7 min read

Recruitment Assessment Tools: How They Work & What To Look For

Nikki Dale
Nikki Dale April 06, 2021
Recruitment Assessment Tools

There is a real growth industry in recruitment assessment tools, especially as technology develops to include artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality. As businesses compete for the very best hires, recruiters need to use all the tools at their disposal to make sure they are presenting the best candidates for the role.

Recruitment assessment tools are a way to take the guesswork out of identifying the right talent, increasing the depth and quality of the candidates that move through the assessment process.

There are many reasons that good recruitment tools are useful to recruiters and businesses:

  • Save time: less need for in-depth reading of CVs and cover letters (just a paper sift instead)
  • Reduce average cost per hire: less time spent choosing the right candidate, and less likelihood of a poor hire and the need to rehire.
  • View a person for more than their CV: find their job suitability, work behaviour and skills in a non-biased way.

How do recruitment assessment tools work?

Recruitment assessment tools are based on psychological research. Science-based assessments give the best results in recruitment because they are proven to be both reliable and valid.

The reliability of a test is measured by it being both consistent and precise. One of the ways this is assessed is that if a test is taken multiple times by the same candidate, the same or similar results would be found. A test cannot be valid if it is not reliable.

The reliability coefficient of the test is usually based on test-retest methodology as mentioned above, or what is known as split half methodology, where half the results are measured against the other half.

The validity of the test used can be measured in several ways. Construct validity is a theoretical focus and demonstrates how the test fits into what is already known through wider research. The data from the same participants provides the construct validity, but it often takes complex statistical analysis to prove.

Concurrent validity proves the coefficient relationship between test scores and the job criteria - usually by testing internal candidates already in the role. Concurrent validity is the benchmark for skills tests in particular, to make sure that they are relevant.

The most important validity test for recruiters is predictive validity. This is the extent that a test can predict a future or a desired outcome - in this case, job performance.

Predictive validity is assessed by comparing test results with criteria based on success in a job role - this tends to take time, but is a good demonstration that a high score relates to great job performance.

Different types of recruitment assessment tools

Recruitment assessment tools tend to fit into three main areas, although some publishers create tests that include all areas in their offering. The right assessment tool for your needs will depend on the job role you are recruiting for and the industry you are working in.

1. Knowledge and Skills

Testing specific job-related knowledge gives recruiters the edge when it comes to ensuring a candidate has the skills for the role. Skills can be assessed against an agreed standard and can be broad spectrum or more focused so it is role-specific. An example of this would be a Python test for candidates who have applied for a coding role.

2. Innate Aptitude

Soft skills, the ones that can't be taught, are not necessarily job specific but can be good predictors of job success. Aptitude tests can assess a candidate for their reasoning and logic skills as well as how they will learn - high scores on aptitude tests tend to correlate with good job performance.

3. Personality and Work Behaviour

Understanding the motivators and drives of a candidate can help to understand how they work, and scenario-based questions can assess the way a potential candidate will react in a given situation - giving a good idea of what that candidate's work behaviour is like. Personality tests can highlight how a candidate wants to work, the type of roles that they are most suitable in, and how they will fit with the culture of the business.

Recruitment assessment tools: What To Look For

When you are looking for the best recruitment assessment tools, there are some criteria that you should be using to make sure the tools you choose are the best for what you need.

What can the tool show you?

The results you will receive from the test are possibly the most important part of the assessment. Not only do you need to be sure that the test is measuring the specific skills, behaviors or aptitudes that you want to know, but also the depth of the results.

Do you need a full 360 view of the assessments or are you just looking to use a percentile?

How does the tool work?

Some assessments are simple web-based applications where a candidate receives a link and completes a multiple-choice test, while others might be more in-depth.

One of the biggest selling point s of almost every recruitment assessment tool is that it removes the possibility of unconscious bias - but when tools include video submissions or anything else personal, there is a potential for bias to creep in.

How does it fit with your recruitment process?

Recruitment assessment tools - no matter how in-depth they are and how much feedback they can offer - are not a replacement for a full and robust recruitment process. The tools should provide meaningful data that supports and enhances rather than replaces the interview process.

The best result from assessment tools should reduce the pool of available candidates before interview, and ensure those that are put in front of the employer have the right skills, personality and aptitudes that are required for the role.

What is the candidate experience like?

Tools that are straightforward to use for the candidate are always preferable - making a good impression on potential candidates is positive. Finding a test publisher that can provide practice tests and tips, as well as being fair, engaging and simple to use will give candidates a great experience.

A space for feedback, both for the candidate on their results and how they feel about the process, makes the recruitment process and the assessment tools more interactive and clear.

Cost

Free tools are few and far between, especially ones that are reliable and well-backed by science. However, the cost of the tool needs to provide a return on investment.

You can measure this return by working out the reduction of costs associated with the hiring process, especially the costs of rehiring (when a potential candidate doesn't work out, for example).

Evaluating Your Own Recruitment Tools

Using our criteria on what to look for you could try evaluating your own recruitment tools. We've used Picked.Ai as an example template:

What can the tool show you? Picked uses talent assessments, talent sourcing and talent management to help you build the best teams. Recruiters can take advantage of immediate results and automatic reporting with 360 analytics using our comprehensive test suite.

How does the tool work? The assessments are written by certified psychometrician's and are rigorously tested - combining artificial intelligence with machine learning and adaptive technology to provide actionable insights to employers and recruiters.

What is the candidate experience like? Amazing! Picked helps you streamline your hiring process and improves engagement with candidates.

Cost? Recruiters can take advantage of a completely free trial of the Picked test suite to see how it will work for you.

Nikki Dale
Nikki Dale April 06, 2021

Enjoy what you’ve read? Let others know!