When it comes right down to it, the recruiting and hiring process is all about investment, isn’t it? With any investment, of course, comes either greater or lesser degrees of risk, and with the pace at which technology is revolutionizing business, there is, indeed, quite a bit of risk to be had.

The combination of the technological revolution and the onset of COVID-19 has changed the hiring game forever. There has never been a greater demand for highly skilled talent than there is right now, and the competition for that talent isn’t merely a war; it’s a race. The natural drawback to the need for speed and agility in hiring top talent is that mistakes can be made, mistakes that quite often can be expensive ones for any business. 

When a company spends resources (time, money, and effort) in its push to secure top talent, there are only three possible initial outcomes: a company eliminates a candidate, the candidate withdraws, or the company hires the candidate. One can then extend the last one to two more possibilities: an employee who departs (for one of many possible reasons), or an employee who meshes so well that he or she is set up for a successful and productive long-term interaction and career with the company.

Obviously, the last of those scenarios is the one for which recruiters, hiring managers, and all HR personnel hope. It represents the most efficient use of time and financial concerns over the longest period. It may also be the rarest. Hitting the center of the bulls’ eye in the hiring game is not easy. Three of the scenarios listed above result in the loss of considerable resources. The trick today is to mitigate as much of that risk as possible.

Assessing the Future, Not the Past

This is the point at which hiring assessments have begun to enter the picture. The past decade or more has witnessed a significant increase in the number of companies that are employing pre-hiring test assessments as part of their overall ‘interview’ package. In fact, roughly 82% of companies around the world utilize them as the central part of the recruiting and hiring experience. The recruiting staples of the past – the cover letter, resume, and in-person interview – are still there, but they’re changing and arguably bear less weight. We’ll discuss those reasons shortly.

Pre-hire assessment software attempts to add more rigor to the hiring process and to maximize a hiring manager’s chances of making the best decision possible. It adds an invaluable data point to the discussion of viable candidates that transcends the conventional CV and interview. Assessments effectively predict a candidate’s potential future fit with a company and how strong and productive that interpersonal relationship can become. 

Are they always right? Assessment software has been quite successful in the time that it’s been gaining traction. The number of companies that now employ different assessments is a testament to that. There is a lot of data showing that assessment test scores positively correlate to future job performance. That said, a high score doesn’t always guarantee a great employee, and a low score doesn’t guarantee a poor one.

Perhaps most importantly, assessments allow HR personnel to reduce the time between a candidate’s initial application and final hire. In the ongoing race for top talent, the most recent data shows that once a company or organization posts a position in a competitive industry, the best talent is often off the market within 10 to 15 days. To secure top talent, recruiters and hiring managers have to make the best decision possible in a reasonably short period.

With such a premium on recruiting, identifying, hiring, and retaining elite prospects, assessments are an invaluable tool that provide a company with the most predictive bang for its buck.

A Look at the Entire Person

Grades, past achievements, and past experiences are, obviously, all important in any consideration of a candidate. The bottom line is, however, that those numbers and recommendations are all about what the person accomplished in the past. The data is important, and a hiring manager would be negligent to disregard it. It is part of the whole picture, but only a part.

That said, they’re becoming a smaller part.

Valid and reliable Pre-hire assessments look at a candidate from a variety of angles. They go beyond the ‘hard’ skills noted on a CV and try to identify ‘softer’ skills, or competencies, that indicate how a potential future employee will interact with his or her corporate environment, culture, colleagues, and customers. As stated, a company is investing quite a bit in the hiring and onboarding process; it understandably wants to have some sense that its resources are being well spent.

Assessment software uses data-driven strategies and psychographics to test for any or all of the following:

  • Aptitude, cultural fit, general potential
  • Personality traits, motivational drivers
  • A candidate’s values, what matters most to them
  • How he or she might align with the profile of the ideal corporate citizen

The bottom line is that a potential employee can possess all the tech skills in the world, but if he lacks characteristics (competencies) such as empathy, patience, resilience, or versatility (to name only a few), the chances that those skills will translate into longer-term, sustainable success are significantly diminished. 

Assessments attempt to reduce that degree of the ‘unknown’.

The Candidate Experience

There’s always a certain percentage of candidates who balk at the idea of pre-hire testing. Recent data shows that there can be as high as a 50% dropout rate during the assessment. Some leave because they simply consider the testing process to be cumbersome or an unnecessary hurdle; others may have multiple job opportunities and reject requirements that they deem burdensome. 

Overall, however, the one factor that seems to make the most difference is the length of the testing. Data from half a million assessment tests suggests that candidate drop-off is typically fairly low until tests begin to exceed 40 minutes. Of course, if a candidate is unwilling to take a reasonably-timed test, he or she was probably not that serious about wanting the job.

Taking a step back and looking at the modern hiring process from a distance, it’s easy to see that today’s hiring process is not your grandfather’s hiring process. It’s not even your father’s. There’s quite a bit on the line – especially when it comes to middle management and executive positions. 

Resumes – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Just as the entire hiring process has evolved and continues to do so, so has the necessity for the resume. The CV is still necessary in the modern process, but more and more it’s not telling companies who to hire – it’s telling them who not to hire.

Employees who quit or derail after having come on board represent a significant business loss for an organization. Most importantly, it results in loss of institutional knowledge, but it also leads to dips in business productivity and the necessity to dedicate time, money, and effort once again to recruit, hire, and train a new employee.

Pre-hire assessments look ‘beyond the numbers’ and embrace talent wherever it surges. They allow companies access to a wider-than-ever talent pool: The search for talent is no longer restricted to local proximities (it’s global) or to socio-economic status.

The Modern Interview: Performance Art

The in-person interview remains a staple of the hiring process, but it is, without a doubt, an endangered species. The advent of the internet and smart technology have effectively robbed it of its authenticity. 

Applicants now routinely ‘prepare’ for their interviews and don’t always present as their genuine selves. They have access to thousands of simulated interviews online that provide them with the most typical questions and best answers, and in many cases they’re ‘coached’, either by a professional or even an employee of the company  – it may even be an employee who recommended them for a position, which brings a whole host of other considerations into the discussion.

One can make an argument that when utilized as a stand-alone element of the hiring process, traditional interviews are actually doing more harm than good. Research in this regard at least somewhat bears this out:

  • Multiple sources show that during an 18-month period, over 50% of new hires will fail. This includes hourly positions and CEO’s. This is an unacceptable risk for a business.
  • Research has also shown that in many cases, hiring managers can get their candidate evaluations right as little as 20% of the time.
  • According to research performed by Google, there is zero relationship between an interview, the scoring of the interview, and how the candidate ultimately performs on the job.

While interviews may still have a significant impact on the quality of hire, the interview process needs to incorporate more of the data-driven approach provided by pre-hire assessments. 

Pencils Down

Pre-hire assessments are here to stay, and with good reason. In a world that continues to evolve and become more complex, HR personnel must learn to evolve along with it. They require the appropriate tools that allow them access to valuable information about how a candidate may perform in the future, beyond the traditional information on a resume and from the dynamics of an interview.

Hiring Indicators’ Reveal is precisely the software for which companies are searching. They make assessing human potential simple, fast, and illuminating. Reveal takes over 50 years of research and development into the DNA of what a successful candidate looks like for specific job titles – and makes connections to well-defined elements of human success to perform these jobs. 

Using C-fit™ technology, Reveal delivers a powerful way to gain deeper insights about candidates during the employee life-cycle. Whether you are assessing new hires or employees, C-fit™ uncovers many of the complexities of an individual by measuring personality traits, stylistic tendencies, cognitive style/ability, problem solving and decision making. Contact Hiring Indicators today – the first step to better efficiency, safer investments, and a more productive staff is only a click away.


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Silverstein, Michelle. “7 Myths About Pre-Employment Testing”. Criteria Blog. https://blog.criteriacorp.com/7-myths-about-pre-employment-testing/  September 5, 2018. August 6, 2021.

Sullivan, Dr. John. “Hiring Interviews Have Lost Their Accuracy – A Warning”. ERE Recruiting Intelligence.  https://www.ere.net/hiring-interviews-have-lost-their-accuracy-a-warning/  August 12, 2019. August 6, 2021.

Tse, Terense and Mark Esposito, Olaf Groth. “Resumes are Messing Up Hiring”. Harvard Business Review.  https://hbr.org/2014/07/resumes-are-messing-up-hiring  July 14, 2016. August 6, 2021.

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