(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Criteria Corp, a leading provider of pre-employment testing services. If you want to learn more about how pre-employment testing can benefit your recruiting strategy, check out Criteria Corp’s “Definitive Guide to Pre-Employment Testing”. I found this to be a comprehensive resource that I keep on the corner of my desk all the time. Enjoy the post!)
Many famous CEOs have said that employees are the cornerstone of their business. No matter what industry you’re in, employees play a key role in helping the organization take care of customers and ultimately achieve its goals. So regardless of what’s happening today with the unemployment rate, organizations want to create a recruiting process that helps them find the best talent.
Pre-employment assessments are a part of that process.
It’s time for us to reconsider how we’re using pre-employment assessments. Instead of using an assessment to filter out candidates, organizations should consider using them as a way to filter in high-potential candidates. What I mean by that is, pre-employment assessments can be used to surface candidates that the company might have overlooked based on their resume alone. Soft skills are a perfect example. Organizations can use cognitive ability assessments to identify areas of potential and trainability in candidates. Something that might not be obvious from a resume.
Using Assessments to Find the Best Talent
Before an organization starts using pre-employment assessments to highlight talent, they should examine four key areas of their recruiting strategy.
- Decide the goal of using pre-employment assessments. Any time an organization uses an assessment, the company needs to decide and agree on the reason. What’s the purpose? Using an assessment to filter out candidates is going to be different from using it to highlight talent. The purpose will drive many other decisions. Also, make sure that the assessment being used is valid and reliable for the employment process. Valid means the assessment measures what it’s supposed to measure. Reliable means the same results happen in a consistent fashion. There are many terrific assessments on the market, but they are not all valid and reliable for recruiting purposes. Choosing the right assessment will help deliver the intended result.
- Consider conducting cognitive ability assessments earlier in the hiring process. According to CareerBuilder’s 2018 recruiting forecast, forty-five percent (45%) of HR professionals currently have jobs that they can’t fill because they cannot find qualified candidates. As a result, many organizations say they’re willing to hire candidates and train them. They just want to know that the candidate is trainable. As I mentioned earlier, this is the perfect application for cognitive ability assessments. The organization can use the assessment to uncover the candidate’s potential. But the ideal time to learn this information is early in the interview process not after the hiring manager has selected a candidate. This would change when in the hiring process an assessment is administered.
- Include behavioral career development interview questions. This ties into #2. Once the organization receives the results of the candidate’s cognitive ability assessment, then there might be an opportunity to ask a few follow-up questions. Of course, that only really works if the assessment is conducted early in the recruiting process. The key here is to make the questions behavioral in nature. Ask employees to tap into their past experience and share stories about what they’ve learned in the past. An example would be “Tell us about a time when you needed to learn something on your own.” Or “Tell us about a situation when your boss asked you to do something you didn’t know how to do. How did you handle it?”
- Provide training to everyone involved in administering and evaluating a candidate’s assessment results. When the goal of using an assessment is to filter candidates into the organization, the assessment results will be used long after the recruiting process. It’s essential for everyone to be able to read, understand, and react to the results. For instance, at the point the candidate becomes an employee, the company could use the cognitive ability assessment results as part of a personalized onboarding journey map for the new employee. The manager will also want to consider those results as part of a career development plan.
Assessments Help Organizations Find the Best Talent
Pre-employment assessments can help organizations find the best talent … and this has always been their goal. Instead of using an assessment to weed people out of the process, flip the process and use assessments to bring people in. It does mean making a few changes, but the results can be much more positive.
P.S. If you want to learn more about using pre-employment assessments to highlight talent, take a listen to the webinar I did with Criteria Corp on “Hiring for Soft Skills: 3 Strategies to Find the Best Candidates”. We go further in depth with this concept and talk specifically about the skills organizations can start evaluating earlier in the hiring process.17