These days it seems that everything is technology-based, so it’s no surprise that many of the recruiting functions we are used to doing manually are now available online. Pre-employment assessments and employment testing are among many recruiting functions that have been taken over by the tech world. A myriad of employment testing services now offers technology-based solutions that can help recruiters test skills with the click of a button.

The wide availability of these services begs the question: what should I expect? Is it worth investing in a pre-employment testing solution for my company? What are some of the benefits of using online assessment testing? Here are the top pros and cons of technology-based employment testing.

Pros

  • Accessibility: One of the main benefits of technology-based employment testing is its accessibility. Thanks to cloud-based and mobile-ready assessment testing tools, we can have access to tests, results, and analyses anywhere, anytime. Today’s pre-employment tests can be distributed to candidates with the click of a mouse and the results can be viewed as soon as the candidate finishes the test. The benefit is having the flexibility to administer and review tests wherever and whenever needed, without having to be tied to physical paper tests or even a desktop computer.
  • Variety: If variety is the spice of life, then technology-based employment testing has really spiced up the recruiting world. The types and number of pre-employment tests out there, as well as the vendors and tools available, have exponentially increased. You can find an assessment test for virtually anything, and many testing services to provide it. This kind of variety makes testing candidates easier, especially if you need to test for skills that are very specific or highly technical. The best testing services let you pick and choose to create customized tests that suit your needs.
  • Efficiency: Gone are the days of sifting through page after page of pre-employment assessment test catalogs looking for the right tests, handing out paper copies of the tests to job applicants, having the completed tests faxed back to the office, hand-grading each test, and coming up with the best ways to compare them. Thanks to the efficiency of technology-based testing, you can do all of this in much less time and with much less effort. And since saving time means saving money, an employment testing service can prove to be well worth the investment.

Cons

  • Cost: Although you can save a lot of time and money using technology-based employment assessments, they still incur a cost that cannot be ignored. Depending on your company’s budget, specifically its recruiting budget, paying for an employment testing service may not be in the cards for you. Shop around and try to find providers that offer more competitive rates, yet don’t skimp too much—if you choose a service that doesn’t include all the tests you need or is not user-friendly enough it could end up costing you more in the long run. Flexible use plans, offered by some assessment providers, may offer you the best fit.
  • Real need: Before committing to an employment testing service, take a good hard look at your company’s needs. Don’t fall prey to testing just for testing’s sake. Pre-employment testing can be a valuable tool in your recruiting arsenal but it’s not an absolute necessity if you don’t have the time or money to really put it to good use. Before deciding whether to use assessment testing for your company, think of how you would use it, what you would test for, and how the tests results will help you achieve your goals.
  • Effectiveness: Although they can be quite useful, pre-employment tests can’t replace the human aspect of recruiting. The effectiveness of a good recruiting strategy depends on a marriage of both technology and human intuition and experience. This is where some recruiting managers fail, by placing too much emphasis on the technology and forgetting about the human side. Even the best assessment testing service can fall short if it’s not mirrored by a strong and effective recruiting staff.
Adina Miron

5 Comments

  • Avatar K.T. Connor, PhD says:

    Excellent points, Eric. I have found that the more reflective hiring managers are about their assessment needs, the more positive the effect is. You capture several of the areas which invite this reflection.

  • Avatar Bob Gately says:

    Hello Eric,

    80% of employees self-report that they are not engaged.
    80% of managers are ill suited to effectively manage people.
    The two 80 percents are closely related.

    Employers keep hiring the wrong people to be their managers and then they wonder why they have so few successful, engaged employees. Successful employees have all three of the following success predictors while unsuccessful employees lack one or two and usually it is Job Talent that they lack.
    1. Competence
    2. Cultural Fit
    3. Job Talent 



    Employers do a… 

    A. GREAT job of hiring competent employees, about 95%
    B. good job of hiring competent employees who fit the culture, about 70%
    C. POOR job of hiring competent employees who fit the culture and who have a talent for the job, about 20%

    Identifying the talent required for each job seems to be missing from talent and management discussions. If we ignore any of the three criteria, our workforce will be less successful with higher turnover than if we do not ignore any of the three criteria.
    1. Competence
    2. Cultural Fit
    3. Job Talent

    There are many factors to consider when hiring and managing talent but first we need to define talent unless “hiring talent” means “hiring employees.” Everyone wants to hire for and manage talent but if we can’t answer the five questions below with specificity, we can’t hire or manage talent effectively.
    1. How do we define talent?
    2. How do we measure talent?
    3. How do we know a candidate’s talent?
    4. How do we know what talent is required for each job?
    5. How do we match a candidate’s talent to the talent demanded by the job?

    Most managers cannot answer the five questions with specificity but the answers provide the framework for hiring successful employees and creating an engaged workforce.

    Talent is not found in resumes or interviews or background checks or college transcripts.

    Talent must be hired since it cannot be acquired or imparted after the hire.

  • Avatar Karla James says:

    I find pre-employment testing to be the most useful tool for narrowing down large applicant pools. It helps a lot of HR people to make an objective observation of the difference between levels of knowledge and skills among potential employees. It should be used as a predictor of success on the job, and it should reveal the best candidates for your company. But, as you already highlighted, it is very important to use tests that serve the needs of your company.

  • Avatar Marc says:

    I really appreciate technology-based employment testing because it offers me the chance to provide a fair method of comparing job candidates. I don’t understand the candidates who get uncomfortable when I ask them to take a test. They should appreciate the fact that the hiring decision will be made fairly.

  • Eric Friedman Eric Friedman says:

    Thanks Bob, for a well-laid-out look at this issue.

    You’re right, it’s very important to identify the specific skills and talents you’re looking for. Understanding what makes your current star employees successful (if you’re fortunate to have any) can help in a real-world way, and you can benchmark other candidates to these employees’ talents.

    If your organization has taken the step of using quality assessments, tailoring an assessment to each specific job, and having some current staff take the test for a reference score is one way to support talent-based hiring with data.

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