Not All Assessments are Equal – a Short Guide to Choosing the Right Partner

June 10, 2020 Brandon DeCaro

As many companies start reopening post COVID-19, there will be an immediate need to use pre-hire talent assessments in the selection process. This is a great time to reevaluate your current provider or evaluate a first-time roll-out.

While it may be enticing to simply choose the shortest, cheapest one - there are significant repercussions for viewing assessments as ‘toasters’ or commodities. In recent years, there has been a trend to focus solely on an improved candidate experience. While candidate experience is certainly a huge factor (if the assessment is not predictive of job success), it defeats the initial purpose of using one. The goal is to find an engaging and predictive solution. You could argue there has not been a stronger talent supply in 100 years. So why not become more selective when it comes to job fit and culture fit?

By nature, science-based assessments are data-driven and they are not all alike. For organizations that do not employ I/O psychologists on staff it can be difficult to weed through the various options on the market.  

Criterion-related validity is the correlation between test scores and performance on the job. In simple terms, it means there has been documented evidence that candidates who score higher on the assessment(s) will perform better on the job. The beauty of a well-built assessment is that you can show tremendous ROI in the form of increased sales, improved net promoter scores and reduced turnover.

There are certainly soft recruiting metrics that assessments can impact. These include reduced time-to-hire and decreased cost-per-hire. These KPIs are important. However, if the tool is not predictive, the end result will be poorer hires at a faster pace.

Some organizations go with the assessment they believe has a ‘cool look and feel’. This may or may not include games etc. Although gamified assessments can enhance the candidate experience, it is important to ensure the assessment is as psychometrically sound as more traditional tests.

Here are a few tips when evaluating a potential assessment partner:

1) Request the technical manual. This provides supporting evidence showing the test has predicted job performance in the past. 

2) Talk to references (particularly companies with a similar size, volume and KPI goals).

3) Understand how the partner can adjust the solution over time. Is the tool static or can there be scoring adjustments?

4) Is the partner able to conduct a Job Analysis to provide an added layer of legal defensibility in case a candidate challenges you in court?

5) What type of ongoing account management and analysis will the partner provide and how often? 

In closing, it is important to remember that the implications of an assessment program are far greater than simply inserting a short test into the hiring process. Change management for any organization is not easy and a business will expect tangible results. As an HR leader, your reputation is on the line – remember: you only get one chance to get this right.

To learn more about Aon's scientific approach to ensuring strong ROI in an assessment program, please visit: 

About the Author

Brandon DeCaro

As a member or Aon's North American Assessment Solutions team Brandon helps Enterprise organizations implement digital ready assessment solutions across all phases of the Talent Life-cycle. This includes Talent Acquisition, Development, Retention, Success Planning and more.

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