Enhance Your Hiring Process With Pre-Hire Assessments

10 Compelling Ways Pre-Hire Assessments Boost Your Hiring Process

Pre-hire assessments aren’t new. Employers have used assessments for decades to help them make the best hiring decisions. But the use of assessments for hiring selection is growing.

Despite constant pressure on budgets, time and resources, HR and talent leaders consistently turn to pre-employment tools. Here’s a list of 10 reasons why you should incorporate valid pre-hire assessments as part of your hiring process.

What Are Pre-Hire Assessments, and What Do They Measure?

Pre-hire assessments are objective, standard, reliable and valid tools. Employers use assessments to compare job applicants based on a variety of job-relevant criteria. Tests include assorted cognitive ability tests, measuring factors such as numerical or verbal reasoning.

Other aptitude tests measure competencies, such as the ability to concentrate, multitask or handle information. Tests may also include skills assessment, like language or coding assessment tests. Assessments may include job simulations, such as situational judgment tests. Or they can be personality tests that measure a candidate's soft skills and work styles to create a personality profile.

Here’s how pre-hire assessments support a better hiring process and long-term talent decisions.

Pre-Hire Assessments Mitigate Bias in the Hiring Process.

Although we’d all like to think we're great judges of character, hiring based on first impressions introduces bias. The trouble is, with only a resume, an interview and gut instinct, we aren't good judges of character.

Why are we so poor at doing this on our own? Bias is to blame: We bring our biases to the table when making decisions — including hiring decisions.
  • Confirmation bias: We downplay or ignore anything that contradicts our preconceived ideas.
  • Attribution bias: Certain attributes dictate skills.
  • Affinity bias: We ascribe positive attributes or infer greater potential to someone because they remind us of ourselves.
  • Anchoring bias: We give more weight to things than they merit.
  • The halo effect: We put too much stock in first impressions.
But there’s good news. We can compensate for human nature by adding assessment tools and test results into the mix. Pre-hire assessments measure objective, job-relevant criteria. They allow you to make the best hiring decision — without relying on fallible gut instincts.

Pre-Hire Tests Predict Job Performance

A business-impact study defines the specific mix of competencies leading to success in each role across your organization. Once you define these competencies, identify the right assessment provider to measure them in applicants.

Our clients have seen very real upticks in revenue since they added pre-hire assessments into their selection process.
  • Sunglass Hut saw an uplift of 12.5% in sales per hour for new hires after two months of using pre-hire assessments.
  • A technology business found that "high match" employees deliver 36% more revenue and 42% more profit than "low match" ones.
  • Localsearch saw an uplift of 8% in sales commission after using assessments.

Strong Talent Assessments Are Legally Defensible

Valid pre-hire assessment tools are built on a foundation of the science behind behavior and capability measurement. Each valid test that’s used to assess candidates has a body of evidence behind it.

Select an assessment provider who can demonstrate reliability and dependable results over time. Ask for evidence of scoring consistency and their ability to accurately benchmark and compare candidates. Take all this together. and you have robust evidence to inform decision-making.

Reputable test suppliers have research teams staffed by psychologists and statisticians. They constantly develop and refine new tests while gathering and reviewing data from real-world use of existing tests. They investigate gender and other group differences in test scores to help clients understand their own data.

Pre-Hire Assessments Are Resource Savers

Pre-hire tests save time, energy and money, conserving your talent acquisition resources. They speed up the hiring process by helping you focus on the very best, very quickly. And pre-hire assessments reduce time spent by hiring managers in interviews with poor-quality candidates.

Organizations that have adopted pre-hire assessments report dramatic results:
  • Elkjøp saved five hours of recruitment time per hire.
  • Outcome Health reduced hiring manager time spent in interviews by 50%.

Pre-Hire Assessments Reduce Staff Turnover and Predict Tenure

Selecting employees who live your company’s values leads to stronger employee engagement and retention. You can also use customized assessments, like situational judgement tests, to showcase your company culture and engage well-fit candidates.

Some examples of what this can mean to businesses:
  • Securitas Direct predicted employees who would stay beyond the initial four-month training period.
  • Jurys Inn determined the personality traits and values of those likely to stay with the business — and those likely to leave.
  • Transcom found that the top 10% of scorers on personality and cognitive ability assessments are 130% more likely to stay beyond the average tenure.

Pre-Hire Assessments Are Brand Enhancers

Pre-hire tests and assessments give you robust information to supplement your hiring selection process. They also communicate your brand. Leading-edge tests that show the job and your organization in the right light help you stand out as an employer. Back that up with sleek, integrated processes and candidate feedback to create an attractive employer brand.

However, get it wrong, and your use of assessments could become a brand detractor. Select assessment tools carefully based on:
  • Relevant content — Avoid personality questionnaires, cognitive ability tests or skills tests that don’t measure work-related behaviors and competencies.
  • Candidate experience — Select appealing, easy-to-use assessments. Work with consultants to determine where assessments best fit in and add the most value to your hiring process. Select tools that candidates can access across devices, from smartphones to desktops. Integrate tests with your ATS to provide a secure, single sign-on experience. Add your own logo, color palette and customized content.
  • Actionable results — Assessments with actionable results allow you to quickly root out unsuitable candidates and identify the best people. Don’t risk losing top talent because your competitors act faster than you.
  • Engagement — How you treat your candidates says a lot about your organization. Assessment tools give you the information to engage applicants while effectively managing their expectations.
  • Real-world relevance — Great assessments can be completed on a mobile device or via video.  Use your own real-world scenarios and examples to set the test within the context of your business.

Some real-world examples of what this can look like:

  • Vodafone integrated a web-based attraction game and an online assessment to attract younger, digitally savvy applicants.
  • A multinational engineering company began using an online, chat-format assessment developed for mobile devices. It’s different, innovative, accurate and engages candidates.
  • Nationwide uses a paperless assessment center that sets the business apart and is used to spot the highest-potential candidates.

Pre-Hire Assessments Set Candidate Expectations for the Role

Realistic job previews and situational judgment tests give you insight into how potential candidates respond to real on-the-job scenarios. These types of pre-employment testing also show candidates what the job is about. Work with an assessment provider, like Aon, to customize your assessments. Incorporate your real-world situations, and see how applicants react.
  • Easyjet offers a realistic job preview of its cabin crew role to help would-be applicants better understand the job.
  • O2 uses a situational judgment test and in-store assessment centers to improve the quality of its candidates.
  • Sunglass Hut uses a realistic job preview and situational judgment test to give candidates insight into the store's sales roles.

Pre-Hire Assessments Identify the Best-Fit Talent for Your Business

Every organization lives by its own specific values, competencies and business strategy. What you’re looking for is likely to be different from what other companies value. Modern pre-hiring assessments let you focus on the specific skills, abilities and competencies you need. With Aon, you can create your own profile and tailor your assessments to fit your specific needs.
  • At Elkjøp stores, top performers on the assessments deliver 50% more sales revenue than the average salesperson.
  • Localsearch found that 82% of those likely to be low performers were filtered out of the selection process early on.
  • Parks and Resorts assesses seasonal employees for very specific behaviors and values. They’ve developed a bespoke situational judgment test and an "audition" (interview).

Pre-Hire Tests Empower Your Local Hiring Managers to Make Better Decisions

You may have local managers reviewing applications, interviewing candidates and making hiring decisions. But that’s not typically the key focus of their job. You need to help them be consistent, objective and ask the right questions.

Pre-hire assessments help you support them. Online assessments allow you to clearly identify best-fit candidates based on the competencies needed to succeed in the role.

Candidate reports and tailored interview guides help your local managers prepare for the interview and ask relevant questions.
  • Ericsson designed a single, easily understood assessment matrix, process and report, supporting selection and promotion across job roles.
  • Dubai Duty Free standardized their assessment processes and interview guides. This reduced the time needed to identify 50 candidates from 8.5 days to 0.5 days.
  • A technology business developed a customized interview guide mapped against five key behavioral characteristics of commercial success. Using this rubric improved the consistency of hiring manager interviews.

Pre-Hire Assessments Take Your Selection Process into the Future

Years ago, psychometric tests were the domain of theorists and academics, but lately they’ve been transformed. Assessments enhance user experience through shorter, engaging tests that are highly relevant to the job and optimized for smartphone use.

Now, artificial intelligence is being trained to support better scoring, interpretation and decisions — legally defensible and fair when done right.

It's simply not enough to use any pre-hire assessment. Although the quality of pre-hire assessments vary, their quality can be measured and evaluated.

Use the list below to check the quality of any pre-hire test or assessment: 9 Questions to Spot High-Quality Assessments

  • Is the assessment objective in how it is administered, scored and interpreted?
  • Is the assessment reliable, accurate and consistent over time? Does it offer dependable results?
  • Is the assessment valid? Does it measure what it is designed to measure?
  • Does the assessment differentiate between candidates? Does a stronger candidate receive a higher test score than a weaker candidate?
  • Does the assessment deliver value for money? Will it result in tangible benefits to the business?
  • Is the assessment standardized? Does it offer a comparison to normative or benchmark groups?
  • Is the assessment useful? Does the talent assessment add clear value to the talent process?
  • Is the assessment transparent and fair? Is the assessment and assessment process clear and fair for all candidates? Do candidates get appropriate feedbacks the assessment cheat-resistant? Candidates shouldn’t be able to distort or fake their test scores.


Aon | Assessment Solutions

Aon's assessment solutions provides clients with powerful tools and insights to help them make better talent decisions at every stage of the employee lifecycle. This includes pre-hire assessments, identifying future leaders, screening for digital skills and agility, and AI-enabled solutions.

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