Pre-employment assessments have been used for years, but today they are more efficient, accurate and scientific thanks to technology. Employers that use talent assessments make better hiring decisions, selecting the people who are the most qualified for the job and are good organizational culture fits. There are plenty of employees using hiring assessments too. According to the Talent Board's research reported in the 2018 North American Candidate Experience Report, more than 71 percent of businesses are using hiring assessments to identify top job candidates.
KEEPING IT LEGAL
People continue to question the legality of giving people assessment tests, but that question has been answered: They are legal. A better question is whether the assessment test is properly designed and administered in a way that adheres to the law. This applies to all employment assessment tools – job simulators, aptitude tests, personality tests, skills tests, ability tests, culture alignment tests, behavioral assessments and any other test an employer administers. For example, assessments can identify the people who, through targeted development, can fill the leadership pipeline for succession planning purposes.
The EEOC's Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures of 1978 considers any employment requirement to be a test.
Tests include cognitive ability assessments to measure intelligence; aptitude tests to measure the ability to learn a new job requirement or skill; personality assessments to measure a candidate's personal characteristics like motivation and interpersonal relations; skills assessments; and others that are job related like a physical test. Some of the requirements to keep an assessment legal include the following:
- Are assessment questions in any form demonstrably job related, meaning the information provided about the candidate is useful for determining knowledge, skills, aptitudes, organizational culture fit and competence in relationship to the position's requirements?
- Is there bias in the assessment process, in that it screens out people in a protected status?
- Does the applicant screening system evaluate applicants in an identical manner?
- Are assessment results reliable (consistent results), valid (related to job performance) and deliver results that successfully predict success in the job?
- Do all forms of talent assessments adhere to the law, i.e. web-based questionnaires, job simulations, personal interview questions, computerized assessments, etc?
Using well-designed, consistently utilized, non-discriminatory and legal hiring assessments is crucial to identifying and retaining top talent. Simply stated: All employment assessments must be fair and produce meaningful results. Meaningful means the assessment results deliver reliable information about the likelihood a person will be a good performer and a good organizational fit. It is not easy to design unbiased assessment tools because of the many requirements, including adhering to the legalities and meeting organizational needs.
JUST THE FACTS!
Designing and administering employment related assessments may seem like wading through treacherous legal waters. Using assessments designed by a reliable vendor is always recommended over designing assessments in-house. It is too easy to misstep. Technology-based assessments have become critical hiring tools in a global labor market. They drive good decision-making in the talent area and bring benefits like the following five:1. Accurate prediction of future job performance
The bottom line purpose for hiring someone is to ensure continued organizational success. Reviewing a job candidate's past job experience is limiting by nature. It tells you what the person has successfully achieved in the past but does not predict future performance with any reliability. Many seemingly qualified new hires fail in their new jobs because they cannot function well in the new work environment.
Hiring assessments can generate the human capital analytics that identify a job candidate's skills and personal characteristics that are relevant to the new position's performance requirements, degree of flexibility, motivation, leadership potential and compatibility with the organization's work culture. Hiring the right person means hiring someone who will perform well now and in the future and someone who is likely to stay with the company because of a high engagement level.2. Identifies high potential employees
Some of the ideal talent never makes it past a screening process that relies only on in-person interviews and resume reviews. Resume contents tends to be torturously developed to keyword match the employer's job description. Resume design also varies from person-to-person, so there is lack of consistency in information.
The people reviewing the resumes rely on personal perspectives to sort through the information. This leads to actions like entry-level applicants being overlooked due to lack of experience. Science-based assessments overcome these limitations by identifying people who have the right behavioral and cognitive characteristics to succeed.3. Assesses the whole person
Job candidates bring a whole self to the hiring process. They have skills, personalities, perspectives, experiences, knowledge and emotional intelligence, to name a few elements. Hiring assessments identify all the relevant elements that make up a person, offering data and analytics that reveal otherwise undiscovered characteristics and the relationship of those characteristics to the job and the organizational culture. The holistic assessment approach reveals valuable information on hard and soft skills, and personality type.
4. Removes unconscious bias from the review process
Unconscious bias is difficult to remove from the hiring and talent management systems. In fact, it creeps into everything. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on unconsciously biased algorithms that were automatically screening out job applicants who were women. The algorithms, it turns out, were written mostly by white males. Valid (emphasis on "valid") hiring assessments are unbiased programs that identify people who will perform well in the organization.5. Delivers workforce and organizational benefits
Hiring assessments help organizations hire the right people for available positions, and that delivers numerous benefits. Gallup meta-analysis results found that companies selecting the top 20 percent of job candidates through valid assessments will realize:
- Reduction in absenteeism by 41 percent
- Lower turnover by 59 percent
- Fewer safety incidents by 70 percent
- Higher productivity by 17 percent
- Higher customer metrics by 10 percent
- Higher profitability by 21 percent