More companies are using preemployment assessment tests

More employers want candidates to prove they can do the job before they get hired, rather than just relying on their resumes, education and credentials.

The Society for Human Resources Management recently surveyed about 1,700 human resources professionals about preemployment assessments, and 56% responded that their organization uses them in the hiring process.

The SHRM survey also found a willingness on the part of employers to consider candidates without a college degree or minimum years of experience if they perform well in preemployment assessments.

“Those would be things like simulation tests, work samples, writing samples, job knowledge tests. There are even some companies that are using personality tests and culture fit assessments,” said Emily Dickens, SHRM’s chief of staff and head of government affairs.

In fact, 79% of those HR leaders surveyed said these scores are just as, or more important than, traditional criteria in hiring decisions, and 36% said a job candidate who scores high on an assessment but doesn’t meet the minimum years of experience is very likely to make it onto the list of final candidates.

Preemployment assessments can also increase diversity.

“If you use these assessments properly, the candidate will understand more clearly what the job is about as well as understand more clearly what the culture of the organization is. And that allows, I think, more diverse candidates to now be introduced to workplaces that will actually work for them,” Dickens said.

According to the survey, 23% of HR professionals said the diversity of their hires has improved using these assessments, and among those using them, one in four plan to expand their use.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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