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

Edwin Booz

Pre-employment assessments are tools to help companies select better hires. 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. Many organizations see the benefits of pre-employment evaluations and are considering adding them to their hiring processes, but where do you start? We’ve created this simple, yet comprehensive, guide that separates fact from fiction and how your organization can use them to improve your hiring process.

Why Pre-Employment Evaluations
are Better than Ever

Pre-employment Assessments Are Not:

1. Magic

Pre-employment evaluations 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.

2. 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. It 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.n.

Personality Assessments:
Are Your Candidates Too Worried About “Passing?”

3. 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

4. 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 Evaluations Are:

1. An Instrument for Identifying Applicants’ and Employees’ Intrinsic Strengths and Motivations

Top-tier organizations are no longer leaving their decision solely to the impressions gained from a resume and an initial interview. The purpose 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

2. A Tool to 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!

3. A Way to Add Consistency and 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.

What Pre-Employment Assessments Can Do:


1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

Reduce turnover, increase cultural fit, and strengthen your team all with one thing….a pre-employment assessment. @CaliperCorp Click To Tweet

4. 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 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:

1. Scientifically Validated

Anyone can put together a questionnaire and call it a pre-employment assessment. But without proven validation, the results will be useless. 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.

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

2. Proven

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.

What Makes a Personality
Assessment Effective? [Infographic]

3. Versatile

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

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people not on strategies.”

Lawrence Bossidy

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.

To learn more about how The Caliper Profile can help you hire and develop successful employees, contact us today.