Hire The Best & Ignore The Rest! How Using Tests & Assessments Can Make The Difference – Part I

By | June 4, 2023

In today’s hiring market with so many companies putting the hiring of new employees on hold until the economy improves, it may seem odd to speak about hiring. But the current situation has actually presented some unique problems and opportunities for Human Resource Departments. Let’s review a couple of prevalent ones and see how tests and assessments may be of benefit to you or your organization.

Problems & Opportunities

Problem: We are laying-off employees not hiring!

Opportunity: If you are not placing ads and conducting interviews, what are you doing with your time? A proactive organization would be using this time to develop more training for current employees as well as implementing other retention strategies. They would also be improving their hiring processes so that when the economy improves they will be ready for the onslaught of applications. And it will pick back up with a vengeance! The baby boomers are still retiring which will create an applicant pool void larger than we have ever seen. You could be developing Job Descriptions, reviewing and installing an Applicant Tracking Program, Benchmarking Job Positions so as to identify key success factors for screening out future applicants, etc.

Problem: We have some open positions but are inundated by applications!

Opportunity: Through no fault of their own, there are some great applicants available! But finding them can be like looking for the proverbial “needle in a haystack”.

Solution – Tests and Assessments

Often times when I first mention tests and assessments as one of the solutions to better hiring practices, I get some misguided hesitancy from HR on their willingness to consider using them. Either they have tried one or more in the past and had a bad experience, or they mistakenly see lawsuits abounding in their future. In truth, tests and assessments, used properly, strengthen your hiring practices and can help protect you from discrimination lawsuits. And you may not know it, but according to the EEOC – all employers use “tests” of some sort. For their definition of a test is anything used to screen out candidates for hire which includes: advertisements, applications, interviews, etc. (It should be noted here, that the EEOC is “not” against tests and assessments, only the misuse of them. For a free copy of EEOC “Fact Sheet on Employment Tests and Selection Procedures”, http://www.hiremax.com/pdf/T_and_P_Fact_Sheet_120307.pdf). Let’s look at some benefits to using them.

Why Use Tests and Assessments?

Objectivity (24/7) – The good thing about most tests and assessments available today is they ask the same questions the same way for all candidates. And they do not know how old you are, what color is your skin, etc. Especially if they are Internet based. So what is not to like about them when it comes to the EEOC!

Benchmarking (Job Fit) – One Wikapedia definition of a benchmark is: “a point of reference for a measurement”. Benchmarking a job is defining what are the “key” success factors for any given position such as skills, attitude, personality type, motivators, etc. and considering their implications as only one piece in your hiring process. A starting place for reviewing a candidate’s “fit” to the position. Tests and assessments allow you to accurately measure these areas in candidates instead of just taking their word for it on their resume or in the interview.

Screening (Time to Hire) – Some tests and assessments have benchmarks already built into them or yours can be added. This allows an organization to quickly screen out the low potential candidates so that time is not wasted on interviewing them or worse yet, hiring them!

Interviewing (Remove the Mask) – Most interviewers will tell that they are never fully comfortable interviewing candidates. There is always a nagging feeling after turning someone down that perhaps your “gut instinct” was wrong. Tests and assessments often provide an objective confirmation that you were right. And considering that much of the common interviewing techniques are only considered 14-18% effective, tests and assessments can provide much needed specific questions for better interviews and reference checks.

Talent Management (Improved Production) – Most new hires do not fit the job perfectly and tests and assessments can provide a wealth of information for effectively “on boarding” them. Tests and assessments can also help management in communicating to the needs of the employee as well team placement where each participant’s strengths beneficial to the teams needs. It is sure to improve production when an employee is “energized” by their “job fit” rather than de-energized.

Leadership Development (Training & Retention) – A lot of good employees have been lost by advancing them to a leadership role and not giving them the new skills they will need to succeed, such as people and organizational skills. Tests and assessments provide a career path of training and development that is tailored to the individual and their specific needs.

Turnover Costs (Save $$$) – Bottom line – turnover is very expensive! Some surveys show turnover costs to be 500-700 times a positions hourly wage which can easily amount to a $7000 to $10,000 expense even for entry level positions. When we look at Executive level positions, turnover is commonly thought to cost approximately one year’s annual salary. A little cost in testing up front and doing due diligence in fitting the individual to the job can go a long way in saving a lot of money for any organization.