Back in September, I wrote about an increase in the use of pre-employment testing of job candidates. Last week, I had the fortune of asking several employers about their use of assessments and tests in screening applicants. Some notes:
- A couple of firms use pre-employment tests as a way to screen applicants. After an applicant applies for a position, he/she receives and email instructing the user to log on and complete an online test. If the applicant falls below a pre-set score, that candidate is removed from consideration. Certain companies hold firm to this line – one could be the perfect candidate on paper but perform poorly on the test and that applicant is out of the running for that job. This may sound harsh to the applicant, but professionals in the recruiting field can offer another view – with some job postings receiving over 1000 resumes, recruiters need a timely and unbiased way to identify top candidates. Yes, the recruiter may miss some great people, but it would take an individual all day to review 1000 resumes, and then individual biases/preferences would result in missing just as many solid candidates as the testing does.
- Other firms use testing as part of the interview process to help balance individual interviewers’ biases. Taking a cognitive test or personality assessment can be another way for a firm to verify what they have seen and heard in an interview or read on a resume.
- Other companies combine the two approaches. As part of the interviewing process, the applicant takes a personality test (ex: Gallup’s Strengths Finder) and if the applicant’s results are in the “desired” attributes for the specific position, the person continues on to the next level of interviews. If the person falls outside the list of attributes…for some firms that is the end of the road for the candidate while other firms may circle back and ask some additional questions to ensure the candidate’s makeup, interests, personality, etc. are a match for the position and company. This last (third) scenario is often found with sales positions.
Testing is here to stay and its use will only increase in my opinion as every employer mentioned they have experienced better results in their hiring since implementing the use of test (retention, offer yield, success on the job).
Companies are afraid of making poor hiring decisions. Hiring a bad employee is an expensive mistake, not to mention the effect it can have on the morale of the office. Additionally, it can create a talent gap in a company. Testing is another tool in assessing candidates – and one tool that is becoming more popular in the field.