This article on Pre-Employment Assessments first appeared in 2018 and was updated to reflect new information on using Pre-Employment Assessments for Remote Hiring in February of 2021. For additional information resources on remote hiring or pre-employment assessments, continue reading or subscribe to our newsletter.

“Often the best solution to a management problem is the right person.”

Edwin Booz

Bad hires have always been the bane of companies’ collective existence. It’s expensive, frustrating, and diverts resources of hiring managers, HR professionals, and the team being augmented. On average, a bad hire can cost over $15,000.

Today, with the future of the traditional in-office workforce under a layer of uncertainty, hiring right is even more important. Budgets are tight, employees are stretched thin, and company leadership expects every hire to contribute to the bottom line as quickly as possible.

Enter Pre-Employment assessments for remote and hybrid hiring.

Pre-employment assessments are tools to help companies select better hires, even when hiring exclusively remotely. In fact, pre-employment assessments are even more useful for remote hiring, as we’re all focused on ensuring success for our teams and departments.

For over 50 years, companies have been using screeners and questionnaires to weed out potential bad hires and discover top candidates by assessing certain personality traits and skill sets during the interview process.

Better Than Ever: Pre-Employment Assessments Big Shifts

Many organizations see the benefits of pre-employment assessments and are considering adding them to their hiring processes, but if you are starting from scratch or augmenting your process due to an increase in remote or hybrid hiring, where do you start? We’ve created this simple comprehensive guide to help introduce or extend pre-employment assessments to improve your hiring process, for remote employees and in-office workers.

Pre-employment Assessments Are Not Magic

Pre-employment assessments are not a definitive answer. They don’t separate “good applicants” from “bad applicants” or possess clairvoyance. The data generated by an assessment is, in fact, neutral. In reality, an assessment is one tool you can use when hiring a new employee to help you in the decision-making process. It provides clues, but it’s not a crystal ball.

Pre-employment Assessments Are Not A Test

People commonly refer to pre-employment assessments using the term “personality tests.” While personality tests sound jazzier from a marketing perspective, a pre-employment assessment is not a test. You can’t pass or fail one. A pre-employment assessment is, rather, a method for gathering data about personality traits. It provides an added data point for the kinds of roles in which a candidate might fit.

Dear Candidate Worrying About Passing Your Assessment…

Pre-employment Assessments Are Not A Replacement for Coaching and Development

Just because an applicant’s assessment results line up with the job you are looking to fill, it does not mean that they will be perfect on the job. People still need training, development, and an engaging environment in which to fulfill their potential. In fact, 51% of employees would quit their job if the training was not offered, even if they’re experienced in the job functions. An applicant who aligns with the job is more likely to succeed than an applicant who does not align with the job, but only when all other factors are equal. A good candidate still needs to feel engaged, motivated, and see opportunities for growth.

Pre-employment assessments are not magic nor @Buzzfeed quizzes. So what are they? @CaliperCorp has the answer. #assessments Click To Tweet

Pre-employment Assessments Are Not Rare

The American Management Association found that 70% of companies do some sort of job skill testing. 46% of them also use personality or psychological assessments. 41% rely on some form of basic literacy and math skill tests to support their decision.

Pre-employment assessments aren’t something your competitors don’t know about. In fact, if you aren’t using them, you might be playing catch up. The talent acquisition technology and services market is estimated to reach $113.9 billion in 2021, and assessment technology, in particular, is primed to be one of the biggest areas for innovation in this sector.

Pre-employment Assessments Are a Useful Tool

As an instrument for identifying applicants’ and employees’ intrinsic strengths and motivations, pre-employment assessments are hard to beat. Top-tier organizations are no longer leaving their decision solely to the impressions gained from a resume and an initial interview.

Assessments provide you with standardized and useful insights, regarding how candidates interact in the workplace and also predict job performance and fit with the company. This data will also help improve the team’s overall productivity and success.

The purpose of a pre-employment assessment is to uncover what you can’t see on a resume: a person’s motivators and inhibitors. The applicant whose motivators line up with the role and whose inhibitors are largely not required for the role, is more likely to be a top performer than someone with personality drivers that are negatively correlated to the role.

How to Get Better Hiring Results Using Pre-Employment Evaluations

Pre-employment Assessments Support Hiring and Development Decisions

According to Career Builder research, 74% of employers admit they’ve hired the wrong person for a position. But, a pre-employment assessment is not meant to replace human judgment in the selection process, rather it exists to augment it.

Let’s say that one applicant interviewed better, but the other has preferable qualifications. Assessment results can show you which applicant’s motivators align best with the job and, therefore, can serve as that added data point to consider when making a decision. The same goes for internal promotion decisions.

Even better, employee assessment results can help you customize your coaching and development plans for maximum effectiveness because you’ll know your new hire’s potential strengths and weaknesses ahead of time. No surprises!

A large percentage of employers already understand that assessments provide highly valuable information about specific aspects of a person’s potential. Not only does this make employee selection decisions more accurate and useful, but it also informs how the individual should be onboarded, managed, coached, and professionally developed throughout their career.

Pre-employment Assessments Are A Way to Limit Bias

Especially with roles with inherently high turnover (typically sales and customer-service positions), you can limit bias by applying the same evaluation criteria for each applicant. On a broader scale, you can use assessments to ensure your hiring managers are following the same process and not letting their personal quirks undermine the company’s talent acquisition strategy.

Pre-hire screenings provide recruiters and hiring managers with objective data, on record. By reducing human error, decisions can be made without bias and without the threat of legal involvement.

Learn More: Hire your perfect candidate. See how Caliper can help you identify top talent early.

Pre-employment Assessments to Identify Great Remote Workers

The PSI Caliper Remote Worker job model details how an individual aligns with the core competencies required for success in a remote role. Comparing your pre-employment assessment to a remote worker job model can offer even more insights into the right employee for the right role.

  • Composure — staying calm under pressure and performing to a high standard even in crises.
  • Learning Agility — swiftly pivoting to new needs, ideas, and processes as priorities or workloads change.
  • Information Seeking — learning new things to adapt to their role’s unique needs during a crisis with little to no outside influence.
  • Accountability — consistently completing work, owning their role, and taking accountability for both mistakes and innovations when they occur.
  • Adaptability —accommodating changes to their role, responsibilities, or department with flexibility and quickly adjusting to the new environment.
  • Time Management — completing tasks promptly, hitting deadlines, maintaining quality, and exhibiting self-reliance.

What Pre-Employment Assessments Can Do:

  • Uncover Truth. 85% of job applicants lie on resumes. Candidates can bend the truth about their skills during the application process for many reasons, mostly because they want to show the hiring manager they meet the qualifications. Pre-employment assessments can assess true skill levels and aptitudes directly in the hiring process.
  • Reduce Turnover. Research conducted by the Aberdeen Group has found that companies who use pre-hire assessment tests report a 39% lower turnover rate. Why waste months training employees who never were a true fit for the job? Know before their first day whether or not the candidate is a fit for the role.
  • Determine Culture Fit. One study found that 84% of recruiters surveyed agree that cultural fit — not the time and cost to hire for a role — is one of the most important recruitment factors, and nine out of 10 have reported passing on applicants who didn’t feel aligned with their company’s culture. Pre-employment assessments don’t just gauge skills and aptitudes. Values, communication styles, and attitudes can be gleaned from a series of selected questions.
  • Save Time. Using assessments can cut back the time wasted on the wrong candidates. This phenomenon is compounded when handling high-volume hiring. Screening methods can differentiate top candidates early in the hiring process.
  • Improve Candidate Experience. Nearly 4 in 5 candidates say the overall candidate experience they receive is an indicator of how a company values its people. The employee lifecycle starts before interviews. Show your talent pool you are investing in the right people by committing to bias-free assessments.

Choosing the Right Pre-Employment Assessment

Assessments have flooded the market in recent years, some cheap and easy, but be assured that you get what you pay for. Look for an assessment that is:

  • Scientifically-Validated. Top-of-the-line assessments also achieve something called “criterion validity,” which means they are scientifically validated to measure job-performance potential.
  • Proven. Go with an assessment that has a track record in the assessment industry not a fly-by-night provider with no history.
  • Versatile. Authentic assessments are scientifically validated through extensive research and testing.
  • Remote-Enabled. Your applicants should be able to access the assessment remotely to ensure its free from bias.
  • Accessible. Your pre-employment assessment should be easy to access for all groups of potential candidates.
  • Calibrated to Your Organization. Ensure there is some level of customization available to ensure alignment with your workplace.
Reduce turnover, increase cultural fit, and strengthen your team all with one thing….a pre-employment assessment. @CaliperCorp Click To Tweet

Great Pre-Employment Assessments Characteristics

Anyone can put together a questionnaire and call it a pre-employment assessment. But without proven validation, the results will be useless. Your pre-employment assessment must be versatile and validated. Authentic assessments are scientifically validated through extensive research and testing to make sure they measure what they claim to measure. This is called “construct validity.”

Top-of-the-line assessments also achieve something called “criterion validity,” which means they are scientifically validated to measure job-performance potential. The Caliper Profile is validated both for construct and criterion validity. Our assessment holds up even under remote hiring scrutiny.

What We Mean When We Say Caliper Assessments Are “Scientifically Validated”

A phone app that hit the market 36 hours ago is probably not your most reliable resource for evaluating applicants. Go with an assessment that has a track record in the assessment industry and is regarded as venerable. While your desired applicants and employees should be able to take the assessment from anywhere, most scientifically-validated assessments are NOT suited to being taken “on-the-go”.

For the consistent application of employment assessments throughout your organization, you should use an assessment tool that works both for selection and for staff development. Look for a versatile assessment that is also scalable to the size and needs of any organization, whether those needs are occasional hiring or an integrated, enterprise-wide hiring-and-development strategy. Such an assessment could serve as a platform for people analytics, as the basis for a 360-degree executive coaching program, or as a tool for identifying and developing high-potentials.

The Answer is Simple

Your chosen personality assessment must provide valuable insight that can create a brighter path for your organization. The Caliper Profile has been on the market for 60 years and is continually revised and refined as more and more performance data is collected and analyzed. It is also fully compliant with all relevant U.S. labor laws.

The Caliper Profile is part of a larger family of professional assessment tools including PSI’s remote worker assessment tools, built on proven science and experience working with organizations around the world to hire and optimize remote workforces.

By measuring the competencies most tied to success in a remote work environment, our tools are able to predict performance and provide personalized guidance for hiring, coaching, and employee development throughout the entire talent life cycle, including:

  • Hiring Remote Employees: Make strategic and more effective hiring decisions for remote and hybrid roles. Our Remote Worker Selection Reports provide insights related to each of the competencies for remote success, plus an overall fit recommendation.
  • Remote Worker Selection Report & Personalized Interview Guide: Based upon an individual’s assessment scores, our reports suggest tailored interview questions for every remote-centric competency. Make your job interviews more informative for candidates and gain more robust insights into your hiring for remote roles.
  • Developing Remote Teams & Individual Development Guide: Help employees build awareness of their strengths and development gaps when it comes to working in a remote or hybrid environment. Our participant reports and individual development guides are powerful tools for engaging employees and providing actionable recommendations for improvement as they transition to remote or hybrid models.
  • Manager Coaching Guide: Show your employees that you’re invested in their professional development by providing personalized coaching as they transition to remote or hybrid models. Our coaching guides and reports for remote managers provide you with deep insights and action steps to engage your team in meaningful mentoring programs especially designed for remote roles.
  • Managing Remote Workers & Remote Manager Development Report: Just as not all employees are naturally a good fit to work away from the office, some managers may need to focus on developing certain skills in order to lead effectively and maintain productivity as they transition to a remote or hybrid environment. Our Remote Manager Assessment Tools are designed to help guide your candidate selection decisions and development initiatives for line managers.
  • Remote Team Analytics: How do you determine which groups can or should work remotely? Which teams may actually be more productive in a remote environment than an office setting? Our award-winning analytics platform provides powerful real-time insights to drive your most important talent management decisions.

To learn more about how Caliper, part of the PSI family of solutions, can help you hire and develop successful remote employees, contact us today.