Improving The Quality Of Candidates With Pre-Hiring Assessment

Anil is a dynamic front-end professional and has been a key contributor to Pyramid Consultings growth in Asia. His success is rooted in his knack for strategy, planning, and leadership attributes cultivated during his 24 years of service in the Indian Navy. An alumnus of the National Defense Academy in Kharakvasla.

Filling vacant positions with suitable candidates is a tedious task in an organization. Unfortunately, it has become even more challenging amidst disruptions like talent shortages, skill gaps, and changing employee preferences. Hiring the right employee has become as difficult as finding a needle in a hay stack and requires many interview sessions and pre-hiring assessments.

Pre-hiring assessment is a process that helps recruitment, talent acquisition, and human resource teams evaluate candidates on mental attributes like cognitive and critical thinking abilities, consistency, and motivation. It also helps test hard skills, overall knowledge, and professional behaviors. Interestingly, over 82% of employers use some form of a pre-employment test today. A Talent Board report suggests that 52% of employers rely on pre-hiring assessment to test job-specific skills, while 37% use it to test cognitive skills and 34% to administer personality traits.

Why do you need pre-hiring assessments?
The candidate market is not the same and as credible as it was some years ago. For instance, candidates often falsify their resumes and exaggerate information. Today, resumes do not provide the most credible reflection of the candidate’s work experience and knowledge. A survey by Career Builder claims that almost 75% of employers have caught lies in the applicant’s resume.

Pre-hiring assessment is a more quantifiable way of evaluating candidates. It helps recruiters weed out unqualified candidates to save time and resources and enhances the predictive accuracy of the hiring process. Moreover, it assists recruiters in making better decisions.

Here are some other reasons you need pre-hiring assessments.
The cost of a bad hire is huge - Bad hiring is a nemesis of productivity and work efficiency. As per the U.S. Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hire can be up to 30% of the employee’s first year earnings.

References are not always credible - Referrals are not the driving force in the hiring process today. Current employees often refer their friends for a job but fail to verify their qualifications and personality traits.

Soft skills are necessary - Today, organizations want to hire employees with both hard and soft skills. Soft skills help one fit in with the team and adapt to the company culture.

Digital skill requirement is high - Digital proficiency is necessary today. As per research, in 2016, the number of jobs requiring high and medium levels of digital skills was 26% and 48% respectively.

How pre-hiring assessment improves the hiring process?
Pre-hiring assessments make the hiring process more time and cost-efficient. For instance, 50% of the job applicants do not meet the basic qualifications. The assessment test effectively segregates unqualified candidates from the list and allows the hiring team to focus on qualified candidates. It also serves as a preventive measure and helps you identify bad hires before hand.

But most importantly, pre-hiring assessments aid increased retention and reduced turnover. As it evaluates a candidate based on aptitude, skills, and personality types, it can help one answer the following questions-
•Is the candidate a good fit?
•Is the candidate rightly qualified?
•Can the candidate adjust to the company culture?
•Will the candidate enjoy the quality of work?
•Will the candidate enjoy working within the team andcompany?

Pre-hiring assessments can provide clarity over these questions. Based on the assessment test, an experienced hiring manager can pre-determine if the candidate will remain associated with the organization for long or not.

Factors like a rise in individual spending, increased urbanization worldwide, and greater adoption of innovative technologies will fuel the expansion of the pre-employment assessment tools market in the future

Use Pre-Hiring Assessment Tools But With Caution!
Almost 80% of Fortune 500 companies use pre-employment testing to optimize recruitment strategies and improve talent search. Moreover, 89 of the Fortune 100 companies use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in their hiring process or at the workplace for team building exercises and workshops, leadership coaching, and executive talent management.

Factors like a rise in individual spending, increased urbanization worldwide, and greater adoption of innovative technologies will fuel the expansion of the pre-employment assessment tools market in the future. Today, the market is overwhelmed with pre-hiring assessment tools like HackerRank, Test Gorilla, The Hire Talent, ESkill, Harver, etc. However, remember that a tool is only a tool, and one size does not fit all!

One should choose the right tool that suits all the requirements to ensure the best return on investments. For instance, you should start by assessing what information you need and attaining a clear idea of the qualities you want in a candidate. Moreover, consider choosing tools that specifically test skills suited for the work. For instance, a Public Relations firm should invest in an assessment tool that tests soft skills like interpersonal and communication skills.

Caution is the key!
Though the pre-hiring assessment tools market is thriving, one should be cautious in their approach. For instance, tools are not 100% accurate and may not provide consistent results or predict the candidate's future job performance. Job performance can be influenced by external factors that the organization cannot govern.

Furthermore, tools can make the application process long and dissuade good candidates. Many times, good candidates lose interest in the test and may leave it midway. It eventually reflects adversely on their score, and one may miss a great employee.

Tools are beneficial to evaluate the candidate and improve the hiring process. However, they can't replicate the insights one may get during one-on-one interviews and personal communication. While tools are helpful, you must trust your gut more than the tools to make a hiring decision.