How to Choose a Hiring Assessment

Hiring assessments have become a critical part of the hiring process for many organizations–so much so that there’s no lack of options on the market. The right assessment can help you take some of the guesswork out of hiring, but the wrong one can be costly in more ways than one. So how do you go about choosing a hiring assessment?

Look For: Specificity

While it would be much easier to be able to prescribe just one hiring assessment that will guarantee a great hire every time, unfortunately it’s not that simple. Depending on your industry, the position you’re hiring for, and the traits you’re trying to uncover, some assessments may be better than others. For example, if you frequently hire new sales representatives, or are hiring a few at a time, you may want to use an assessment that focuses on the key skills that high-performing salespeople tend to have. Or, if you’re trying to hire for cultural fit over skills and competencies, you might prefer an assessment that will uncover more about their personality than can be gleaned from their resumes.

Avoid: Narrow Focus

While specificity is necessary, it’s important not to go too far in that direction. You may currently be hiring for a highly skilled technician in a specialized field, but an assessment designed solely for that position will likely not have sufficient data behind it, or offer value beyond a handful of hires. A much better strategy is to choose a hiring assessment that is capable of comparing results to a wide variety of industries and positions. With more versatility, you’ll be able to apply the assessment to multiple hires and other applications.

Look For: Accuracy

Hiring is a big decision, and in order to claim to make hiring easier and more objective, hiring assessments need to produce results that are consistent, useful, and accurate. Look for research and studies into the validity of an assessment as you make your choice, and take the time to understand the methods and scope of the research. Some red flags are vague methods, inconsistent results, and conclusions that aren’t supported by the data in the report.

Avoid: Overpromising Claims

You should always be wary of assessments that promise too much. This may seem like an obvious point, but when it comes to assessments backed by statistics and research, very few will make blatantly outlandish claims. Instead, success numbers may be just a bit high, or evidence for high ROI slightly fudged. This is where you need to look closely at research reports to determine whether the numbers add up.

Look For: Effectiveness

Have the assessments you’re considering been used to make great hiring decisions before? While following the pack isn’t always the best strategy, hiring assessments need to be able to draw on a huge amount of data to increase the accuracy and validity of their results. During your search, look for case studies, success stories, published results, and testimonials, and be sure to follow up on them if something seems off. After all, the point of hiring assessments is to avoid leaps of faith and unfounded conclusions.

Avoid: Unproven Results

On the flip side, success stories and testimonials don’t always spell success. Do the results include a point of comparison, such as hiring effectiveness prior to using the assessment? Has enough time elapsed after a hire to conclude that they’re a good fit? Take reliance upon case studies with a grain of salt, however. Some assessments that have been developed more recently may not have the proven results of industry standards, but that doesn’t always mean that they’re untrustworthy or unusable. If all other evidence points towards a newer assessment being the right choice for you and your organization, it’s up to you to make the decision of whether or not to be a part of their growing database.

Look For: Value

Lastly, investing in a hiring assessment requires a lot less time and money compared to making a hiring decision that doesn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard price entirely. Rather than shopping for price, however, start by shopping for value. How many hires are you planning to make with the assessment you choose? Does it offer insights that can help you develop your new employees during onboarding and beyond? Can it help you understand what makes your current employees successful so you can hire for similar traits? The more value your chosen assessment can create for you, the more worthwhile it is to make the investment.

Keep in mind that no matter what assessment you choose, it should only be a part of what influences your hiring decision, and no assessment can or should stand alone without consideration of resumes, interviews, and other evaluations. You should also be sure to avoid assessments with discriminatory questions, or using them in a way that discriminates against candidates by violating legislation that applies to your organization. With careful consideration of the hiring assessments available, you’ll be able to add a powerful tool to your hiring arsenal.

HR Collaborative is an authorized dealer for PXT Select, a hiring assessment that can help to uncover a candidate’s skills, interests, and cultural fit. To learn more, download the PXT Select Research Report here:

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