back to blog

Pre-Employment Assessment: 5 New Questions to Ask Yourself

Adoption of pre-employment assessment tests grew by 21 percent between 2001 and 2013, according to the Aberdeen Group. Businesses that use a pre-hire assessment process are nearly 40 percent more likely than all others to be satisfied with their new hires. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most recent developments in pre-hire screening with the questions you should ask about your own organization’s efforts.

  1.  Am I using the best combination of assessments? The Aberdeen Group looked at the most popular types of pre-employment assessment tools best-in-class employers use for identifying high-potential job candidates. The tools ranked in order starting with the most popular are: critical thinking/cognitive ability assessments, customer or client feedback, multi-rater/360-degree assessments, hiring manager or supervisor feedback, skill-based assessments, scenario-based assessments, and behavioral/personality type assessments. At Google, hiring managers have found the best level of success combining behavioral and situational structured interviews with assessments of cognitive ability, conscientiousness and leadership (read more about their approach in this recent Wired Magazine article).
  2. Am I taking into account the management factor? Gallup has found that managers account for at least 70 percent of the variance in employee engagement scores. So, Gallop concludes, while developing a great pre-hire assessment is a good idea, it gets a company only so far. “These tests can be effective at helping organizations hire employees with great potential,” the company reports, “but they do nothing to engage or develop those employees—that’s the manager’s job…If companies don’t have the right managers in place, then their newly hired, highly talented employees are unlikely to live up to their full potential and, our experience suggests, may be even more likely to leave than less talented employees who have fewer options.”
  3. Am I assessing my assessments? Going back to Aberdeen Group research, 14 percent of organizations indicate they have data to prove the positive business impact of their pre-hire assessment strategy. Those who go the extra mile by measuring their efforts with key performance indicators (KPIs) have been able to prove pre-hire screening contributes to business success, employee success and performance, and even the quality of candidate sources, including professional recruiters and staffing agencies.
  4. Am I incorporating background checks in the appropriate way? Pre-hire screening is more than just personality or cognitive ability testing. It’s also important to perform applicable background screening, which can include criminal background checks and/or credit checks. However, the landscape in this area is ever-shifting when it comes to the rights of both employers and employees. For more, take a look at our latest industry guide on the subject: “The ‘Ban the Box’ Effect: Navigating the Changing Terrain of Criminal Background Checks.”
  5. Is the process taking too long? The Wall Street Journal recently reported that companies using pre-employment assessment tests choose to do so, even if it takes a bit longer. Employers in February took an average of nearly 27 days to hire, which is a record-breaking long amount of time. Even during a recent peak in hiring, jobs were vacant an average of 23 days. Taking your time may be a great idea, if it cuts down on employee turnover. However, in some industries and for some positions, will a long hiring process turn away great candidates?


Do you use pre-employment assessments? What’s been your experience? Have you come across challenges in any of these five areas? Tell us! We’d love to hear from you.


Image Copyright:  ocusfocus / 123RF Stock Photo