Jun 13, 2019

How to Effectively Use Assessments in Your Recruitment Efforts

Have you tried to use assessments in your recruitment efforts? Have you been frustrated because they do not seem to lead to the best candidates?

Here are some tips on how to effectively use assessments for hiring:

  1. Do your research. Make sure that you are selecting assessments that are right for your organization and your hiring process. Is the assessment you have chosen scientifically valid? You should only use one, or two, at the most.
  2. Employ consistency. Use the same type of assessment for each candidate and every role within your business.
  3. Interpret Correctly. In Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), use someone in your company who is certified in the assessment. If you do not have such an employee on staff, outsource the process to a consultant who has been approved in the instrument of your choice.
  4. Don’t replace judicious hiring. The assessments are not meant to replace any one piece of the hiring process. The interviews and reference checks are still vital. Assessments are merely another data point and add to the hiring practice. Use assessments in conjunction with your other methods.

Let’s take these points one at a time:


Whitney Martin, the president of ProActive Consulting, an assessment strategy consulting firm in Louisville, KY., told the Society of Human Resource Management that she’s inundated with calls asking which pre-hire assessment is the best.

The data support the growing appeal of assessments. According to the Talent Board’s 2016 North American Candidate Experience research report, 82 percent of companies are using some form of a pre-employment assessment test.

Martin responds to the question of which test is the best with, “Why are you thinking about using an assessment? What are you trying to accomplish?”

There are different assessment instruments designed to measure constructs that can directly impact these features and many other organization goals:

  • Staff retention
  • Sales volume
  • Employee engagement
  • Productivity

In your research, be clear what goals need to be affected and choose your assessment accordingly. Martin also noted that extensive research had been conducted on the predictive validity – overall ability to predict job performance – of different hiring assessments, and some are better predictors than others.


It is only common sense to use your assessments the same way with all candidates. If you were being interviewed for a job, you wouldn’t want to be judged by criteria different from your competitors, would you? You would want to work on a level playing field. It is the right and legal thing to do.

Employers must ensure that any selection tests are reliable and valid, yielding consistent results that predict success on the job; if not, discrimination claims are likely to ensue, notes SHRM.

Interpret Correctly

Small to Medium Sized Enterprises should use someone in the company who is certified in the assessment or outsource to a certified consultant.

Research has shown that recruiting and hiring are among the biggest challenges faced by SMEs. Many small businesses do not have the resources to employ a Human Resources department.

If you run an SME that does not have an employee on staff who is certified in the assessment you want to use, it pays to outsource to a qualified HR professional. He can identify what should be included in the job description and recruiting materials and analyze what behaviors should be assessed in an instrument. Hiring a certified consultant will save you, the CEO, and your leadership team from wasting time interviewing candidates who are not qualified.

Assessments as Supplements

Just because your firm is making use of pre-employment testing, or an assessment designed to predict productivity on the job, does not mean that you overlook other forms of the hiring process. The job interviews will still be critical, and it will be vital to see if your candidate has good chemistry with the team he will lead. You want to check all references carefully. Ask questions to determine if this candidate will fit into your culture. All of these are essential. The assessment is just another tool to prevent bias in the hiring process.

Why do Pre-Hire Assessments Often Fail?

There are many reasons why pre-hire assessments fall short of expectations. Sometimes, the hiring manager relies more on the “job fit” score and does not read the evaluation carefully, according to Ira Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions.

Wolfe recommends: “When reading the results of the pre-employment tests, R-E-A-D the report or at least the executive summary. Managers and recruiters must look beyond the score. Seek out outlying traits, styles, values, and skills that might eventually raise their ugly head. Not only is this a good hiring practice, but it opens up opportunities for the candidate to recognize potential performance hiccups in advance and develop the skills and ability to mask or overcome them.”

If you find that some employees who have been hired with the use of assessments then do not succeed at their jobs, consider the fact that “pass or fail” are relative terms. The fact that a candidate can answers questions in a test does not indicate if she will get along well with others, will be a team player, or will stay at the job for years. Again, consider the assessment as just another data point. Be careful not to base your hiring decision solely on it.


Recruiting and hiring can become easier at your firm if you take advantage of the pre-hire assessments available. Just be sure that you have done your homework and have selected the right test for your company. Don’t overlook the most essential qualities that you seek in a leader. If your firm is stretched to the max, hire a qualified consultant to help you with your recruiting needs. Let him help you identify the best candidate through assessments and traditional hiring methods. That way, you can concentrate on your responsibilities and invest your time in growing your business.


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