15 Feb Integrate Pre-Hire Assessments into Your Hiring Process
Separate the contenders from the pretenders before the interview
We live in an ever-evolving world where an increasing number of business decisions are being made around data. No longer is “the eye test” acceptable. No longer can we rely on feel or instincts to run all aspects of the business.
Today, it’s not just the CFO’s office that is responsible for handling numbers and making assessments based off past, current and projected data. With competition high for all aspects of business, and even in regard to attracting talent to and retaining talent in an organization, the focus has switched to making science-based choices for all types of decisions.
This mode of decision making has become especially prominent in the recruitment and hiring aspect of human resources management. Research conducted by the Talent Board recently found that 82 percent of companies are using some form of pre-employment assessment test to try to evaluate all candidates on a level playing field, through the use of data culled from the results of the evaluation. But are pre-hire assessments something your company should start using? And how should they be used in your hiring process?
Why Utilize Pre-Hire Assessments
What appears on a person’s resume, his or her education, skills and previous work experience, are not the total picture. HR consultants, HR professionals and hiring managers have long known that to be the truth. That’s why companies conduct interviews, to peel back the layers to determine whether a candidate would be a good fit for the available job.
Having an in-person conversation with all candidates helps a hiring manager or team get a feel for a person beyond what’s written on a resume. How professionally a candidate dresses, how he or she interacts with people who might be his or her boss, how well he or she answers questions about how they’d handle a specific situation or complicated tasks … these are all determinations that interviewers have long tried to make from simple conversations.
But there are significant downfalls to relying on just this conversation, particularly because they are making qualitative and not quantitative assessments. In other words, this is a subjective process instead of an objective one, which can often lead to unconscious bias being allowed to enter the equation.
By setting up pre-hire assessments for all candidates, you will in essence be removing a majority of the qualitative assessments that you make, relying heavily instead on results, actual data, to help you determine whether one candidate or the next is the best fit for the job.
The Types of Pre-Hire Assessments
The best part about pre-hire assessments is they can be used not just to determine whether a candidate is a fit for the specific job, but whether he or she is also a good fit for your company’s culture. That same Talent Board research, which it published as its 2016 Candidate Experience Research report, found that 54 percent of respondents who used pre-hire assessments incorporated job simulations, while 51 percent used tests to determine culture fit.
Incorporating a multi-pronged approach to your pre-hire assessments is very important, as the top reason why hires fail is because of behavioral factors, according to a University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business study. It can be concluded, then, that it’s at least equally as important, if not more so, that a candidate is a good culture fit for your company as he or she is a good technical fit for the job.
As such, your total pre-hire assessment package should contain at least one assessment for job fit, such as a job simulation, and at least one assessment for personality fit. Some of the top tests include:
• Job knowledge: This needs to be personalized for your company, as it should require a candidate to go through a simulated task he or she might need to accomplish in the job.
• Integrity: These tests will help determine a candidate’s ethics, and whether he or she is likely to be honest.
• Cognitive ability: There are standardized tests out there, such as a General Aptitude Test, that measure a person’s mental capacity using logical, verbal and numerical reasoning.
• The Caliper Profile: This test has been widely used for more than 50 years and helps measure how a candidate’s traits will most closely relate to job performance.
• 16PF: This stands for the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire, which categorizes one’s personality into one of 16 personality factors.
• The Myer-Briggs Type Indicator: This is one of the more popular employee personality pre-hire assessments used in the U.S., as 89 of the Fortune 100 companies use it.
How to Incorporate Pre-Hire Assessments into Your Hiring Process
Now that you’ve decided to integrate pre-hire assessments into your hiring process, the question becomes: When should the tests be incorporated? Timing is indeed everything, as they say, and this goes for when to utilize pre-hire assessments as well.
Typically speaking, depending on exactly which assessments you choose, pre-hire tests should be incorporated in both the early and latter stages of the hiring process. Personality tests or more general cognitive testing can be considered as screening assessments that are used to weed out the pretenders from the contenders. As such, these should be incorporated in the early stages of the hiring process.
The group of candidates who have been selected to move onto the next stage through the resume review process can be given this screening assessment, or assessments, before they are called in for an interview. These types of assessments aren’t the greatest tools for determining who the best fit for a job is, but they are great at helping to unveil who might have a good, or risky, personality for your company.
At this point, you can whittle down your list of candidates based on the first pre-hire assessment. This is the list you’ll call to schedule an in-person interview. It’s at this stage that you would want to incorporate your job- or industry-specific assessment, the one which you may have created to simulate a real-world working situation.
It may be helpful to administer this assessment as the last thing a candidate does before he or she completes the in-person interview process. The steps in this case would be:
1.) Fill out application and candidate paperwork.
2.) Interview with the person, people or team responsible for making the hiring decision.
3.) Take the final pre-hire assessment.
By arranging the day in this way, you will be able to explain the aspects of the job that the candidate can use to better understand the assessment he or she is about to take, and you give the candidate a break from filling out paperwork. You don’t want the interview process to make candidates feel like they’re going back to school, after all.
By making the smart decision to use pre-hire assessments, you’ll be ensuring your interview process is as objective as possible and best protects against any of the potential pitfalls of a candidate not being a good fit for the job, either based on skill or personality.