A critical part of the hiring process is testing your candidates to make sure they will fit in with the company. This means testing several different aspects of a candidate; their ethics, their personality, their skills, and so on. Hiring the wrong people can seriously hurt your company morale, culture, happiness, and productivity.
There’s a dilemma here. Tests have a difficult time discerning the truth. For every pre-employment test out there, there’s likely a guide somewhere written about how to pass it. People looking for work will do whatever they can to secure a position, and that includes studying for tests that measure personality, choosing options they think you’re looking for rather than options that reflect themselves, and bending the truth.
Engineering a pre-employment assessment is a complicated and time-consuming process, and you never know how accurate it will be until you’ve used it and measured the results. However, you can take advantage of the work others have done before you by using tools, resources, and platforms that already exist to do the bulk of your testing, with custom assessments added as necessary.
Identifying Necessary Testing
Assessments are an important part of the hiring process, but they can also suppress qualified candidates who don’t want to jump through hoops when their experience should be plenty of evidence of their skills. Determining how much and what kinds of tests are necessary is the first step towards developing a thorough, useful assessment process.
“To implement a pre-employment testing process, the employer must 1) determine which tests are necessary; 2) select or develop a test that appropriately evaluates the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs) needed; and 3) monitor use of the test. Implementing a valid testing process can be time-consuming, but the wealth of information gleaned may be worth the effort.
The first step is to identify the KSAOs required to perform the job:
- Knowledge is information the employee must possess (e.g., knowledge of accounting principles).
- Skills are learned behaviors needed to successfully perform a job (e.g., typing).
- Abilities are observable behaviors, including those needed to perform the physical requirements of the job (e.g., climbing stairs, lifting).
- Other characteristics include any other job requirements (e.g., attitude, reliability).
The process of deciding which tests to use begins by isolating the KSAOs the new employee must possess on Day 1. In other words, what must the person know and be able to do without additional on-the-job training? Once the list of KSAOs is created, the employer can consider testing options.”
Once you have some idea of the KSAOs you need to test for, you will have a strong basis with which to judge the assessments and tools you can use to look for them. It does you no good to test for accounting skills for an entry-level role that can be trained to learn them. It does you no good to test for basic programming competency for a high-level role that needs much greater levels of knowledge.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all assessment. You can use modules of different tests for your entire organization, such as ethical and moral personality assessments, but every role should have unique assessments to analyze the viability of a candidate for that specific role.
Special note: Remember to make sure that your tests do not, intentionally or accidentally, screen for qualities that are protected. Questions that can be construed as testing for qualities associated with races, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, or other protected qualities can open your company up to discrimination suits.
Platforms, Tools, and Resources
Determining precisely how to use any individual tool or resource is an organizational decision; we cannot make specific recommendations. What works for one company might not work for another. Thus, we’ve put together as broad a list as possible, rather than a narrow list of specific resources. By no means should you attempt to use everything on this list; rather, research each option and determine which few are ideal for your organization.
Modern Hire is a complete hiring platform with an assessment module. Their novel approach to pre-employment assessments uses predictive intelligence and machine learning based on a broad sample of candidate data harvested through their platform.
While their assessments can be used by just about any company, they specialize in Healthcare, Staffing, Retail, Financial, Logistics, Hospitality, and Call Center industries.
Outmatch is a “talent decision platform” that combines features of the application, screening, assessment, interviewing, and scheduling in one. Their platform is designed to be a seamless part of overall application processes and integrates with the Taleo system as well as other applicant tracking systems.
VICTIG is a company specializing in employment screening, particularly with background checks, drug screening, and motor vehicle reports.
This makes them an excellent platform to use to screen and assess candidates who apply for roles where they’ll be driving, handling heavy machinery, or have great personal responsibility.
Plum is a relatively new platform founded in 2012 to use machine learning and predictive artificial intelligence to screen and filter candidates. They boast that “Plum is 4x more accurate at predicting future success than resumes alone,” and they offer the ability to develop a neat and orderly shortlist of candidates, just in case your first choice falls through.
Test Invite is an assessment platform with a flexible engine you can use to develop your assessments.
They have pre-designed assessments for employment screening, English proficiency, and certain skill aptitudes, and can be used to develop your tests as well. You can use pre-created assessments, create your own, or mix and match with their library of questions.
Toggl offers several different services for businesses. The Hire platform is an assessment engine offering pre-employment tests. Their platform is one of the most user-friendly of the bunch for candidates, though your company may find it a bit restrictive.
This company provides an online, web-based testing platform. They have English proficiency, aptitude, cognitive ability, employment, and free-form tests. It’s a very specialized platform, with few additional features or integrations. It’s good at what it does, but it’s likely best used by smaller companies with more generalized assessment requirements.
Qualified.io is a specialized assessment platform aimed entirely at software engineers and developers.
They offer at-scale assessments with highly technical skills and aptitude testing, segmented by specific skills in specific kinds of software, such as AngularJS and Ruby on Rails. Overall, it’s an excellent assessment platform for testing software developers, and useless for other roles.
Adaface is another platform meant to assess software engineers and developers. Unlike Qualified, Adaface has assessments for psychometrics, general aptitude, and lateral hiring as well as the traditional coding tests. They also offer a few more general assessments for logical reasoning, data interpretation, English proficiency, and business analysis, among others.
Aspiring Minds is another relatively new platform claiming to use artificial intelligence to optimize assessments and the overall hiring process.
They offer a range of assessments including cognitive ability, personality, coding, job simulations, job skills, and customer service tests. They’re also used by over 100 different Fortune 500 companies.
Codility is similar to Adaface and other platforms made specifically to assess developers and coders. You can work with your IT department to create assessments customized to your company or use the evaluations they already have in place.
HR Avatar offers a custom test builder, along with a catalog of existing tests you can use. Their catalog is robust and offers hundreds of assessments for specific jobs and roles, such as account managers, purchasing agents, and programmers to bakers and bartenders. Additionally, they offer remote test proctoring, video interviews, and reference checks as part of their services.
Saberr Base is a platform meant to assist you in understanding your company culture, assessing cultural mores and relationships between employees, and developing assessments to see how prospective candidates might fit in with your existing culture.
They help you survey and profile your existing team to analyze values from the ground level, and extend those values into assessments you can use in the hiring process.
TestDome is another specialized testing platform used to assess skills. They can create a new, customized test for your organization, or use one of the hundreds of existing tests for specific skills. They offer specific tests for developer skills like Python and Ruby, as well as more generalized skills such as time management, digital marketing, and math.
Harver is a volume hiring platform and recruiting solution with built-in assessments.
It’s another AI-powered platform and is very popular amongst large global brands, including Netflix. They measure aptitude, culture fit, and soft skills, including a predicted ability to succeed throughout the candidate’s career.
Another popular platform, Interview Mocha is a skills testing platform with thousands of different skill templates, which can be mixed and matched to create customized assessments for your open roles. While they have many developer-focused skills, they also have finance, business skills, and many more options.
Vervoe is another AI-based platform with proprietary “talent trials” specifically designed by industry experts to test real, practical skills a candidate in a given role would need.
Assessments are aimed at specific roles rather than skills and can test how an individual would perform in a role as a whole, rather than requiring you to holistically judge several different assessments that don’t encompass the whole picture.
Yet another AI-based candidate assessment platform, this one uses specifically behavioral assessments to build a profile of a candidate. They explicitly focus on encouraging diversity in their clients and use a novel approach to assessment in a gamified neurological testing process.
Xobin is a more traditional assessment platform, largely specializing in white-collar jobs. Their library of existing tests – containing over 1,000 pre-built assessments – includes IT, Marketing, HR, Sales, Design, Customer Service, Logistics, Accounting, Finance, Admin, and more. This huge array of tests can be time-consuming to comb through, but extremely useful for companies with disparate needs looking to test them all through one platform.
Prevue is a relatively standard sort of assessment platform with one unique approach. They offer a novel “motivations and interests” assessment that helps separate candidates who are only in it for the money from those who have the passion and inspiration to succeed in their roles.
Used carefully, this can be an incredible boon for high-level and creative-focused roles in particular.
Athena Quotient is a platform offering pre-employment screening tests that make use of a complex, proprietary algorithm analyzing overall judgment. It’s a powerful, unique assessment that was nominated for a Nobel Prize. It’s also a relatively quick assessment, demanding only around 30 minutes of time to complete.
This platform offers pre-employment assessments but continues after hiring to help analyze and drive performance from your employees once they’ve been hired.
It’s a way to help adapt your business processes to encourage success from the inside out, rather than what most other platforms do, which is bolster hiring but leave the rest to you.
Owiwi is a unique, novel candidate assessment tool that takes the form of a video game. Rather than a simple gamified testing process, this is a full game, where the choices a user makes throughout their playthrough analyze aspects of the person’s character, their soft skills, and their general traits. It’s certainly unique, though how well it fits with your organization may be up to you.
Select International is an assessment platform specializing in manufacturing, healthcare, safety, and leadership roles. Their overall platform is more or less standard, but their focus on certain industries is relatively rare amongst assessment platforms. They also offer specialized assessments for executive and leadership roles, which are traditionally left out of many assessment programs.
This company offers a “talent optimization platform” that provides assessments aimed at linking behavioral traits with job performance. Their history of successful utilization allows them a wealth of data they can leverage to refine the accuracy of their assessments. They have worked with over 6,500 clients and have 60 years’ worth of science on hand, having provided over 27 million assessments over the years.
There is no shortage of candidate assessment platforms available. Some are simple testing platforms. Some are advanced, AI-driven psychometric examinations of potential hires. Some are stand-alone, while others link with existing applicant tracking systems. There is something for everyone out there.
We recommend spending some time determining what, precisely, you want to assess. Are you looking purely for technical skills, and relying on interviews to assess culture? Are you looking for a technological solution to assessing culture, while training candidates for the technical skills they need on the job? Every company has different priorities, so it’s important to identify those priorities in order to pick the best option amongst these platforms.
Andrew Greenberg’s roots in recruiting date back to 1996. He has experience both on the agency-side and corporate-side of the staffing business, with a focus in the financial services space at companies like Bloomberg and UBS. He also has core experience with information technology staffing, and has worked for major software companies such as SAP Business Objects and IBM/Informix Software. To get in touch with Andrew, you can reach him by email or by phone at (800) 797-6160.