Pre-Employment Assessments & the Impact on Recruitment

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A reader recently posed the following question:  “I’ve been tasked to investigate pre-employment assessments to help improve recruitment.  What should I look for and what questions should I ask?”

This question is one of “good currency” (meaning this is a HOT TOPIC). Google the term “assessment,” and you will get about 2,500,000,000 possible resources.  Boil that down a bit further, and you will find there are some 800 assessments touted as resources for organizations to “cure” a variety of ills, e.g., reduce attrition, improve quality hiring, build better performing teams, even advance engagement.

There is more than adequate reason for organizations to look at assessments.  Here are a few findings that should get our collective attention:

  • On average, 47% of high-performing employees left their company last year. (2020 State of Talent Optimization, The Predictive Index)
  • $223B is the cost of turnover due to workplace culture over the past five years (SHRM: The High Cost of a Toxic Workplace Culture; 2019 SHRM Omnibus Survey)
  • The cost of replacing an employee can amount to one-half to two times the employee’s salary. (Gallup, This Fixable Problem Costs US Businesses $1 Trillion, March 2019.)
  • “40% of executives hired at the senior level are pushed out, fail, or quit within 18 months.” (Kevin Kelly, former CEO of Heidrick & Struggles)

Candidate Pre-Assessments

Chatting with two colleagues (both assessment experts), asking them their thoughts on how organizations should evaluate assessments, we discussed some valuable insight.  Jackie Dube, SVP, Talent Optimization at the Predictive Index, offered several practical tips on finding the right assessment tool:

“First, you need to find the right tool to support your objective. Get clear about what you need and want to accomplish. Let’s say that you want to improve recruiting. Maybe your challenges are to improve time and efficiency, create a process that enables you to scale to hire more people as you grow, reduce turnover, or simply need to avoid hiring the wrong person.  Look for a talent assessment which will:

  • Allow you, your recruiters and hiring managers to focus on the candidates most likely to be successful.
  • Take out bias by focusing on skills, behaviors, and drives. This approach helps avoid only hiring those that look like ourselves.
  • Define the job expectations and requirements to ensure alignment among all relevant parties. Figure out who expects to have input and who has a vested interest.  The time to align everyone is before interviewing a single applicant.
  • Define the job fully (requirements, deliverables, and expectations) and ensure alignment between the hiring manager and the work team members the new employee will join as well as a stable fit with organizational culture.
  • Collaborate with your legal team on their concerns relative to adverse action and potential legal consequences (if not used consistently and correctly).”

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