Talent Acquisition

How to choose the right pre-employment assessment tool

June 14, 2019

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How to choose the right pre-employment assessment tool

7 min read

Recruitment today is not for the faint-hearted. Top candidates are scarce and full of expectations, the competition is fierce and time is of the essence now more than ever before.

And let’s not forget the explosion of recruitment tech to be reckoned with.

But there’s a positive side to this too.

Recruitment tech can make your recruitment process a lot more efficient, fair, and data-driven. For candidates, the right use of technology can even make applying for a job a fun experience.    

A good example of this are pre-employment assessment tools.

With the advancement of technology used in recruitment, pre-employment assessments are increasingly becoming a crucial tool in a recruiter’s toolbox and a standard in candidate selection.

Choosing a pre-employment assessment tool for your company, however, is not something that should be taken lightly. There are various elements to consider before picking the tool that’s right for you.

Let’s first have a look at the benefits that using a pre-employment assessment tool brings.

Data-driven hiring

In short, data-driven hiring is about using data to optimize the entire hiring process. It helps you to eliminate gut-feeling decision-making, improves quality of hire, decreases time to hire and cost per hire, and reduces bias. 70% of hiring managers believe that to improve long-term business impact, recruiting programs need to be more data-driven.

A pre-employment assessment tool enables you to datafy the preselection part of your recruitment process. As such, it allows you to base your decisions on someone’s skills, personality, culture fit, and other variables that are predictive for job success.

After the candidate finishes the assessment, the hiring team can see the results in a comprehensive overview, compared to the benchmarks they have set.

Less bias

Whether we like it or not, we’re all biased to some extent. It’s one of the things that make us human. But when it comes to hiring top candidates, you want to eliminate bias as much as possible.

After all, you wouldn’t want to overlook an excellent candidate just because you ‘didn’t feel it’, right?

A pre-employment assessment tool ensures that every candidate gets presented with exactly the same situations, questions, and tests. It gathers data based on their actions and answers and then analyzes it – in exactly the same way for each candidate.   

Maximized efficiency

Efficiency usually is about cutting down the time spent on tedious, manual tasks in recruitment (think interview scheduling, answering practical questions, etc.) and decreasing the overall time to hire.

As a rule of thumb, 80% of all candidates will never be a fit for your organization. So ideally, you want to weed out this bottom 80% and spend more time focusing on candidate engagement and building relationships with the 20% that could become a top performer.

A pre-employment assessment tool can help you boost efficiency on all these fronts.

Improved candidate experience

Your recruitment process says something about what candidates can expect from your organization once they work there. If your assessments looks slick and feels fresh, if you use video and images to tell your story, this will resonate with your applicants.  

It gives your candidates a taste of what working at your company is really like.

Many pre-employment assessment tools also enable you to make your application process a two-way street and show your applicants that you value them. Once your candidates complete the assessment, the platform allows you to share scores and feedback with them, as well as ask them for their opinion on your selection process.

7 Steps to choosing the right pre-employment assessment tool

Now we’ve got a clear idea about the why, let’s zoom in on the how. What elements are important to take into account before picking a pre-employment assessment tool? Here are the most important 7 steps to choosing the right pre-employment assessment tool for your company.

1. Define your objectives

In other words: you need to have a plan. What is it that you want to improve? Time to hire? Employee turnover? Or candidate satisfaction perhaps? Analyze where the biggest challenges lie and determine how a pre-employment assessment tool can help you tackle them.

There are heaps of different pre-employment tools, many of them with their own specialty, so defining your objectives will narrow down your focus and help you make a choice.

2. Determine must-have and nice-to-have features

Depending on your plan (see step 1), you can decide what features are an absolute must-have for you and which ones are simply nice to have.

Let’s say your focus is on candidate experience, for example. In that case, you’ll want a tool that allows easy integration of custom videos to give your applicants a virtual tour of the office and to show your company culture. Are you hiring remote employees? Then a platform with a strong video interviewing feature might be the right choice for you.

3. Do your research

An obvious but necessary step. When researching vendors, it’s advisable to read case studies and customer reviews, ask for a demo, and compare and contrast the pre-employment assessment tools. This will give you  an idea of what exactly each of them does and how they can help you in achieving your goals. If possible, reach out to one of your peers who already use the tool in another company and ask them about their experience.

Once you’ve properly done the preliminary research, narrow down your choice.

4. Check the validity of the assessments    

This is about the data source that’s being used by the tool. Not every data source is scientifically validated and if this isn’t the case, it won’t help you improve your results and you risk more bias creeping into your pre-selection process.

Therefore, it’s crucial to ask your potential tool provider how the assessments that they use are being validated. Is there a scientifically validated method behind them and if so, what is it?

Did you know that when companies select the top candidates based on a scientific assessment, they report 59% less turnover and 21% higher profitability?

5. Consider the flexibility of the tool

How easy is it to make changes to the online assessment? Are you able to add or cut the individual components yourself? Does it enable you to customize the assessment experience with your company colors, logo, and other branding elements?

Thanks to the data the software gathers, you’ll gain new insights on where you can improve your process. As such, it’s important that you’ve got the possibility to easily modify the assessment.

Other factors to consider here are the number of applicants the tool is able to handle and whether you can use different assessments and benchmarks for different vacancies.

6. Look for integration with your existing technology

The use of technology should make your life easier, not more complicated. So before choosing a new piece of tech, it’s wise to check the integration situation with your existing systems.

If, for instance, you’re using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) – as 98% of Fortune 500 companies do – you need to look if and how your potential pre-employment assessment tool integrates with that ATS.

Is this something you can easily manage yourself? Or does your provider need to take care of it, and if the latter is the case, how long does this integration usually take?

7. Keep the ROI in mind

Coming back to step number 1 and hence closing the loop; consider the cost of the tool in relation to the return on investment before making a decision.

Purchasing a pre-employment assessment tool costs a considerable amount of money (and if it doesn’t, you should probably steer clear of it). Is the money you expect to save on less turnover or decreased time to hire going to be worth the investment?

By improving efficiency and decreasing time to hire, a pre-employment assessment tool should save you much more than it will cost you, but it’s important to check if the financials add up nevertheless.

Wrapping up

In today’s recruitment environment you need all the help you can get. Talent is more demanding than ever and the competition is equipped with top-notch recruitment tech to optimize their hiring process.

A pre-employment assessment tool can be a great way to significantly improve your candidate selection process and help you stay ahead of your competitors.

Choosing the right tool, however, is something that requires some careful thought and consideration. Starting with the 7 steps we discussed in this article will help you get on the right path.

About the guest poster

Neelie Verlinden is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Digital HR Tech and an author at Harver. She’s an experienced digital HR & HR Tech writer, speaker, and entrepreneur with an international background. She has written countless articles on all things HR technology.

Recruitee is one of Europe's leading talent acquisition platforms, with a mission to create the very best software to help recruiters optimize and automate their hiring.
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