An Assessment for Success


The gaming industry, despite it’s opponents and detractors, just continues to grow. The Governor of California is enabling further growth and expansion of Native American casinos, while numerous eastern states continue to debate legislation that would allow gaming (or new types of gaming) within their borders, and Las Vegas watches new gaming properties developing both on, and off “The Strip”. Furthermore, this growth is without even mentioning the international expansion of the industry to Macao, the U.K., and who knows where!

Exciting news for both gaming operators, and suppliers of gaming devices, but all that growth will create a need for tens of thousands of new employees, and many, many new gaming executives. Does your company have tools in place to make certain that the “right” people are going to be hired to fill these positions? Or are you comfortable to simply let the revolving door of “turnover” continue to run on automatic as it does at the entrance to the casino?

If your company, or properties are not utilizing some form of pre-employment assessment tool to help identify the right people, before you hire them, then I would say you are leaving too much to chance.

Why Assess?

Using some type of unbiased measurement helps to see “below the surface” of what is presented in a resume, an employment application, or can be gotten by “gut instinct” in the interview process. Gaining insight into prospective employees motivators, and how they might behave in real-life work situations can be of great value when balanced with their necessary skills for the position, and the instinct of the interviewers.

The various assessment tools available in the marketplace are universally devised to aid in gaining an understanding of how someone will fit into your business culture, work in a team environment, offer creative input, handle cultural diversity, and solve everyday problems that occur in their job. All these things are impossible to deduce from a reading of their resume, or even the most exhaustive unstructured interview. Furthermore, many assessment tools can be customized to fit the particular needs of our industry, or your organization. Hiring more effectively leads to lower turnover.

Reducing your turnover is not simply alleviating a headache for human resources; it has a significant impact on profitability. Workforce Magazine calculates turnover cost to be 150% of an employee’s annual salary. So if you have twenty managers in your Food and Beverage Department, at an average annual salary of $40,000, and your turnover rate is 15%, your annual turnover cost is $180,000 just for that department!

How to Assess

There are many types of tools currently in use for the purpose of making the hiring, and human capital development process more effective, but they fall into two main categories: structured interviews, or written examinations. It is not my purpose to examine the advantages of one type over the other, but rather to present suggestions for utilizing assessment to create value in your organization. The following are ways in which these tools can be used to advantage:

  1. Benchmarking: By administering the test to groups of existing employees who already have a known level of success with your organization, you can map a group of trends and repeated traits that form a competency model for those positions. Depending upon the cost of the assessment tool you choose, this can be done at all practical levels of the organizational chart.
  2. Final Screening: Your assessment tool of choice should be one of the last elements used in the screening process to provide backup, or possibly counterpoint to the opinions of the interviewer(s). Assessment is particularly potent in this regard when you have already used the tool to set benchmarks for the position.
  3. Development and Succession Planning: Whether assessing a future CEO, Vice President, or department head, personality profiling should be part of identifying an internal candidates aptitude for the position. In this case again, when combined with benchmarking, assessment can be a very valuable tool to help identify the “best” candidates for training and development to be the future managers and leaders for the company.

Choosing a Tool

The U.S Department of Labor, Employment and Training Commission has published a guide to “Testing and Assessment – An Employers Guide to Good Practices” which is available on-line. Beyond the exhaustive criteria supplied there for making certain that the assessment tool you choose is bona fide, there are many other factors that may influence your choice. Companies like Talent Plus provide “structured interviews”, that determine many of the previously mentioned personal characteristics based on verbal response to customizable question sets posed by an interviewer. Lab Profiles (Language & Behavior Profile), developed by Rodger Bailey in the early ’80’s is another type of interviewing technique created to predict individuals’ personal, and professional characteristics.

Written assessments, some of which can now be conveniently administered via the Internet, include among many choices, Myers-Briggs, Caliper, and Aethos’s own 2020 Skills™. All of these options provide, or are aimed at providing similar insights into prospective employees. They differ in many ways including their specific orientation (i.e., general, sales, hospitality), means of being administered, and cost per test. The time spent researching and choosing the tool most appropriate for your company will be time well spent. Though there is training and cost involved in using any type of assessment in your hiring and development process, we believe the long-range value to your firm far more than outweighs them.