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Talent Assessment | 12 Min Read

A Complete Guide to Pre-employment Tests

Introduction

Recruitment and selection processes have evolved in the last decade as the job market has become increasingly candidate-driven. Recruitment is no longer confined to the organization’s wants. Employers who wish to onboard the best talent have adapted a candidate-driven market by creating a faster and easier process to onboard those who may be in discussions with several other companies for job prospects.

The HR landscape is in a continual technological disruption. The use of pre-hire assessment is enabling recruiters and companies to attract and engage a larger candidate pool. With the introduction of pre-employment tests, organizations have begun implementing them in recruitment and selection journeys. There are more aggressive pre-employment skills testing with multiple assignments to ensure whether candidates are the right fit. Pre-employment exams have revolutionized recruitment globally. As per the Talent Assessment Study, the use of online assessments grew by 114% in recruitment and 116% in L&D from 2016-2017. This tremendous growth in adopting the online assessment system points to its effectiveness and efficiency in Human Resource Management (HRM).

Growing Need for Pre-employment Testing

Today, most companies believe they need to hire, not just for the present but also the future. They value people who possess the skills required to perform in more complex future roles. Companies also recognize the inefficiencies of traditional hiring methods. They know that inefficiency derails the hiring strategy and directly affects business outcomes. Additionally, the current volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world requires organizations to up their game by employing effective means of candidate filtration. With organizations opting for remote work indefinitely, hiring the right candidate via in-person interviews has become obsolete. Hence, organizations have been proactively exploring and zeroing in on pre-employment skills tests to ensure they hire only the best. Similar insights have surfaced in our internal report.

potential_candidate_graph

Mercer | Mettl’s Talent Assessment Practices Report 2020 reveals what employers assess before hiring a candidate.

of the organizations wish to probe the personality and motivations that would enable their prospects to face workplace challenges, being the employers’ top priority.

The report also emphasized organizations’ increasing focus on testing the technical skills required to perform a job and a new hire’s role fitment. They also intend to understand how the new hires would perform when given higher roles of responsibility, reflecting their forward-looking approach to hone new hires as future leaders. This is where the pre-employment exam plays a role.

What is a Pre-employment Testing?

A pre-employment testing is a standardized approach to collecting necessary information on job applicants and cross-checking whether the information matches their hands-on skills to make a hiring decision. A pre-employment exam is scientifically built and validated, and evaluates prospects’ various aspects, such as appropriate workplace behaviors, the aptitude needed to fulfill a task, and the skills and knowledge they offer. These insights play a pivotal role in enabling hiring managers to make the right decision. Depending on the kind of test being employed, pre-employment skills tests predict candidates’ on-the-job performance, providing insights into their strengths and weaknesses.

Workforce analytics has become an intriguing area for human resources, yielding to its increased adoption. Herein, a pre-employment test offers a host of tools that companies can implement in their recruitment and selection processes. They not only improve the information flow of top talent but also reduce the friction that may generate between job requirements and hiring decisions. Unlike face-to-face interviews that may be biased, gut-based and subjective, pre-employment skills tests render credible, reliable and comprehensive results that indicate a prospect’s skills and abilities.

A pre-employment test improves the match quality of hired workers. Those hired with job testing have about 15% longer tenures than those hired without testing.

Discretion in Hiring, Harvard Business School

Consequently, pre-hire assessment has shown a correlation with the overall retention rate. Companies that employ these tests during recruitment and selection experienced marked improvement in employee retention. This saves the hiring cost and time spent by HRs in hiring a replacement.

Why do Employers Give Pre-employment Tests?

Employers give pre-employment tests to assess personality traits, workplace-relevant behaviors, domain knowledge, interpersonal and other skills required to successfully complete a job. Pre-employment tests ensure that companies not only hire the right fit but also someone who stays with the organization in the long-run.

Is pre-employment Testing Effective?

Pre-employment testing has proven to be effective for the companies.. It is one of the most significant aspects of an HR’s job because it allows them to make evidence-based hiring decisions. When used with psychometric, cognitive, technical and other screening tools, pre-employment assessment tests quicken recruitment, bring down the turnaround time and enable organizations to shortlist top talent.

Sifting through hundreds of CVs to assess whom to shortlist as per their abilities and knowledge required for the job are critical for HRs. So, organizations must enhance their pre-hire assessment to render accuracy and validity to their recruitment process.

Recruitment requires significant investment when onboarding and training. While good hiring decisions contribute to the organization’s growth, bad hiring decisions adversely impact efficiency, productivity and turnover time. Hence, pre-employment testing becomes crucial in the recruitment and selection process.

What Is the Purpose of an Assessment Test for a Job?

The purpose of a pre-employment assessment test is to provide an eagle’s eye view of a prospect’s role fitment and on-the-job performance through predictive validation. It improves the hiring cycle, provides efficiency to the recruitment and selection process and significantly improves the quality of hires.

Why Do Employers Use Pre-employment Assessment Tests?

Employers Use Pre-employment Assessment Tests

As organizations compete for top candidates, they spend large sums of money, time and other advertising and recruitment resources. Research shows that careful use of talent assessments can increase productivity, cost savings and top talent retention.

Improves the Quality of Hires

Pre-employment exams minutely assess the candidates’ ability to perform in multiple situations. It gives an idea of how individuals respond to certain situations like short deadlines and more.

Martin Luenendonk
Co-founder and CEO, Cleverism

A pre-employment test lays the groundwork for better candidate-job matching as per the job requirements. Personality, cognitive and technical aspects of a prospect, analyzed through online assessments, also improves job satisfaction and reduces the attrition rate. Sharing his experience in combining personality tests with the technical test, Jeremy Harrison, Founder, Hustle Life says, “This way we are able to gauge potential candidates who fit our company culture while also fulfilling technical skills and abilities needed to perform and excel in the job.”

Pre-employment assessment tests such as aptitude tests are positively correlated with on-the-job performance. Similarly, role-based tests assess the prospects’ skills and knowledge. A learning agility test reveals the orientation, intent and speed to grasp new models. These tests assist HRs in improving the hiring quality via better decision-making.

Click Here to Know How to Improve the Quality of Hires

Enhances the Structure and Efficiency of Recruitment

The objective of a pre-employment test is to enhance the recruitment process’s efficiency and effectiveness as it can reach a large pool of job prospects and facilitate the selection process.  The hassle involved in managing interview schedules and the time invested by HRs and candidates often takes a toll on the health of the recruitment cycle. Herein, using pre-employment assessment tests improves the recruitment and selection process by introducing objectivity to the process. Assessing applicants via pre-hire assessment ensures that only serious candidates proceed to the next round. Meanwhile, passive job seekers decide not to invest efforts in appearing for the test. 

A pre-employment exam helps organizations build a better understanding of the new hires enhancing pre-employment skills testing.  A holistic candidate evaluation sheds light on various aspects required to be successful at the job. Hence, pre-hire assessment contributes to reducing the time to hire by ensuring only the relevant candidates get shortlisted, thus proving to be an efficient filtering method.

Super-charge-your-hiring-decisions

What does the Model Predict?

By analyzing competency scores and employees performance data, it predicts organizationally fit candidates and high performers.

Provides a Data-driven and Scientific Selection Criteria

Organizations moving toward data analysis tend to make better hiring decisions, as they are not based on intuition or face-to-face interviews. Recruitment data consists of information such as the number of candidates attempting the assessment, their performance on the test and section-wise scores. Based on the results, employers can determine which candidates meet the industry benchmark. Thus, pre-employment skills tests allow employers to shortlist the most relevant candidates. The test results provide a data-driven approach to recruitment and selection based on which hiring managers shortlist the best candidate. Consolidated assessment reports help HRs make data-backed hiring decisions since industry benchmarks offer valuable insights before making people decisions.

Graph

Hired candidates are well distributed across levels of experience; 60% of the hired pool is from 0 to 4 years of total experience. 

Reduces Turnover Rate

Candidates that are poorly matched to a position drive up costs associated with hiring and onboarding new employees – the hiring process takes longer, and the recruits don't stay – issues that created a cost burden of $19.8 billion a year in each of the 11 countries examined for this research.

Linkedin

Given the many costs that high employee turnover rates can inflict on businesses, employers are always seeking effective methods of reducing them. A growing number of them are turning to the pre-employment screening for the same. Pre-employment screening has shown to have significantly lowered the attrition rate, owing to better matching of candidate interests and job profile. Better information on candidates provides employers with the ability to accurately assess how well-matched a particular candidate is to the job in question, greatly increasing the odds of hiring the right person for the job – one who will become a reliable, long-term employee. Research conducted by the Aberdeen Group shows that companies that use pre-employment screening tests report a 39% lower turnover rate. Pre-employment assessment tests ensure that the job profile accurately matches the prospect’s expectations, ensuring job satisfaction and improved retention. 

Carves a Development Plan for New Hires and Their Growth

Companies need the right tools and infrastructure to develop their people, especially during disruptions. Reskilling a section of the workforce for the future requires building targeted skilling programs that consider specific skills to be developed and employees to be trained. Using online assessments provides focused areas of improvement in the hires and enables the L&D department to work on employees’ development journey.

As per the Talent Assessment Practices Report, many companies say they prefer to develop talent in-house, especially for leadership roles. Hence, organizations employ pre-employment screening to design a more effective talent development strategy and carry out quick, targeted skilling programs. The report shows that assessment tools, despite low usage in employee development, are the most promising. Currently, the use of assessments for learning and development is low. However, we expect the areas of technical competency, behavior and leadership to witness significant growth in the next two years.

Read All You Need to Know About Online Assessments

What are the Different Types of Pre-employment Tests?

There are different types of pre-employment tests such as personality, behavioral, cognitive, background check, physical ability test and drug test. There are several benefits of pre-employment testing. They help in streamlining recruitment and selection, enabling HRs to hire only the top talent.

Types of Pre-employment Tests

Types of Pre-employment Tests

1. Personality Test

The rise of personality testing in the twentieth century was a response to an increase in the number of office workers. HRs started using it to maximize employee potential. The most common type of pre-employment assessment test, personality tests are used to evaluate the human personality to arrive at the right hiring decisions. They are designed to identify patterns in human workplace-relevant characteristics and traits and reflect how people may respond to different workplace situations. These pre-employment exams help build self-awareness, also facilitating team building, thus making pre-employment skills testing efficient and scalable.

Personality assessments intend to uncover the hidden truth about the person. They try to gauge the essence of you and the essence of the job, and you should be matching up those two things in hiring.

Randy Stein
Psychologist, California Polytechnic State University

Click Here to Read an Ultimate Guide to Personality Assessment

Personality tests can be divided into 2 categories:

Positive Personality Traits

Assess & identify key personality traits that can influence cultural fitment, trainability and job performance.

Dark Personality Traits

Measure & identify the key negative traits that impact the safety of employees, customers and work culture as a whole.

2. Behavioral Assessment

A behavioral assessment measures the behavioral competencies of individuals in a simulated work environment. These assessments require individuals to demonstrate behavioral competencies in one or more activities relevant to their job roles and resemble actual organizational situations. Candidates are presented with a series of real work-related scenarios with possible courses of action. They have to select either the best option or rank the possible actions based on their effectiveness. Behavioral assessment tools are validated and reliable. They can be easily customized for all job levels and use cases. They are created on behavioral competencies, further classified into sub-competencies. Once the competencies or competency framework has been defined for a certain job role, experts outline workplace behaviors to be mapped in the assessment.

Behavioral Competencies At Work

An HR's Handbook To Understanding & Implementing Competency Framework in Organizations.

READ NOW

Measure Critical Competencies with the Best Behavioral Assessment Tools

Measure-Critical-Competencies-with-the-Best-Behavioral-Assessment-Tools

3. Cognitive Ability Test

Cognitive ability tests assess individual abilities such as critical thinking, verbal reasoning, numerical ability, problem-solving, decision-making, etc. One of the most critical pre-employment tests, they are an indicator of a person’s intelligence quotient (IQ). The test results predict on-the-job performance and assess current and potential employees across job levels. They also test role-specific IQs across multiple job functions. This type of pre-employment exam helps HRs in improving the quality of hires., proving to be one of the most effective methods of pre-employment skills testing.

Cognitive intelligence is one of the best predictors of training proficiency and work performance, particularly in complex jobs, Cognitive ability and job performance are 84% correlated, 80% of fortune 500 companies use aptitude tests to screen candidates during hiring

According to Mercer | Mettl’s Assessing Cognitive Competencies at Work, the correlation between cognitive intelligence and work performance is at least 51% and can go as high as 84%. High intelligence is an indicator of success on the job measured based on evaluating the performance on tasks similar to those encountered on the job.

Core-Competencies

4. Technical Assessments

Technical assessments test the in-depth knowledge of the person. The questions in a technical assessment are based on the skill requirement of that particular role. The competencies in technical assessment vary with the job role, job function and industry. Technical assessments can be divided into three categories:

i) Coding Tests

Coding tests evaluate the technical know-how of prospects. Candidates are assessed on languages and technologies such as Java, C++, Python, R, Oracle DBA, SQL, etc.

Back-end-Development

ii) Role-based Tests

These pre-employment tests are curated as per job functions and job roles. The competency frameworks in each vary accordingly. They test the expertise job prospects possess in their domain. Some of the job functions that these pre-employment assessment tests cater to include:

Role-based-Tests

iii) Language Proficiency Assessment

English language proficiency measures an individual’s fluency, pronunciation, grammar and listening comprehension. It plays a crucial role in effective communication. Some roles require professionals to perform in the workplace with acceptable communication skills. Language proficiency has quickly become among the most important criteria in the hiring process. However, the proficiency level required may be different, depending on the company or position. English proficiency types of pre-employment testing act as a great filtration tool for prospects, especially in customer-facing roles and industries such as sales, BPO, hospitality, branding, etc. These functions require employees to have excellent communication skills when dealing with clients. Herein, English language proficiency assessments ensure that only the top talent gets shortlisted.

5. Background Check

Background investigations and reference checks are employers’ principal means of securing information about potential hires from sources other than the applicants themselves. A background investigation generally involves determining whether an applicant may be unqualified for a position due to a record of a criminal conviction, motor vehicle violations, poor credit history, or misrepresentation regarding education or work history. There are various benefits of pre-employment testing using background check.  A reference check generally involves contacting applicants’ former employers, supervisors, co-workers and educators to verify previous employment and obtain information about their knowledge, skills, abilities and character.

Common reasons behind conducting background check include:

  • Safety
  • Legal Compliance
  • Liability Issues
  • Cultural Fitment

6. Physical Ability Test

A physical ability test (PAT) ensures that your new hires match the physical capabilities that the job demands. Adding this layer to the pre-employment screening process renders accuracy to hiring, reducing bad hires and turnover rates. This pre-employment assessment test upturns safety in the workplace by bringing down injuries and costs incurred in the treatment.

Physical ability tests provide employers with an indication of an individual’s physical performance capabilities while assisting in reducing claims costs.

Risk Control Management Guide

The test’s benchmark can vary depending on the job requirement. However, it is to be noticed that this pre-employment test considers the medical history and general musculoskeletal screening before the prospect gets hired. This provides a baseline in case such information is needed at a later time during emergencies.

7. Drug Test

A pre-employment drug test determines if a job prospect uses any illegal substances or medication. If workplace safety is of the utmost importance to a company, then conducting pre-employment assessment tests helps mitigate drug misuse risks. Pre-employment drug testing is critical for occupations that place employees in safety-sensitive environments. It can help reduce the number of costly compensation claims involving drug or alcohol use.

Urine and blood tests are the most commonly used tests when prospects are screened for illegal drugs or alcohol use. Urinalysis detects the presence of drug residues in the body after the drug’s effects have worn off. Drugs screened in this pre-hire assessment include amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates, nicotine and alcohol.

How to Conduct Pre-employment Tests

How-to-Conduct-a-Pre-employment-Test

Competency Framework Creation

The first step of a pre-employment assessment test is understanding the demand of the job role. Job requirements vary from entry-level, to individual contributor, to mid-senior and senior management. Hence, a clear job description is pivotal in curating the right competency framework. Once the job description is ready, experts map the requirement with the relevant job-related skills, creating a holistic competency framework to map the job performance.

Assessment Tool Mapping

Once the experts have the competency framework ready, they understand your requirements to provide the best pre-employment assessment test. The assessment blueprint is carefully mapped with various tools, such as personality, behavioral, coding, non-technical, etc.

Assessment Tool Mapping

Questions and Difficulty Level Selection

Pre-employment assessment tests can be easily customized. Alternatively, questions can be selected from a vast question bank as per the competencies to be mapped. There are three levels of difficulty set by experts- low, medium and high. The difficulty level for each section of the assessment can be customized.  A good pre-hire assessment supports a wide range of question types, such as MCQ, long answer type, flowchart, audio and video recording, etc. Each question or section can be allotted a different grade and weightage.

Questions and Difficulty Level Selection

Online Assessment Configuration

This involves either bulk uploading your questions on the pre-hire assessment platform or creating an online questionnaire from the existing question bank, followed by setting up of grading logic. Once the assessment has been configured, hiring managers share the test link with the prospects and send them a reminder. Herein, the order of sections is determined, and anti-cheating controls can be selected.

Report and Benchmark Configuration

The pre-employment assessment test reports provide a holistic view of job prospects. They offer insights into individual performance in different sections, strengths and weaknesses. This enables hiring managers to make informed decisions, apart from creating a quality talent pool for future use. 

Report and Benchmark Configuration

How to Choose the Right Pre-employment Testing Tool and Vendor

Choosing the right pre-employment assessment test vendor can be a daunting task, especially with a host of available solutions. However, to make your search simpler, we have created a checklist to help you zero in on the right one:

Skill Library

Skills are the currency of the future. Understanding your current needs is good, but knowing the future demands is crucial to stay relevant in a complex and uncertain world, undergoing continual business disruption. Therefore, a partner that offers you a broad spectrum of upcoming skills and points out the ones that are to become obsolete is important. For instance, with Artificial Intelligence taking businesses by storm, many repetitive and manual tasks will become redundant. In such a scenario, you need expertise in future-proofing your workforce.

Question Bank and Multiple Question Types

A great pre-hire assessment offers an exhaustive list of questions mapped to skills, competencies and sub-competencies. Herein, SMEs with years of experience curate specialized questionnaires that organizations can easily pick and choose to map relevant skill sets required for any role. A pre-employment exam supports various questions types, such as knowledge-based and application-based questions that provide you the functionality to add multiple choice questions, media upload, long and short answer questions, coding simulators, etc. Hence a good vendor’s pre-employment skills tests offer reliable, valid and credible results consistently, making the hiring process smoother, faster and more efficient.

High-Quality of Pre-hire Assessment

Measuring the quality of assessments by yourself can be daunting, especially when venturing into uncharted territory. To ensure you have a quality pre-employment assessment test provider on board, start with testing the assessment’s validity and reliability. Additionally, get help from consultants or their Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs) to understand their approach and how they can cater to you. Lastly, take a demo to comprehend the uniqueness of the questionnaire.

Customization and Randomization

Customization and randomization of questions are important aspects to consider if you already have an internal competency framework. Good pre-hire assessment providers have SMEs who help you customize your questionnaire as per the competency and sub-competency requirements. Such a platform allows you to even upload your questionnaire. In the case of bulk hiring, the option to randomize questions will allow you to maintain the difficulty level and the test’s integrity.

Easy-to-Use Platform

A good pre-hire assessment platform is extremely user-friendly. One demo of such a tool allows you to easily understand the basics of uploading the questions. A hassle-free pre-employment assessment test platform is easy to navigate and comprehend. It makes the recruitment cycle seamless and provides a seamless candidate experience, also catering to a candidate-driven market.

Online Proctoring

Completely evolved pre-employment skills tests have advanced anti-cheating measures such as three-step authentication, secure browser and browsing tolerance. The authentication ensures that only a legitimate candidate is taking the assessment; secure browser shuts down all background apps and browsing tolerance red flags any instances wherein the prospect tries to navigate outside the window. While evaluating a pre-employment screening tool, ensure it provides live, auto and manual proctoring features, backed by artificial intelligence.

24x7 Support

Customer support is one of the most important aspects while shortlisting a pre-employment screening vendor. Especially for organizations shifting from traditional face-to-face interviews or pen-and-paper assessments, some guidance is needed to help them comprehend the functioning of an online platform. Having a customer team that patiently helps you resolve your queries and is available round the clock for both the organization and candidates globally is important.

Effectiveness of Pre-employment Test

Reliability is a prerequisite to validity. Take the example of dart players. In repeated trials, they continue to miss the mark consistently by about two inches. Of course, this implies a reliable aim. Each shot hits the board in a region two inches from the target. It is difficult not to question their validity as professionals, considering they do not hit the bull’s eye, as is the aim of all professional dart players when compared with their peers. Reliability and validity coincide, but reliability by no means indicates validity.

Effectiveness of Pre-employment Test

Reliability

Reliability is an indicator of an assessment’s ability to produce consistent results over time, and within the assessment, among the different factors tested. Naturally, a high reliability score means the test produces consistent results over time. However, it is important to understand that high reliability does not mean that the test gives the right results. Accuracy of a test, or how exactly the test measures what needs to be measured, is reflected by a test’s validity score. An assessment’s reliability can be evaluated in many ways. One way is to measure the consistency of scores obtained by the same individual across items within the same test. This is commonly tested through a statistical indicator called Cronbach alpha, a measure of inter-item correlation. The Cronbach alpha coefficient ranges from .00 to 1.00. A perfectly reliable test would have a reliability coefficient of 1.00, and a completely unreliable test would have a reliability coefficient of .00.  Reliability can be divided into the following categories:

i) Test-retest Reliability

Test-retest reliability measures if the test procures similar results when conducted over a period on the same group of people. This is followed by a test-retest correlation between the two scores. The results should indicate that the tool represents consistent results considering the variables remain constant.

ii) Alternate or Parallel From Validity

Alternate form reliability occurs when an individual participating in a research or testing scenario is given two d­­ifferent versions of the same test at different times. The scores are then compared to evaluate if it is a reliable form of testing.

iii) Inter-rater Reliability

Inter-rater reliability (IRR) is the level of agreement between raters or observers. If everyone agrees, IRR is 1 (or 100%), and if everyone disagrees, IRR is 0 (0%). This form of reliability addresses the consistency of implementing a particular rating system.

iv) Internal Consistency Reliability

Internal consistency is a measure based on the correlations between different items on the same test. It measures whether several items that propose to measure the same general construct produce similar scores. Internal consistency ranges between negative infinity and one.

Validity

Kelly (1927, p. 14) formulated the concept of validity, who stated that a test is valid if it measures what it claims to measure. For example, a test of intelligence should measure intelligence and not something else (such as memory). This is not the same as reliability, which is the extent to which a measurement gives consistent results. Within validity, the measurement does not always have to be similar, as it does in reliability. However, just because a measure is reliable, it is not necessarily valid. E.g., a scale that is five pounds off is reliable but not valid. A test cannot be valid unless it is reliable. Validity (similar to reliability) is a relative concept; validity is not an all-or-nothing idea. There are many different types of validity.

Types_of_validity

Content Validity

Content validity or content-related validity refers to how well a test measures its intended behavior. It requires the use of recognized subject-matter experts to evaluate whether test items assess defined content and more rigorous statistical tests. It is most often addressed in academic and vocational testing, where test items need to reflect the knowledge required for a given topic area such as a job skill (e.g., accounting). It is divided into face and construct validity.

i) Face Validity

Face validity refers to the degree to which an assessment or test subjectively appears to measure the variable or construct it is supposed to measure. In other words, face validity is when an assessment or test appears to do what it claims to do.

ii) Construct Validity

Construct signifies that the test is precisely measuring the construct it claims to measure. Construct validity is used in education, psychology and social sciences. There is no single method to determine the construct validity of a test. Instead, different methods and approaches are combined to present the overall construct validity of a test. For example, factor analysis and correlational methods can be used.

Criterion Validity

Criterion validity or criterion-related validity measures how well one measure predicts an outcome for another measure. A test has this type of validity if it is useful for predicting performance or behavior in another situation (past, present, or future). For example:

A job applicant takes a performance test during the interview process. If this test accurately predicts how well the employee will perform on the job, the test is said to have criterion validity. It can be divided into predictive and concurrent validity.

i) Predictive Validity

This tells us how precisely a tool predicts a specific outcome and is the greatest possible extent of validation. A good tool will be the one that predicts how well an individual will perform their job.

Predictive Validity

ii) Concurrent Validity

Concurrent validity indicates the degree of agreement between two different assessments. Generally, one assessment is new, while the other is well-established and has already been proven to be valid. It can also refer to the practice of testing two groups simultaneously or asking two different groups of people to take the same test.

Future of Pre-employment Assessment Test

The nature and variety of pre-employment skills tests have evolved considerably in recent years as analytics and data have gained importance in the business environment. Formal pre-employment screening is being used to hire new employees, evaluate current employees for different roles, identify employees with high leadership potential, understand talent strengths and gaps and develop employees’ long-term value. Advances in technology mean that more tools are accessible online, on-demand, with immediate reporting and feedback.

The World Economic Forum’s ‘Future of Jobs and Skills’ report, which analyses the employment market outlook to 2020 and beyond, identified a range of skills that will become more or less important as the labor market changes with technological developments – among them being advanced computing and robotics. The skills to be replaced, automated or simply enhanced by technology will become less of a differentiator, and their demand would gradually decline. Basic service and planning tasks will, for example, become more automated, reducing the need for a workforce. 

Conversely, certain human capabilities, such as creativity and complex problem-solving, may become even more important. Equally, the rapidly changing work environment, running on many different inputs and channels of information, will place increased emphasis on human, emotional intelligence and the resilience to cope up with ever-changing demands.

Organizations must seek help from experts who create dynamic competency frameworks and suggest the best pre-employment assessment tests to effectively gauge the new-age skills to ensure their relevance to future skills. Technology will continue to spark revolutionary changes in pre-employment evaluation methods and practices. As hiring practices span global markets, human resource professionals will also have to become familiar with additional laws and regulations. Perhaps most important, early adopters of new technology should be aware that innovation might undermine rather than help an organization to make effective, defensible hiring decisions without backed by sufficient research. 

The growth of AI techniques and their applications will allow for a more sophisticated analysis of work-based assessments. Such techniques may also be applied to rich data sources such as video interviewing to automate scoring and glean greater insight than a typical manager might do when evaluating such content. More widely, the field of analytics is likely to affect how data is digested throughout the recruitment funnel. This will not only bring about greater effectiveness of the traditional online assessment data but other inputs from work-related social media channels.

Success Stories of Organizations that Have Implemented Pre-employment Test

#SuccessStory1: How TVS Motor Company Ltd. Adopted Mercer | Mettl’s Global Recruitment Solutions

About TVS Motors

India’s third-largest two-wheeler manufacturer with footprints in 90 countries with over 10000 employees, deals in automobile, aviation, education, electronics, energy, finance, housing, insurance, investment, and logistics, among others.

Business Requirements

  • A structured and efficient global recruitment solution for lateral and campus hiring
  • Customized assessments for multiple job functions with expertise in technical and behavioral skills
  • Consistency in assessments with real-time, detailed and granular reports for each candidate
  • A user-friendly platform for candidates and the assessor

 Challenges

  • Non-scalable assessment tools and inconsistency in the reports
  • The lack of data privacy and management
  • Insufficient tools to assess hands-on skills
  • The unavailability of instantaneous and comprehensive reports
  • The absence of proctoring option measures
  • Inconvenient and unsustainable platform
  • The unavailability of measures to engage with a large number of candidates

Solution

  • Flexible and scalable: A cloud-based platform accessible to candidates and assessors anytime and anywhere, removing geographical and time constraints
  •  A one-stop shop for pre-hire assessment: An extensive library of various question types, including MCQs, coding simulators and case studies, etc.

TVS Solution

  • AI-powered anti-cheating solution: Online proctoring to eliminate malpractices and assess real-time behavior of candidates from anywhere
  • The power of customization: Highly qualified subject-matter experts and consultants to tailor-make pre-hire assessments and dashboard as per requirements

Numbers

  • Personalized and analytical reports: An in-depth report to identify specific skills and qualities required in the role

Screenshot 3

Impact

Highly customer-centric and technically qualified platform with 24*7 support to deliver the required results from the talent assessment process.

Increase in the on Job Performance

Drop in the Cost & Time Per Hire

  • Increased efficiency in shortlisting candidates with red flagging of all forms of malpractices
  • Growth in the number and the quality of hires, along with better geographical outreach in a hassle-free manner
  • Efficiently assessed candidates on more than 300 skills and competencies and hired candidates in diversified roles, such as:

 

Mettl’s suite of products has enabled TVS to improve its current legacy assessment process by augmenting it with contemporary tools from Mettl’s library. Mettl platform’s unique features and assessments have created an ongoing association of over three years with TVS. TVS has now introduced Mettl’s tools to its people development processes, too, beginning F.Y 2020-21.”

#SuccessStory2: How IVP Identified Competent Coders During Campus Hiring By Using Mercer | Mettl

About Indus Valley Partners

Founded in 2000, Indus Valley Partners (IVP) is a leading technology solution and consulting service provider in the global asset management industry. It provides viable asset management solutions, such as regulatory reporting, portfolio analytics and data management to a diverse clientele, including highly successful global private equity firms and hedge funds.

Business Requirements

IVP was on the lookout for talented coders. Finding skilled coders was a tedious task when interviewing a large number of candidates. As an organization, it sought a tool that could make pre-employment skills tests efficient, easy and accurate. The company’s primary objective was to ensure the recruitment process’s efficacy in properly screening and interviewing each candidate, although the number of candidates was large.

The company wanted viable solutions to several challenges, as mentioned below:

IVP Business requirement

Along with staffing issues, the organization’s human resource managers were seeking a comprehensive strategy to:

  • Simplify the entire technical hiring process with pre-employment exams
  • Evaluate candidates’ coding skills on various parameters
  • Assess programming and algorithm design skills with utmost accuracy
  • Find a streamlined approach to shorten the overall time, effort and bandwidth required to deploy the workforce to administer each step of the pre-hire assessment process manually
  • Establish a robust reporting system to curate every participant’s test results with an expansive, year-wise and month-wise comparison

Solution

Mercer | Mettl’s coding pre-hire assessment was the ideal screening tool to ensure the organization only invested time interviewing candidates meeting the prerequisites. Our vast library of coding MCQs and simulators enabled IVP to shortlist candidates for the desired skills in the shortest possible time-frame.

  • Recruiters at IVP could automate and scale up the screening process via technical pre-hire evaluation assessments
  • They could choose from a set of standardized tests and custom-build their tests to provide coding assessments
  • The coding/technical pre-employment exam helped shortlist candidates aligned with the organizational requirements
  • With its quick turnaround time, the support team successfully integrated Mercer | Mettl’s assessments onto the campus infrastructure

The reports were now comprehensive, providing a summary of each candidate’s test performance with an in-depth analysis of the response on every question, code playback, and the test log.

Impact

The company observed tremendous improvement in the hiring process after Mercer | Mettl’s intervention.

Some key results that helped the company to progress toward the objective were:

  • The organizational efficiency, while conducting technical hiring, increased by up to 50%
  • An extensive library of coding simulators enabled better screening and faster hiring of the talent matching the profile
  • An extensive library of coding simulators enabled better screening and faster hiring of the talent matching the profile
  • The MD and directors observed a notable increase in the efficiency of the process
  • SMEs involved in the hiring process communicated their positive feedback on the relevance of questions and timely support from the Mercer | Mettl team
  • Mercer | Mettl’s innovative pre-employment skills tests have enabled IVP to move from an unstructured and time-consuming screening to a more rational, data-backed approach

The turnaround time has been fantastic from day one till now. It has been two years now, and we have had no complaints about the turnaround time of their account managers. We started by discussing the online assessment tool. Later on, we went on to inquire about other products and services provided by them.

Sweta Mishra
Director HR, IVP

Conclusion

Pre-employment assessment tests will increasingly be used at the pre-hiring stage, to onboard and then develop, creating a candidate ‘passport’ of sorts. What is likely to continue over the long-term is an ever-increasing focus on making the assessment experience more immersive. The opportunity lies with assessment designers to harness these technologies and use their creativity to transform the assessment experience.

How can Mercer | Mettl Help

With over 8+ years of experience, Mercer | Mettl’s in-house team of world-class subject-matter experts have curated the best pre-employment skills tests. Expertise in the space has enabled us to devise customized competency frameworks, redundant and upcoming skills, efficient job and competency mapping to suggest the best pre-hire assessments. Mercer | Mettl has helped numerous organizations streamline their recruitment and selection processes, assess hands-on knowledge and evaluate workplace-relevant behaviors to make data-driven people decisions. We offer the best tools in the industry to cater to all your hiring needs.

Mercer | Mettl’s Holistic Pre-Employment Tests Give You a Comprehensive Picture of an Employee

Psychometric Assessments

Mercer | Mettl’s psychometric pre-hire evaluation assessments help you hire the right cultural fit, with a blend of assessments tuned to find the perfect job fit. We design an optimum test based on the right question types and psychometric tools for precise evaluation of competencies. While positive personality traits evaluate cultural fitment, trainability and performance, dark personality traits identify negative traits that impact workplace safety and culture.

Behavioral Assessments

Mercer | Mettl’s behavioral pre-hire evaluation assessments measure behavioral competencies in a simulated work environment. These assessments require candidates to demonstrate their behavioral traits in an activity that resembles an actual organizational situation. Our inventory houses numerous online and offline behavioral tools such as situational judgment tests, inbox simulation, case study simulators, behavioral interviews, group discussions, etc.

Coding Tests

Mercer | Mettl’s coding pre-hire evaluation assessments offer a comprehensive evaluation approach of a candidate’s technical talent. Our unique coding simulations and coding assessment platform– Mercer | Mettl I/O  – comprises all the needed features and options to comprehensively assess a coder. It is web-based and factors in everything that impacts the candidate’s assessment.

Role-based Tests

Mercer | Mettl caters to every job role and level. To ensure that only the best get selected, we have created pre-employment exams for functions such as HR, finance, accounting, marketing, etc. Our assessments are being used in industries such as BPO, retail, media, law, etc. Our experts have spent years honing the efficiency and credibility of these pre-employment screening tests to establish the best hiring practices.

Spoken English Evaluator

Precise AI-based speech technology powers SpeechX, a video-proctored assessment that analyzes a job prospect’s ability to listen and articulate clearly. It reviews linguistics to identify correct and incorrect information in the candidate’s speech and detects errors in reading sentences and extempore speech. SpeechX uses Proprietary Speech Analytics and Carnegie Speech’s patented Speech Recognition Engine and Pinpointing Technology. It is combined with proprietary voice analytics.

What Makes Mercer | Mettl Different

Holistic Evaluation

Our pre-employment skills tests cater to the four aspects for any job role, i.e., personality, behavior, aptitude and functional knowledge. These form the core to any pre-hire assessment. Mercer | Mettl’s assessments evaluate the cultural fitment, workplace-relevant behavior, critical thinking ability and the domain knowledge of the prospects, with all-in-one assessment, making it easier for HRs to narrow their search for the best talent.

Supports Multiple Question Types

Mercer | Mettl gives you access to a comprehensive repository of question formats, such as MCQs, charts, formula and diagram-based questions, equations, etc. With the option of uploading questions in 26 different formats, companies can scale their pre-employment assessment test as per their needs. The variety of available formats accommodate a range of question types.  Knowledge and application-based questions, complex formulae writing sections, coding, case study and other simulators allow employers to evaluate candidates on various parameters. 

Customized to the Client’s Requirements

Mercer | Mettl provides tailored pre-employment assessment tests matching organizational objectives. If you don’t wish to use our pre-built question library, our SMEs will help you identify the core competencies and sub-competencies and assist you in creating customized assessments on a need basis.

Online Proctoring

Mettl’s AI-powered proctoring platform helps conduct a seamless and effortless pre-hire assessment. ProctorPLUS is one such cutting-edge tool driven by AI to provide a holistic solution that ensures the integrity of your assessments, with a 95% accuracy rate in preventing cheating. It comes pre-integrated with Mettl’s online assessment platform and can also be easily integrated onto any human resource management system.

Report and Analytics

Mercer | Mettl’s pre-hire assessment reports are comprehensive, providing a summary of each candidate’s test performance with an in-depth analysis of the response on every question, code playback, and test log. It allows employers to compare a prospect’s performance with industry benchmarks. The reports offer insights into the sectional and difficulty-level analysis, strengths and weaknesses, competency-wise analysis, global benchmarks, etc.

Information Security

With ISO 27001, ISO 9001 certification and GDPR compliance, Mercer | Mettl ensures top-notch safety of your internal data. We define access rights, have log reports and audit trails. Our bi-annual vulnerability and penetration testing and frequent internal and external audits ensure that your data is safe and can be accessed anytime and anywhere.

Data Points

Originally published September 13 2020, Updated November 18 2020

Megha Singh

Written by

A writer at heart, Megha has been in the content industry for 4 years. Starting her career from print, her journey spans across IT, legal and consulting industries. She has been associated with Mercer | Mettl as Assistant Manager, Content Marketing for 2 years.

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