Interview: Personal assessment as a tool of growth in the industry

Personal assessment

Personal assessments are used as part of the recruitment process to support decision-making and minimise the risk of making the wrong choice. The purpose of personal assessments is to find the person best suited for each vacant position who will enjoy and succeed in their role.

For the applicant, the first personal assessment may be nerve-racking but, above all, it’s a unique opportunity to learn more about yourself and your strengths. If the applicant completes several personal assessments during their career, they can also witness their own development.

Every year, MPS carries out almost 3,500 personal assessments. Lotta Lunnela, psychologist and consultant at MPS, interviewed Jussi Tunturi, who has forged a career in industry, about his experiences of personal assessment.

Have you previously participated in personal assessments?

Yes, I have, so I knew what to expect and wasn’t nervous because of the assessment process itself. The personal assessment day is often long and may feel heavy because the exercises take time, and especially assignments with a time limit may be challenging. Based on my previous experience, I knew which exercises would be the most taxing for me and which I would enjoy the most.

For me, the interview is the most important and natural part of the assessment. In the interview, I can talk about myself and my way of working in my own words, expressing my own personality. It’s a sign of the consultant’s expertise if you get a feeling in the interview that the consultant has a good understanding of the role at hand and its criteria. In the interview, a confidential atmosphere and a feeling of mutual understanding and being heard play key roles.

What was your first ever personal assessment day like?

Back in the day, when I was in my first assessment, I wondered how I should respond to the questions. Should I answer what I think the consultant wants to hear or what I think is best for the job I’m applying for? I think many people go through these questions in their first assessments. I think there is only one correct answer to this question. Give your honest opinion. An attempt to influence the assessment with calculated answers may backfire in the interview, because the results of the evaluation methods used in the personal assessment may seem conflicted and lead to a wrong conclusion for you. The best result is achieved when you’re open and yourself.

Do you think the assessments are a good thing?

Yes. The assessment gives both sides an opportunity to check whether the expectations for the role are realistic. In the personal assessment, the applicant receives a professional’s perspective on whether the role in question would be a step in the right or wrong direction and what you should develop or strengthen in your expertise profile.

If I were the one recruiting, I couldn’t come up with a reason not to use a personal assessment. The assessment provides an opportunity to get a more extensive understanding of the applicant’s personality and way of working. A job interview alone may not give the right impression of the candidate or identify all of the candidate’s potential in the case of a candidate of few words.

In your opinion, what can a personal assessment, at best, offer to the applicant?

Assessments are excellent moments to stop and think about your own motivating factors, professional development and career goals together with a professional. They will help you understand more about your personality and identify your strengths and development targets. In the best-case scenario, assessments can offer a career coaching perspective of your situation.

I know that many people are nervous about the assessment in advance, but you should think of the assessment as a chance to get to know yourself better.

Last time, you took part in an MPS personal assessment. What did you think of it?

In my opinion, the best part of the MPS personal assessment was the interview. The consultant had great questions that challenged me to think and find new ideas. The interview gave a new perspective and made me think of my own motivation and the direction of my career also in the bigger picture.

How did you feel after the assessment?

Primarily that it’s now over and that I’ve done my best. The rest is just waiting for the results. Fortunately, the assessments don’t have wrong or rights answers – it’s your personality that counts.

What did you think when you received the report and feedback?

You could see from the feedback that I and the reviewer had spoken the same language and that I had been understood. I was most interested in the summary and recommendation section of the report; for me, an overall image of my competencies is more important than the scores on individual tests.

What do you think of the fact that you can get oral feedback on a personal assessment in addition to the written report?

This was a good opportunity. Whether you agree or disagree with the report’s results, a debriefing with the consultant is a useful part of the process. You should review the feedback as soon as possible after the assessment, when the matters gone through in the assessment are still fresh in your memory.

Can you identify special characteristics in your industrial field that should be taken into consideration in personal assessments? 

In an assessment, it would be important to clarify the applicant’s expertise in the field, how well they can absorb new information and how they get along with different people. In industry, safety is a top priority, together with a related safety-critical way of thinking and acting. Attitudes to different guidelines and complying with them are key points in our field. It’s good to be honest about your expertise, especially in a field like ours, in which we deal with machinery, as you have to have the required competence to work with it.

What would you say to someone about to take part in their first personal assessment?

I’d say that the exercises are very multidimensional and that there are quite a few of them. You should respond with the first thing that comes to mind. It’s important to be open, honest and your authentic self. In the interview, it’s good to be active yourself and ask questions.

I’d also like to remind you that the assessments are all about evaluating strengths and development targets in relation to the criteria set for the role. There are no wrong or right answers, as the aim is to take a look at the bigger picture. The idea is not to aim for a maximum performance and to complete all exercises, but to do as you would naturally do. We’re all good at something.

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