Which Assessments Tests Should You Use During Recruiting?

Employers are reeling today. The aftereffects of the pandemic have triggered the Great Resignation, leaving employers around the world scrambling to find skilled workers to fill in gaps left by former employees.

With the job market tighter than we’ve seen in recent memory, it’s tempting to hire the first semi-qualified candidate whose resume finds its way into your inbox. As desperate as you may be, that knee-jerk reaction can have long-term negative consequences. Relying on tried-and-true screening techniques, including assessment tests, can save more aggravation down the road.

Assessment tests cover many different areas, and there is no one-size-fits-all test that covers everything. It’s important to identify the types of skills you are looking for and then find the relevant test. For example, different assessments look at:

  • Leadership and communication skills
  • Team fit and teamwork potential
  • Personality style
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Technical skillsets
  • Cognitive ability

While it is invaluable to have a choice of assessments available, HR professionals are drowning. The overwhelming variety of candidate assessments on the market today and the seemingly similar nature of many of these tests have hiring managers just picking an assessment and using it as a one-size-fits-most tool that, in practice, helps almost no one.

Getting Deeper in Assessment Tests
There are essentially three types of assessment tests.

Technical skills

As you would expect, these tests measure hard skills. If you are hiring an accountant or a marketing manager, you might want to test their proficiency in Microsoft Excel. After interviewing and testing several candidates, you’ll know which job applicant has the strongest application skills, and you can use that information when making a hiring decision.

Some companies do shy away from testing hard skills, recognizing that they can train an otherwise qualified candidate in any software application that is necessary for the job.

Soft Skills

These tests measure skills that may be harder to assess in an interview. Through a series of questions, they identify a candidate’s proficiency in things like communication, time management, adaptability, and openness to feedback.

This can be especially useful when recruiting for sales or leadership positions. HR personnel and hiring managers can easily identify candidates with the set of soft skills that they need for a position.

Cognitive Skills

These assessments provide insight into a candidate’s reasoning ability, perception, memory, verbal and math skills, and problem-solving abilities. They are best suited for filling complex jobs with higher training demands.

Choosing the Right Type of Test

Picking the right type of test for your employees is a critical part of a successful skills assessment program. Pick the wrong type of assessment, and you may end up passing over highly qualified candidates and choosing someone who is a poor fit for the role you envision.

Implementing the Right Skills Assessment Test

There are many different tests, and in our role as a test prep organization, we’ve been able to do our own assessment of many of them.

While it may be tempting to give multiple assessments to job candidates, today’s market is so tight that they may walk away from the opportunity if they feel the barrier to entry is too high. You’re better off picking one test that will assess skills that are most important to success in the role that you are filling.

In the table below, we offer some guidance for some of the todays leading assessments.

Test NameTest TypeOur opinion
Hogan Personality AssessmentsPersonality assessment that assesses both personality traits and motivation factorsGood for companies with a solid HR department and an established, multi-criteria hiring process
Wonderlic TestMeasures cognitive abilityGood for problem-solving roles and for sifting out candidates with weaker cognitive skills
Predictive Index (PI) Cognitive AssessmentIndicates how quickly a candidate can learn new thingsGood tool for rapidly changing industries and roles
CaliperCombines a cognitive ability assessment within the personality profileIdeal for companies who look for a “one-stop-shop” that provides a multi-layered assessment of candidates, or while recruiting  leadership positions
Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT)Assesses critical thinking, problem solving, and ability to learn new thingsGood general evaluation tool for employees at all levels of the organization
Watson GlaserCritical Thinking skills assessmentIdeal for organizations that recruit candidates with a very strong cognitive profile (e.g., lawyers, business analysts, etc.)

Do your research and choose your test carefully. Using an assessment tool that is misaligned with the role or meeting can lead to passing on great candidates and onboarding someone who is a poor fit for the organization and position.

Our testing experts can help guide you to the right assessment. To talk to one of our assessment experts, send us a message to [email protected]