When listing the competencies essential to most positions, it is tempting to only think of specific technical skills such as project management, accounting, or data analytics. But human resources (HR) professionals have found a major deficit of fundamental behavioral characteristics like effective communication skills and attention to detail among candidates and employees alike. While technical skills remain a priority when hiring, ‘soft skills’ have moved to the top of the “must-have” list.

In a 2019 LinkedIn report, 92% of talent acquisition professionals identified soft skills as equally or more important than technical skills when making hiring decisions. Furthermore, 89% of respondents reported that when a new-hire does not work out, it is most frequently due to a lack of soft skills. Similarly, a 2020 LinkedIn report revealed that soft skills are now one of the top differentiators among employees.

The hiring process can be improved by including an evaluation of candidates that goes beyond assessing technical skills and knowledge. If you are considering using pre-employment behavioral assessments in the hiring process, review these best practices.

Develop a Comprehensive Assessment

Since positions are not one-dimensional, employers must conduct a thorough job analysis to identify all of the technical skills, knowledge, and behavioral characteristics that are required for each position. Doing so ensures the pre-employment behavioral assessments and skills tests used will measure the key indicators of success on-the-job.

  1. Identify Success Metrics. Conduct a job analysis to identify behavior-based traits, skills, aptitude, and knowledge that are essential to a new employee in the role. A job analysis is typically performed by HR professionals and consists of employee observations, interviews, and questionnaires.
  2. Customize the Assessment for the Role. By using job analysis results to evaluate content covered in the assessment, HR professionals should select and configure tests that directly align with the core competencies of a position. eSkill’s dedicated U.S.-based Client Success Managers will assist you in customizing a valid and reliable job-relevant assessment for each job.

Validate the Assessment

When using a behavioral style assessment, it is important to ensure the assessment is a valid measure. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers and staffing agencies must follow the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP). The UGESP states that “to demonstrate the content validity of a selection procedure, a user should show that the behavior(s) demonstrated in the selection procedure are a representative sample of the behavior(s) of the job in question.”

The most common method of demonstrating content validity of an employment assessment is conducting a job analysis that provides insights on the measures included in the assessment and on the sample of employees currently working in the role. HR professionals then analyze the results to determine if the test scores correlate with on-the-job performance. Simply put, if high-performing employees do well on the assessment and the opposite is true for low-performing employees, it is reasonable to assume that the assessment is valid.

Following these steps to develop an assessment that is a valid indicator of job performance is important to ensure it complies with EEOC guidelines. eSkill’s expert staff and consultants can provide training and support or complete the entire assessment development and validation process for you. If an organization genuinely tries to adhere to the EEOC recommendations and selects employment assessments that align with the job requirements, then it will have a strong defense against any legal challenges.

eSkill is an industry leader in developing and administering legally defensible employment assessments. With thousands of clients who have successfully administered employment assessments and nearly 20 years free of litigation, eSkill is a partner you can trust.

Establish a Protocol for Candidate Communication

It is a best practice to maintain a level of transparency when using behavioral assessments with candidates. Organizations should develop a standard process for informing candidates that they will take a behavioral assessment as part of the hiring process. Organizations should explain to candidates when and how they administer the behavioral assessment and how they use the results. It is common for candidates to express concerns when they do not receive their behavioral assessment results or if it takes too long to receive the results. So, it is important to develop a policy about how results are shared and how long your organization keeps the results and shares them with candidates.

Organizations should share the results of behavior assessment tests to maintain a level of transparency and keep a steady flow of communication going with candidates. eSkill’s user-friendly platform enables HR professionals to send the results of assessments to candidates automatically. With the broadest assessment coverage in the employment testing industry and unlimited support and training, eSkill’s expert staff will help your organization select and validate job-relevant assessments. 

Interested in Pre Employment Behavioral Assessments?

eSkill has over 1,000 standardized assessments for positions across industries. On eSkill’s user-friendly platform, designing effective behavior assessment tests is simplified. Learn more about the benefits of using eSkill’s pre-employment behavioral assessments and skills tests to find qualified candidates quickly.

Request a demo today.

Adina Miron

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