Ask Sheri

Hiring Assessments

Sep 30th, 2019

I'm currently in transition and have been interviewing at various employers in the Twin Cities. I hold a Bachelors Degree and 25+ years in my field. I'm always amazed at the differences in company hiring processes, where some employers take only weeks to make their decision while others months. I've also been recently asked to take certain hiring assessments, as part of the process. I've now completed the Hogan Cultural Inventory and the Wonderlic, as well as I was asked to participate in an onsite, full-day Leadership Assessment at a third party vendor. What is your view of these tools? Other hiring assessments? Is it legal for employers to remove candidates if they score poorly on the assessment? Can I legally ask for my results of these assessments?

Sheri's Response

Well I can certainly empathize with your interviewing frustration. I was having lunch recently with a local HR executive and we dicussed that employers house open positions for only 48 hours now and then close the acceptance of further applications. The rate of resumes sent in response to one exempt level opportunity is now averaging 80-100 per day. In markets with higher unemployment rates, the average is 140 per day. This volume of candidates in the employer market creates many challenges for organizations and specifically, recruiting teams.

Based on high volume, companies are choosing various steps in which to weed out applicants, the first typically being their recruitment software. Applicants are forced to apply online, with several daunting steps, so that the human sourcing requirement is minimized. The most popular recruitment/talent management softwares today include: Taleo, Eboss, Eclipse, and Darwin. If your resume makes it through the software, you may be called upon for a phone interview or possibly sent online assessments and/or an electronic application. Online assessments can measure cognitive ability, integrity, job knowledge, personality, skill tendency, and mental agility. Hogan Instruments continues to gain popularity in 'cultural fit', as is several cultural instruments given by Profiles International. In the sales arena, Caliper and Sales Success Profile have high usage and determine if candidates have the selling ability to gain new customers. Other employers still search for integrity and honest applicants and administer honesty tests such as the Step One Survey. Berke instruments state that their tool measures talent, personality and intelligence, all in one tool.

Industrial Psychologists suggest validated assessments improve hiring, reduce employee turnover and improve bottom line results. Validity comes in two forms: predictive and reliable validity. If the instrument measures statistically proven validity in these two areas, it is legal for the employer to use as a factor in hiring decisions. Now most employers strive to find the most qualified candidates, taking into account all process steps. The online assessment score should be factored into the decision and not simply be the deciding factor. Rarely will an employer share that you were pulled 'out of the running' based on your score, you are most likely to hear "while your qualifications were impressive, our final candidate more closely matched the position qualifications". Having said this, it may be almost impossible to receive your score on a hiring assessment or know if it was indeed your score that blocked you from obtaining an offer. If you are rejected, I would still encourage you to contact the hiring manger and ask specifically where you fell short and the final candidate won out.

Good luck with your job search and overall try and keep a positive attitude. The right job fit is out there for you, as it is also up to you to institute your own due dilligence of employers.