A year ago, I wrote that job seekers should be prepared to face more pre-employment personality testing and cognitive exams, and according to Aberdeen Group out of Boston, MA, job seekers are facing more tests/assessments during the interviewing process. The Wall Street Journal article and video explains that the drive behind these extra steps in the vetting process comes from the need for employers to land the best match for an opening.
Aberdeen Group, a Boston area research firm, concluded that 56% of companies are using testing as part of their interview process. This is a rise from 48% in 2010. I can attest to seeing a rise of testing at the entry-level hiring process on campus. Companies like Epic Systems, Captial One, General Mills, P&G and others require some sort of assessment. Employers are using these exams (for the most part) as one additional measuring stick to compare candidates.
The tests vary, measuring personality traits to cognitive abilities. The application of results are also varied. I know of one employer that will not interview a candidate unless he/she scores at or above a certain level on their cognitive exam, while others use it as one additional data point in their overall evaluation of a candidate. In the best case scenario, a pre-employment assessment can help eliminate some of the inherent interviewer biases when meeting with candidates.
Some job seekers think they can “fool” an assessment, that they can answer questions in a way that makes them appear better in certain areas. While that may have been true in past exams, researchers are getting better at including scales within the assessment questions and locating patterns that indicate false answers. If there is a sense that a test taker has not answered truthfully, it can hurt an applicant’s prospects more than a ‘bad’ score.
This is just to say that testing is not going away as part of the interview process and I predict it will only increase as assessment developers create more specific assessments and build a track record of hard data as to the quality of the hires made by using these exams. Anyone who has made a poor hire can attest to the havoc it can cause on office morale, team effectiveness, and the overall bottom line of an organization – having applicants take an assessment that costs less than $50 is an option that is too tempting to pass up for hiring managers.