Assessment tools sometimes get a bad rap. Most companies don’t leverage them well. Candidates fear them. Staying legal can be tricky, because assessments must be complemented by interviews. And recruiting companies tend to loathe them, since they represent another potential obstacle in getting to “yes”.
Why Companies are using Hiring Assessments
Hiring assessments are used to help employers during the hiring process and beyond. Many companies turn to assessment tools to narrow down the search in order to find the right candidate. Other companies use assessments to make business decisions even after the candidate is hired.
Although there are many benefits to using these tools, many companies have hesitancies when trying to decide if it’s right for them. Let’s “debunk” some of the common myths or misunderstandings behind assessment tools.
Assessment Tools for Hiring: Myth vs. Truth
Myth: Hiring tools should be used immediately as a filter.
Truth: Assessments tools are best used as a final step. Surprising? If you’ve checked all the boxes for a candidate, they’ve been approved from a paperwork standpoint, and you’re about to enter the last round, that’s when you assess. This allows you to base the final round interview questions on any surprises or identifiable gaps. Assessment tools are also the perfect tie-breaker when you’re trying to choose between two excellent candidates.
Myth: Hiring assessment tools are just for the hiring process.
Truth: Assessment tools can be an incredible resource beyond an initial hire. They help inform the onboarding process, including the approach or time required by sales coaches and hiring/transition managers. And farther down the line, in bigger numbers, assessment results help in succession planning. If Employee A was a local manager for two years and never got promoted, but Employee B was promoted after 1 year, it’s worth comparing those assessments. Where is it that Employee B scored high, but Employee B scored low? How can you emphasize that on the next hiring decision?
Myth: Hiring assessments are personality tests.
Truth: This just isn’t true. They might feel like a personality test, or a “been there, done that’ kind of bucketing of people’s skills, but strategic assessments have evolved over the years. The good ones are not about fitting someone into a particular category/ They are true behavioral indicators.
Myth: I already know what I’m looking for in a candidate. I don’t need candidates to take a pre-employment assessment test.
Truth: Getting intimate with the test–and actually taking it–is critical to leveraging it. But even more importantly, is making the test work for YOUR company. Everything (self-reliance, communication, creativity) will sound pretty good at the end–especially when it’s been a long process. But before you administer a test, an employer needs to decide what they’re really looking for. A good start is to examine the test results of a few star employees in the department you’re hiring for. What do they have in common? What makes them shine? From there, identify the top three values for this position. Without a process, you’re just winging it. That’s how people end up with employees they like instead of employees who are a good fit for the job.
Should Your Business Use a Hiring Assessment Test?
The short answer to this is yes, but before you begin to research your different assessment options, you need to do some background work. The first step your business needs to take before considering which assessment tool to choose is to analyze your current hiring challenges. Does your company have a high turnover rate? Do candidates only look good on paper but not on the job?
Should Your Business Use an Assessment Test To Make the Final Hiring Decision?
No… most providers of assessments will clearly state that their test should not be used as the sole criteria for making hiring decisions. At the same time, if an applicant demonstrates a range of “unacceptable” scores, it is often hard for hiring personnel to think of them as an acceptable applicant. The most common situation is when a hiring manager relies too heavily on assessment results by automatically disqualifying an applicant based solely on his or her test scores.
Of course, the opposite situation, completely ignoring test scores can also be a problem. There are several things that can be done to help manage this situation.
- The first involves the creation of structure within the hiring process. This may take the form of a set of tools that will allow those making hiring decisions to see all relevant data organized in one place.
- A second way to manage this situation is to probe more deeply on potential issues raised via assessment results. This will allow hiring personnel to focus their attention on potential “derailers” so that they can collect the information needed to make effective decisions.
- A final way to manage this process is to ensure that those making hiring decisions have been trained to understand the value of the assessment tools being used and the role this information should play in the hiring process.
At the end of the day, hiring is a predictive decision that is too complex to be automated. It relies on the talent and experience of those trusted to make hiring decisions. If assessment results are to be part of the process, the reason for their use and their role in the decision-making process should be clear.
After you pinpoint the company’s hiring challenges, then you should begin the discussion with a search firm to figure out what assessment tool is best for your business. Connect with our team of search specialists to get started!