Pillar 2 Most Useful Tools

HR leaders across all industry sectors know how important it is to recruit top candidates. Their organization’s survival depends on it because companies need top-notch employees to compete effectively in today’s dynamic marketplace.

Many HR professionals understand that pre-employment assessments are the best way to improve hiring outcomes. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), published findings that 25% of organizations that use pre-employment assessment tests say they will expand their use of them during the next five years, and 10% of organizations that do not currently use them plan to start using them. Additionally, 78% of HR professionals say pre-employment testing has helped them improve hiring quality organization-wide.

In today’s competitive job market, the quest for top talent has led employers to adopt a myriad of tools and techniques to identify the most suitable candidates for their organizations. One such tool that has gained prominence is the pre-employment assessment test. These tests are designed to evaluate a candidate’s skills, knowledge, personality traits, and cognitive abilities. While pre-employment assessment tests offer certain advantages, it is essential to recognize and critically examine their potential disadvantages in hiring.

Limited Scope and One-Dimensional Evaluation: Experts claim a candidate’s suitability for a role cannot be fully determined based on a single pre-employment assessment because it would provide a narrow and one-dimensional view of candidates.

A comprehensive evaluation should consider a candidate’s entire background, including work history, education, and relevant accomplishments. Relying solely on assessment tests may ignore essential aspects of a candidate’s capabilities.

Pre-employment assessment tests often focus on specific skills or traits and neglect the broader context of a candidate’s qualifications and potential. By relying solely on pre-employment assessments, employers might overlook candidates who possess valuable skills or experiences that are not captured by the assessment, leading to missed opportunities for both the company and the candidate.

The eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM addresses this problem by allowing HR teams to customize assessments for each job role.

Potential for Bias and Discrimination: HR professionals are concerned because they know that pre-employment assessment tests can introduce bias into hiring and lead to discrimination.

Organizations strive to avoid bias and discrimination in hiring. However, it can taint even well-planned hiring processes. According to a Bright Talk survey, unconscious bias exists in recruitment decisions, according to 79% of HR professionals. Pre-employment assessment tests help organizations minimize unconscious bias by emphasizing candidates’ skills and abilities and reducing the focus on traditional tools such as resumes, applications, and interviews.

The design and content of pre-employment assessments may inadvertently favor certain demographic groups while disadvantaging others. If tests are not thoroughly validated and fine-tuned to be fair across diverse candidate populations, it can result in a lack of diversity within the organization.

The critics are correct. Using pre-employment assessments that have not been validated is worse than using none. This is why all tests in the eSkill Assessment Library are reviewed, validated, and regularly updated by subject matter experts.

Pre-employment assessments also help businesses minimize unconscious bias because hiring teams focus on candidates’ skills and abilities while making hiring decisions instead of relying on gut feelings. According to SHRM, 23% of HR professionals say employment testing has helped them improve hiring diversity.

High Costs and Resource Allocation: Many business leaders cite the time and effort required to ensure pre-employment assessments are valid, reliable, and produce meaningful results. They conclude these resources should be directed toward other critical aspects of the hiring process, such as conducting interviews and reference checks.

While the prospect of implementing pre-employment assessment tests may seem daunting for many organizations, particularly smaller ones, it is actually quite easy. Most clients who implement the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM have it running within an hour or two and begin using it the same day.

Instead of manually screening resumes, they can automatically sort candidates by score, review pre-employment assessment results, and instantly eliminate unqualified candidates. As for traditional hiring methods, most HR professionals know they cannot trust the information on applicants’ resumes because over 85% of candidates lie on their resumes and during job interviews.

Candidate Anxiety and Discomfort: Pre-employment assessment tests can induce anxiety and discomfort in applicants, especially if they perceive the tests as important or they have limited experience with them. If candidates are nervous, it can negatively impact their performance and lead to test results that do not reflect their true abilities.

HR professionals know some candidates underperform on pre-employment assessments and do better in interviews. They also know they could pass over well-qualified candidates if they rely solely on test results. Those who use the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM can include simulation and video response questions in pre-employment assessment tests to get a comprehensive view of candidates’ capabilities.

Lack of Personalization and Contextual Understanding: Pre-employment assessment tests often cannot capture candidates’ unique experiences, motivations, and personal qualities. This absence of contextual understanding can lead to a mismatch between the candidate and the organization’s culture or specific job requirements.

If an organization uses off-the-shelf pre-employment assessments, the results may be too ambiguous and will not provide enough detail about candidates’ skills. Each organization has specific and unique needs, and one-size-fits-all pre-employment assessment tests may not be effective.

The eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM addresses this problem by allowing hiring teams to customize pre-prepared tests. They can add and delete questions as needed or build a pre-employment assessment from scratch by selecting questions from multiple tests and adding their own questions.

Attrition During the Hiring Process: Using a few pre-employment assessments is effective, but requiring too many can discourage applicants and increase time-to-hire. In fact, 71% of applicants drop out of an application process if it takes too long, is too complicated, or there are too many touchpoints. The customization options included with the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM let you build assessments by choosing questions from multiple assessments. So, you avoid this problem by consolidating many assessments into a single test.

Ineffectiveness in Predicting Long-Term Success:  Performance on a single pre-employment assessment does not necessarily correlate positively with sustained on-the-job performance, adaptability, or the ability to grow within the organization.

Pre-employment assessment tests show whether applicants have the skills and experience to do a job. However, they do not help hiring teams determine whether a candidate has a workstyle and behavior traits that will help them succeed in their company culture. 

The behavioral assessments included in the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM help HR teams evaluate candidates’ personality traits and behavior patterns so they can understand how they think and approach problems and get a feel for their communication style. This helps them predict how they will perform on the job. The following story illustrates why behavioral assessments are essential.

A Phoenix-based software company hired a lead engineer to manage a team of four Java developers. The company had a casual work environment. Employees wore shorts, jeans, t-shirts, and Birkenstocks—even senior managers and the CEO. Employees were allowed to work flexible schedules as long as they were in the office during core business hours, attended required meetings, and met their deadlines.

The new lead engineer had excellent technical skills, but he had a very direct management style and was an autocratic leader who wanted his orders followed without question. After he had been on the job for three months, his entire team met with the CEO and threatened to quit.

This is a perfect example of how behavioral assessments help predict future success. The lead engineer had the technical skills required for the job, but his management style clashed with the company’s laid-back culture.

Potential for Cheating and Gaming the System:  Since important information may be readily accessible, candidates may attempt to cheat or manipulate pre-employment assessment tests to present themselves as more qualified than they are.

It is difficult for applicants to cheat on a pre-employment assessment because they either know the material or do not. However, there will always be candidates who try to game the system. eSkill clients who are concerned about applicants cheating on pre-employment assessments can take advantage of online and live proctoring tools that are available with the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM.

Why Pre-Employment Assessments Are Trusted

Many organizations swear by pre-employment assessments because they help their HR teams operate more efficiently and improve hiring outcomes.  According to SHRM, 56% percent of employers use pre-employment assessments to evaluate job applicants’ skills, knowledge, and abilities, and 79% of HR professionals say skills test scores are just as important, if not more important, than traditional hiring tools like resumes and interviews.

While experts acknowledge there are disadvantages, most agree the following advantages outweigh the potential drawbacks.

  • Hire The Best Employees:  There is a lack of applicants with in-demand skills. Pre-employment assessments help HR professionals recruit top talent because they can review test results and easily verify which applicants have the required skills and experience.  In fact, research shows that using pre-employment assessment tests and behavioral assessments increases the likelihood of placing the right person in the proper position by around 80%.
  • Instantly Eliminate Unqualified Candidates:  It takes a recruiter around six or seven seconds to screen a resume. That may not sound like much, but it can add up quickly if you receive thousands of resumes. With pre-employment assessments, recruiters can save hours by instantly eliminating unqualified candidates.
  • Reduce Unconscious Bias: Pre-employment assessments help businesses minimize unconscious bias because they focus on candidates’ skills and abilities instead of relying on hiring team members’ gut feelings. According to SHRM, 23% of HR professionals said employment testing has helped them improve hiring diversity.
  • Eliminate the Guesswork in Hiring: Traditional recruiting tools like resumes and interviews are unreliable because over 85% of candidates lie about or exaggerate their experience on their resumes and during job interviews.
  • Maximize Productivity: According to the Harvard Business Review, leading companies are over 40% more productive than their nearest competitors and have operating margins that are 30% to 50% higher than their peers.
  • Build Effective Teams: A recent McKinsey study shows that if an organization implemented a cross-functional project that would take three years to complete, it would be done in less than two years if it replaced 20% of the average performers with top talent and less than a year if the team members were 400% more productive than average.
  • Minimize Hiring Mistakes: According to a Gallup study, voluntary turnover costs U.S. businesses $1 trillion yearly. The cost of replacing an employee can be as high as twice an employee’s annual salary, and turnover and replacement costs for a 100-person company where the average salary is $50,000 could be as much as $2.6 million per year.
  • Reduce Turnover: Managers want new employees to develop into productive team members who stay with the company. However, 68% of new hires leave within the first three months. Pre-employment assessments help HR teams hire employees with a high probability of staying with your organization.
  • Improve the Candidate Experience: Once you attract the interest of a promising candidate, you do not want to lose them if they become frustrated with your hiring process and decide to look elsewhere. Pre-employment assessments speed up hiring so candidates do not become discouraged.

Pre-employment assessments like the ones the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM provides help organizations simplify and streamline recruiting and improve the quality of hire. Many eSkill clients have reduced hiring costs by 70% and time-to-hire by 60%.

Get Started with Pre-Employment Assessment Tests

While pre-employment assessment tests offer a structured approach to evaluating candidates, they come with their fair share of disadvantages, which must be carefully considered. Pre-employment assessments help HR teams improve efficiency and hiring outcomes but are most effective when used with other hiring tools such as simulations, video response questions, and behavioral assessments.

Above all, in the ever-evolving recruitment landscape, organizations must remain vigilant in ensuring that their hiring processes prioritize fairness, accuracy, and the long-term potential of candidates.

Do you want to learn how the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM can help you overcome the problems experts cite with pre-employment assessment tests? Contact us to request a demo.

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