Recruitment Assessment Tools: Get the Candidates You Want

Jackye Clayton
August 21 ․ 8 min read

candidate management Before you submit a candidate to the hiring manager, there are things that I can guarantee that you know.

Things like the candidate’s salary expectations, their basic skill set, and what they’re looking for in their next job. You probably even have a good idea about their values or whether they are a culture fit.

However, let me ask you this, do you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are qualified? It sounds crazy, I know, but can you say with absolute certainty that they can do the job that they were hired for?

Let’s be honest; unless and until we can actually see a candidate in action, we do not have 100 percent certainty that the person we hire is the best candidate. However, with the help of pre-hire assessments, we can get pretty close.

Lisa Quast, contributor at Forbes states:

“Administered correctly, pre-employment testing can help companies save time and cost in the selection process, decrease turnover, increase productivity, and improve morale.”

Even though companies have been using assessments for centuries, we are seeing an uptick in their use. In fact, according to the 2016 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report:

“The types of screening assessments that have increased dramatically over the past few years include culture fit (22 percent) and job simulations (50 percent). In fact, 75 percent of companies are using assessments with and without in-house validation analyses.”

Pre-hire assessments are definitely becoming the norm. But how can we make sure they are truly effective?

Using Pre-Hire Tests and Technology to Eliminate Bias

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are being used increasingly to help perform more mundane tasks. They can also help reduce some of the biases that creep into the recruiting process. The first benefit of such programs is time efficiency for top of funnel hiring, especially in high-volume recruitment situations. AI can be used to identify what you need from a role and screen resumes more effectively than humans, also freeing up those human recruiters to do more value-add tasks.

AI will learn and evolve as candidates become employees and you see what’s successful in a given role, etc. But the entire concept reduces the subjectivity of the hiring process, basing it instead on data points. AI won’t necessarily care that a person went to X-school or spent time at Y-company unless those criteria are deemed important to the specific position.

Leveraging technology to reduce bias in the recruiting process is crucial. The Globe and Mail has called recruitment bias “the enemy of diversity,” and there’s an increasing belief that the 50% failure rate often associated with hiring is largely tied to pre-existing biases.

Credentials Are Key (Ignoring Test Results)

Say you have been interviewing candidates all day and none of them is a fit. But then Bob comes in. You and Bob graduated from the same college, you have kids the same age, and he has a great personality. At some point during the interview, you have fallen in “love” with Bob.

Then you give him the assessment. And he bombs it. According to the science, he would be an absolutely horrible person to add to the team. However, you like him. You really like him. So you hire Bob anyway.

A few months down the road, you realize that Bob was not the best fit, and you have to repeat the entire hiring process.

Of course, you should never use test results to be the sole factor in rejecting or selecting a candidate. However, if the results of the test go directly against what you need on your team, you must trust the technology.

Don't Forget the Candidate Experience

During my career, I have taken several pre-hire tests including the Predictive Index, Myers-Briggs, and DiSC, to name a few. Full disclosure: none of them was a pleasant experience.

But it was never just the pre-hire testing that was painful; it was the entire candidate experience.

What you need to aim for is a “unified” experience on both sides; candidate and recruiter. We often seem to forget this, and forget that intelligent people (ideally strong candidates) don’t want to spend time muddling through unnecessary process steps.

For example, if  you have a lengthy application process, a career site that is hard to navigate, and automated, un-personalized communication gets sent out in response to the resumes you receive, you’ll probably lose the candidate before they even get a chance to do the pre-hire assessment.

Always remember, the candidate experience; both the positive and the negative, will influence a candidate’s perception of your organization and the job.

It would be great if we could make hiring decisions on our insight and instinct alone, but we are all human. From what we are learning about unconscious bias, that simple fact can just get in the way of making the best hiring decisions.

The latest technology and science can test a candidate’s skills, predict job satisfaction, determine culture fit, and more. Just make sure at you do your research and find the assessment test that will give you the right candidate.

It’s all pretty clear, making hiring decisions without using scientific data can be the difference between staffing up a successful company or showing up on the ‘worst places to work’ list.

How to deliver a candidate-centric experience