About The Hire Talent and
About Our Research
We’ve been assessing the likelihood of success and potential in candidates through the implementation of hiring best practices and, ultimately, our predictive pre-employment assessment tools for the last three decades. Backed by hundreds of thousands of interviews with candidates, tireless efforts to analyze, classify, and evaluate the feedback we’ve been provided by our clients, and a sheer tenacity to be the best provider of pre-hire assessment tools, we have we established ourselves as one of the leading providers of talent assessment testing available on the market today.
We created this in-depth and informative guide for you in the hopes that it will help direct you toward a greater understanding of the benefits of thoroughly screening candidates in your hiring and employment process with the aid of with pre-employment testing. Our aim is to clearly highlight the best practices of using these assessments, detail how to understand the different types of tests available for use in the hiring process, and provide other helpful tips for incorporating this method of assessment easily into your own hiring practices.
Why Do We Use Pre-Employment Testing?
Every business wants to find the right employees…the people who will fit in, become top performers, and contribute to the company’s success. There are several figures regarding the costs of a bad hire. Some claim that bad hires cost businesses from 1 to 5 times the annual salary of that person and still others claim turnover is as expensive as 150% an employee’s salary.
The argument for using multi-measure pre-employment testing is designed to prevent these expenses by preventing turnover, and ultimately, by preventing poor hiring decisions in the first place.
The practice of administering personality tests to potential hires in order to achieve this goal continues to rise in popularity. It is estimated that 82% of employers use pre-employment testing to assess their candidates in the hiring process, measuring critical candidate skills like competence, attitude, aptitude, and personality. The purpose of using pre-employment tests is multifaceted; throughout history, using assessment methods in science and psychology have traditionally been accepted as an established way to effectively measure a specific topic or relationship from which we have formed a hypotheses.
Using pre-employment testing in the screening and hiring process aims to do much of the same thing. Aside from screening resumes and interviewing candidates, we really know very little about a person, their experience, or how their talents translate to success on the job and how that might look in our business. Measuring skills, personality traits, and level of competence through the lens of pre-employment testing is, therefore, one of the most objective and unbiased methods for gaining insight into a candidate’s potential and likelihood for success on the job.
Businesses who use pre-hire testing in their screening process have a better chance of selecting employees who will fit with their company culture, are a great behavioral and personality fit, who are capable, have the necessary skills, will stay engaged over time and ultimately experience greater success on the job. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
The benefits to using pre employment tests as part of a solid talent acquisition strategy are endless. From saving money and time to streamlining the screening process, using pre-employment testing to measure skills, competence, and personality has can help address and improve a host of business challenges.
The following are just a handful of the several challenges testing addresses in your talent acquisition process:
1. Talent Management
and Labor Market Challenges
With the effects of economic recovery from the recession of 2008 still being felt across human resource teams, HR leaders have been challenged with labor shortage challenges and a candidate skills gap. Research from the Korn Ferry Institute suggests that nearly 60% of employers struggle to fill jobs within 3 months and confirm these skills gap challenges will only continue growing. This has lead hiring managers to place increasing pressure on their HR executives to fill positions faster and with more dynamic talent.
To address this, HR leaders are increasingly turning to tools like pre-employment assessments that might help them screen a higher volume of candidates faster and more thoroughly, earlier in the talent management process, as these assessments have been shown to better identify candidates who have the core abilities and behaviors that allow them to excel on the job.
2. Creating a Positive Candidate Experience
in the Interview Process
Measuring candidate traits as part of the selection process contributes to a positive candidate experience by helping to make sure the candidate ends up in a career where they are most likely to be successful. There is no sense in filling a role with a candidate whose personality and preferences are ill-aligned with the activities of the role. Measuring these traits during the interview process can help both the candidate and company understand where they might be the best fit, or not.
Communication is one of the most important components to be mindful of in the talent acquisition process. Be sure to communicate your purpose of and intent to use assessments in your interview process. You might explain to candidates that these tools help you make better hiring decisions by ensuring the candidate is a good fit, which will therefore increase their chances of personal and professional success, job enjoyment and overall satisfaction with work.
One research study found that, after a 3 year check-in, employees who have a positive candidate experience and on-boarding process are 69% more likely to stick with your company. Helping candidates see how pre-employment assessment tests are used not only as a screening tool, but also as a way to help provide a sense of clarity that benefits both them and you, allows for a transparency, respect, and a level of communication that many candidates appreciate during this phase in the interview process.
3. Accelerate the Hiring Process by Up to 7 Days With the Use of Pre-Employment Tests
Using pre-employment testing early in the hiring process helps candidates and employers identify sooner whether they are a likely fit for the job or not. If you have several candidates applying for a job, it can become a daunting and overwhelming task to review and screen all of them in a timely manner. Having a screening tool like an assessment that you can use to verify certain skills and abilities can help you narrow down your candidate pool more quickly and efficiently.
Similarly, being able to confirm whether candidates are a fit sooner frees up your other employees who may be filling in for the vacancy, and reduces any lost productivity for the business as a whole. Every day your business has an unfilled position or an underperforming employee filling a key role is a loss of new sales opportunities, reduced capacity to produce or deliver your products and services, and increased cost to support your clients.
Another key point to consider in wanting to execute a speedy hiring process is to avoid candidate drop-off. In a tight labor market, good candidates are hard to come by. Inc. claims that the best candidates are off the market within 10 days anyway, so having a long and drawn out hiring process only increases the chances of them dropping out or getting poached by another company. The quicker you move, the better your chances are of hiring a really great candidate.
Mismanaging any of these factors can result in reduced profitability and reduced overall business growth.
4. Improve Poor Hiring Practices
with Pre-Employment Tests
Hiring a candidate who is not a fit for your role, for reasons of work style, personality, or competency, increases the likelihood of them quitting prematurely or you having to terminate them for lack of performance. Pre-employment testing used to screen out candidates who won’t be successful in the role or who are not up to par with your requirements will surely save you the trouble, time and cost of making a poor hiring decision. The less time and financial investment you put forth for the wrong candidates frees you up to focus on those candidates who do meet your standards and have the necessary skills and motivation that will drive business growth.
Implementing a system of assessment for your talent acquisition process sets your business up to address previous poor hiring practices and sets your business up for success with more deliberate and better structured future hiring objectives.
5. A Way to Improve Interview Skills
for Emerging Leaders
Because pre-employment testing provides an in-depth and comprehensive look into a candidate’s skills and personality style, for example, interviewers can better understand and hone in on areas a candidate scored particularly well or poorly in during initial interviews.
This insight will help interviewers identify the most important components of their position and how they propose their questions to get the most out of each interview with candidates. Focusing in on these interest areas helps interviewers further develop their process for interviewing.
6. Serves as a Guide for Employee Development
Researchers have found that pre-employment assessments can predict a candidate’s future performance at work. Employees who have desirable personality traits, including strong levels of motivation, empathy, and self-confidence have been shown to perform better in the workplace when compared to those who don’t.
These qualities are essential in employees who will be able to stay on task, present a positive attitude towards their jobs, and perform effectively.
During the on-boarding phase, HR leaders can use the information gleaned from pre-employment testing to target these areas where an employee might need improvement. Now, in addition to being a tool used to help assess for hiring, an employee’s test results can also serve as a starting point for improving their performance and creating SMART goals to increase productivity.
Pre Employment Testing Predicts
Utilizing employment testing in your hiring process helps contribute to overall employee engagement by ensuring the job is a good fit for the candidate in terms of personality, behavior preferences, and work style, before hiring. Nobody wants to be in a job they don’t like, aren’t good at, or can’t be successful in. In this way, pre-employment tests help candidates uncover the likelihood of whether a job will be great fit for them by measuring key traits of a candidate and matching them to the activities of the job in order to estimate level of long-term job satisfaction and employee engagement.
Pre Employment Testing Predicts
Employee Retention Rate
Just as is the case with employee engagement, using pre employment assessments helps improve an employer’s retention rate. By assessing candidates in the screening process for skills and characteristics that are tied to their success on the job, their ability to retain employees and reduce their company turnover increases.
The predictability of assessments in measuring candidate personality and aptitude, for example, lend insight that an employer can use in placing the candidate in the best position for their type and interests. Going through the process of hiring and on-boarding only to result in quick turnover has huge hidden costs to businesses. Hiring and on-boarding talent often takes a substantial amount of time and the time dedicated to this process is extremely costly, especially when a hire doesn’t work out
Using Pre-Employment Screening to Gain Insights About Candidate Skills
Identifying qualified talent can be tricky in this tight labor market. With highly specialized skills required for many jobs these days it’s even harder to find qualified candidates. And how are we supposed to know whether a candidate who applies for our position truly has the working knowledge to execute the tasks required of them on the job?
Using skill tests in the screening process, either before interviewing a candidate, or during another phase in the hiring process to identify specialized job skills can make the candidate evaluation process faster and more meaningful for all involved.
Using personality tests or aptitude tests to identify core behaviors and natural inclinations that may indicate success on the job is one way to narrow down your candidate pool to distinguish the top performers from those who are not.
Likewise, using tools like an ability test to measure logical reasoning, cognitive ability and interpersonal skills and strengths related to job skills is also a great way to identify high potential talent for development when specific trained skills are still underdeveloped.
Assessment validity is essential to any pre-employment testing program because it assures three things that should be present with any assessment being used to aid in making hiring decisions. They are:
The test is actually measuring something.
The test is specifically measuring what you want it to measure.
What the test is measuring can predict an outcome.
To provide a quantifiable way of verifying that an assessment possesses validity, formal processes have been developed by researchers over the years. The following are different types of validity used to determine the efficacy of pre-employment tests as they relate to our testing:
An assessment has content validity when the questions being asked can be reasonably associated with the measurements they are intended to measure. For example: Every question that relates to the trait of “Patience” should be asking the test taker about their preferences with being patient.
An assessment has construct validity when the traits it purports to measure are actually being measured. For example: If a test taker scores 100 on an “Assertive” trait, then they should, in reality, be a very assertive person.
An assessment has criterion validity when its results can be strongly associated with an outcome. For example: When testing for a sales role, we find that a test taker’s level of extroversion is a good predictor of whether or not they will be a good salesperson.
When a test meets all of the above checks for reliability and validity, we can say with confidence that the assessment is predictive in what it measures. So, if you want to identify certain traits and characteristics of a candidate for the sake of making a good hiring decision, choose an assessment with strong validity.
When implementing assessment tools in your screening process, it is important that you follow a set of hiring best practices to ensure you get the most from the experience and the results your testing provides. One of the most crucial considerations right now is the labor market and how this affects your candidate’s likelihood of completing testing.
- In a tight labor market where candidates have a lot of choice in where they work, you could face strict barriers to candidates completing assessments and will have to evaluate how to deal with handling objections from candidates and how you will move forward or not with candidates when this happens.
- When the market is tight, you may find you have to ramp up your candidate recruiting and sourcing strategy. The same applies to passive candidates who are recruited and not actively looking for work. They might be less available and enthusiastic about completing pre-employment testing. Generally, you have a little more leeway with active candidates who’ve applied for your position versus candidates who have been recruited for the job. The competitiveness of the landscape will determine how you should pitch the idea of pre-employment testing to both active and passive or recruited candidates.
- Another consideration to take into account is the level of the hire you are making. Usually, the lower the level the position, the more testing you can get away with. When hiring C-Suite or high-level candidates, the more strategic you’ll want to be about testing and instead emphasize engagement and the candidate experience throughout the process.
- In order to remain fair and unbiased throughout the assessment and hiring process, another important consideration in implementing best practices is that you have to consider when, how, where, and how often you’ll use assessments. Do you want to implement skill tests before meeting with candidates as a screening tool? Will the assessments be completed remotely, or will you invite candidates to complete testing on site? Do you use testing with everyone for every position you’re hiring for, or only specific roles?
Choosing the right pre-employment assessments for your business will ultimately depend on the type of roles you are looking to fill and what you are looking to measure in your potential candidates. Before selecting your pre-hire assessments, it’s necessary to take an inventory of several items:
1. Evaluate the Position: What are the most important skills, experiences, and qualifications needed to be successful in the role?
2. What kind of candidate will fill the role successfully?: List out the traits, habits, or training they have that will contribute to their success.
3. How will performance be measured?: What benchmarks and metrics will you use to determine that a candidate is successful in a role?
Identifying these key features of the role and type of candidate you hope to attract for the job will help you select the most appropriate tools to further assess them for the job.
There are several types of pre-employment screening tests on the market that assess for nearly everything possible. As mentioned, when selecting your assessments, it’s important to consider the role and ensure that the testing you choose is strategically matched to that role so you avoid any discriminatory practices.
The following pre-employment assessments are the most common types of used for pre-employment screening:
- Cognitive & Leadership Work Ability Tests
These types of tests measure competence and skill level of certain attributes involving dealing with people, navigating roles in interpersonal relationships like communication, listening, understanding others, initiative, and coaching skills.
- Analytical & Logical Reasoning Tests
These tests measure logic and critical thinking abilities such as problem solving, decision making, and outside of the box thinking.
- Personality Test & Career Aptitude Test
These tests measure behavioral preferences and natural inclinations that relate to on-the-job satisfaction and performance, which affects employee retention, engagement, and overall success on the job.
- Emotional Competence, Conscientiousness & Emotional Intelligence Tests
These tests measure emotional intelligence and gauge a candidate’s level of sensitivity to how well they deal with and respond to others. Emotional intelligence determines one’s ability to effectively understand their emotions, as well as influence and understand others.
- Attitude, Honesty and Integrity Assessments
Measures attitude and integrity, like honesty, blame, honesty, dishonesty, and level of supportiveness or likelihood of being a team player.
- Sales Abilities Tests
Sales skills and sales aptitude tests measure the likelihood that someone is a fit for a sales role based on both skills and knowledge of sales technique as well as personality fit for the role by measuring traits like assertiveness, confidence, tenacity, motivation, and work ethic.
- Skills Assessment Tests
Skills assessment tests measure a variety of skill sets, whether general or broad, and include attention to detail, reading and writing skills, telemarketing and sales, or specific computer programs like Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint.
Assessment tools have been used for decades. From the military, who uses their proprietary ASVAB to measure which jobs a recruit is the best fit for, to one of the most common assessments of pathology and psychological dysfunction known as the Rorschach Test; assessment testing, measurement, and classification has long been a part of our culture. In business, we use pre-employment testing to assess a candidate’s aptitude, personality type, interests, and more, in an attempt to determine their suitability for a specific role and ensure a proper fit for the job.
One of the most common and popular assessments in our culture that comes to mind is likely the personality test used these to determine our likes, dislikes, and interests. As we’ve highlighted earlier, we want to measure these things in candidates to aid in identifying the behaviors and natural inclinations of candidates that are linked to job satisfaction, retention, and engagement over long periods of time. Knowing this and other information measured with traditional assessment tools before hiring a candidate is helpful in making significantly more effective hiring decisions.
In the age of litigation, we want to ensure that the pre-employment testing and screening methods we use and recommend are legal and compliant. In general, pre-employment testing is legal as long as it doesn’t discriminate against any group in terms of age, gender, race, religion, national origin, or disability. Along those same lines, assessment testing should apply and be relevant to the job applied for. It should not be used to exclude anyone and be consistent in the way that it is administered.
Following these steps will ensure that when using pre-employment testing for screening candidates in the hiring process, you are remaining compliant and fair, and are following best practices for staying legally compliant.
Interested in learning more about pre-employment assessment tools and how they might fit into your hiring and recruiting process? Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you have about improving your hiring process, reducing turnover, or increasing employee engagement.