Pre-Hire Assessment Testing: Turning Skeptics into Believers

By Caroline Roberson on June 9, 2022

If you have been advocating for the use of an assessment technology without success, you aren’t alone. Despite the explosion of HR technology, there are still people who are hesitant to adopt new techniques and methods of talent management. People can be wary of using tools they consider to be inferior to their own judgment.

Skeptical adoption of new tools.

New technology is often met with skepticism. For example, using a thermometer to take a person’s temperature is now a common practice. That hasn’t always been the case. It wasn’t until the 1870s that using a thermometer was a viable way to take body temperatures at home. Before the invention of the thermometer, physicians used other methods for determining body temperature, including appearance, the patient’s perception of their body heat, and an “educated hand” on the forehead.

We see parallels with the adoption of HR technology. Historically, many hiring and development decisions were based on “I think,” rather than “the data tells me,” but with the availability of new technologies and tools that’s changing.

People were skeptical when doctors first implemented the use of thermometers. But over time, they learned that an “educated hand” was not the most precise method to measure temperature. Just as doctors were able to improve their diagnosis of illnesses, so have recruiters and HR professionals improved talent outcomes with a data-based approach. Now data can influence our decision-making process, not just our own experiences or gut instincts.

Increased confidence in data-based decisions.

“Instead of limiting yourself to the lessons of your own experiences or case studies about one lucky leader, learn from the growing field of people analytics about what works for most of the people most of the time,” Adam Grant, a top-rated professor at Wharton, told Forbes.

As Grant says, people analytics can tell us a great deal about what works for most people, most of the time. Using tools to access data points makes the difference between a “best guess” and a decision based on facts.

Assessment data improves outcomes.

“Carefully developed and administered employment tests can provide organizations with a way to decide systematically and accurately identify which people have the ability to perform well on the job, will not contribute to turnover, won’t engage in counterproductive behaviors, or will be able to learn from training programs,” according to the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology (SIOP).

At Berke, we’ve seen the power of data and analytics with our clients. In one example, an in-home healthcare provider was experiencing an 80% average attrition for a direct care position within the first 6 months of employment. Many new hires simply stopped showing up to work within the first three months after they’d been hired. While the candidates had seemed like a good fit, our client faced a nearly constant need to recruit new talent.

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To help this health care provider, the Berke team created a custom Job Profile that defined the unique traits shared by top performers. The Job Profile also defined the traits that differentiated top-performing employees from all other employees. All candidates were then compared to this Job Profile and a match score was created. After implementing Berke turnover was 63.6% lower than turnover before Berke was implemented. Like so many examples we’ve seen, data-based decisions are critical to successful talent acquisition strategies.

The data and analysis gained through pre-hire assessments enable recruiting professionals and hiring managers to hire the right candidate who can drive business performance. No longer do organizations need to rely on a “gut feeling” or the notion that someone is “probably” a good fit. Instead, with decisions informed by data, they are poised and empowered to reach the next level of talent management success.

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