the individual along with a development plan at the time of joining, the organization provides confidence to the candidate that the right efforts are being invested in making him or her successful.
  3. Many times hiring technically sound individuals may prove costly at a later stage when the individual is being considered for promotion. Because candidates have been accepted purely on the basis of their technical or behavioral skills, they may not necessarily make the best people managers. Assessing candidates on their leadership capacities helps organizations in planning ahead of time.



Our client, part of the USD 3 billion Indian conglomerate, is engaged in sales and servicing of luxury cars through state-of-the-art showrooms in Southern India. It is one of the world’s leading premium brands and is amongst the most admired car brands across the world.

To achieve its vision to acquire and maintain global leadership position in the automobile space, the Company recognized the significance of having the right leaders spearheading the business. Through ongoing and structured deliberations with the Capability Building and Senior Leadership Team, and in partnership with InspireOne, the company came up with a rigorous Leadership Assessment exercise for the hiring of college graduates.

The hires were selected to go through an internally-led Leadership Acceleration Program (LAP) which focused on a fast-track job rotation program of 9-12 months. By the end of the program, these newly hired recruits were designated leadership positions with teams reporting into them.

Hiring Process:

The Company’s selection panel visited tier 1 and tier 2 Indian business schools for a pre-placement interview. All students who choose to go through the selection procedure went through 5 stages and candidates were filtered as they moved through stages:

Analytical Test: This was a short paper and pen test, which contained 10 questions on Logical Reasoning. A time-bound test, approximately 1 minute was designated to solve each question. All students who cleared this test were moved to the next level.

Group Discussion: A case study of the companywas provided to a group of 6-7 candidates. The candidates were judged on how they were able to take decisions as the CEO of the organization around various situational challenges that cropped up in year 2006.

Personal Application: Candidates were asked to fill a personal application form which provided an insight into their personality. The questions pertained to the personal experiences that the candidate may have gone through.

Personal Interview: The selection panel conducted a one-on-one interview with the candidate for roughly 20-30 minutes. The candidate was primarily judged on the 4 E’s i.e. positive Energy, ability to Enthuse, Edge, Execution power and passion.

Evaluation of Leadership Capacity: This was the last and most critical filter to determine selection of a candidate. In line with the vision to select future leaders, the company partnered with InspireOne. The objective of this online questionnaire was to identify the natural leadership orientations, leadership styles and career anchors of the candidate. Based on the outcome of the questionnaire, the selection panel took a decision of ‘hire’ or ‘no hire’.


Keeping in mind the values and ethos that the organization aimed to promote as part of its culture, the team came up with following 13 behavioral requirements for a candidate to be selected.

  1. Self motivation
  2. Execution orientation
  3. Analytical
  4. Ability to work under pressure
  5. Goal orientation
  6. Passion to serve
  7. Nurture Talent
  8. Creativity
  9. Accountability & Ownership
  10. Collaboration
  11. Decisiveness
  12. Passionate
  13. Seeks Quality

To meet the requirements of the organization, we mapped the leadership orientations to each behavioral requirement. A measurement scale was designed in order to evaluate the candidate on the 13 parameters. Each parameter could gain a maximum of 5 points for a candidate. Hence, a candidate could score a maximum of 65 on the overall scale. Defined by the purpose of the exercise and the background of the candidates, the range defined for hire was approximately 15 – 25.

In addition to the measurement outcomes, we analyzed the report and provided a brief summary for each candidate based on his or her strengths and areas of development. The scoring and analysis was conducted keeping in mind the specific role that the candidate was being considered for.

Assessing success:

Using the aforementioned assessment process, the organization has hired 56% of the candidates from the total applied. In order to assess the success the organization may be recommended to use the following measures:

Performance appraisal data at the end of the Leadership Acceleration Program is an effective way to determine accuracy of the results from the assessment exercise. 100% candidates must successfully complete the Leadership Acceleration Program and are deemed ready to take on leadership responsibilities.

Engagement surveys conducted within respective teams after 6 months of taking on leadership role should produce sufficient data.

Minimal attrition rate from amongst the candidates hired through the new assessment exercise to be documented on yearly basis.


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