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The Latest in HR Technology and Pre-Employment Testing

6 Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Assessment Provider

Written by Michelle Silverstein

Pre-employment tests help you make more informed hiring decisions by shedding light on your candidates’ skills and abilities. But setting up a testing strategy that produces great results for your organization depends heavily on the assessment provider you choose. If you’re in the market for a pre-employment testing provider, here are some of the questions you should be asking:

 

1. What types of tests do they offer?

Choosing the right assessments is one of the most critical parts of setting up a successful testing strategy. The assessments you choose should be directly tied to the requirements of the job for which you’re hiring. After all, the most important factor to consider when choosing tests is whether or not they are job-related. For this reason, the tests you need may drive which assessment provider you ultimately partner with.

The tests that are right for you depend on the needs of your particular organization. For example, if you are planning to test for a variety of positions within your company, you may want to opt for an assessment provider that offers a comprehensive range of assessments. This would provide you with the flexibility to test for all jobs through the same system, making the process a little more efficient and standardized.

On the other hand, if you want to test for a single job and have a very specific type of assessment in mind, it could make sense to select a specialized testing provider that offers that particular type of test.

 

2. Are the tests validated?

Beyond just the types of tests, you’ll want to make sure that the testing provider can demonstrate that the tests have been validated. In other words, are the tests predictive of job performance? Remember that the main reason any employer would administer pre-employment tests is to drive positive business results, which means that the tests you choose should be validated to predict those outcomes.

When evaluating a testing provider for validity, you mostly need to ensure that the provider can demonstrate that there is data behind the test results. This is often demonstrated through a correlation between the test results and business outcomes, such as lower turnover, higher productivity, or stronger employee performance. Tests are valid if they are able to predict the likelihood that someone will be able to succeed on the job. (Learn more about test validity here.) 

Don’t forget to also make sure that the tests are validated for pre-employment testing. This is an important distinction. Some common tests (like the Myers-Briggs and DISC) provide a lot of value when it comes to team building and professional development once employees are already hired, but they aren’t validated for use in the pre-hire process (and they aren’t legally defensible under EEOC guidelines). If you’re planning to use assessments to make hiring decisions, make sure that they are validated for use in the hiring process.

 

3. Can I interpret the results?

This may seem obvious, but data is only valuable if it can be accurately interpreted. Pre-employment test results run the full gamut from really simple to really complicated. Some assessments provide a single score to summarize an entire set of tests, while other assessments provide near-essays of results for a single assessment. You’ll also find everything in between.

If you have limited time and don’t care to drill down into the details, a simpler score report may be more useful. This could be more practical for companies hiring for limited positions, or hiring for one or two positions regularly. You may not need the extra nuance, and you can get up and running in no time.

Long and detailed score reports may provide more information but only if the employer has the time (and the training) to interpret it correctly. Vendors that provide more complicated assessments often offer courses or certifications for interpreting the results, a necessary step to avoid misinterpreting results. But if you're regularly testing for new roles, or your hiring process involves multiple hiring managers across multiple departments, it may be too cumbersome to train each new stakeholder if a certification is required. 

Of course, there are also score reports that are more middle-of-the-road in terms of detail; the level of detail you need in a score report ultimately depends on your organization's hiring process and business goals. 

 

4. Does it integrate with my other technology?

If you use an ATS or any other type of hiring software, you may want to choose a testing provider that integrates with that platform. Integrations vary but they typically make it possible for employers to view all their hiring information in one place. This can often help to streamline the hiring process, making it easier to manage large applicant pools.

ATS integrations are often useful to larger companies or companies that are hiring for a lot of positions at the same time. Companies with lower hiring volume may not need to prioritize this when selecting a provider.

If you don’t currently use any hiring software (or if you’re planning to use pen and paper tests), then tech integrations shouldn't factor into the selection of your assessment vendor.

 

5. What is the pricing model?

While cost is an obvious factor when choosing between testing providers, it’s also important to consider different pricing models, as these can complement the particular needs of your organization. There are a couple of different pricing models, but two of the most common are:

Pay-per-test: This is fairly straightforward, but the pay-per-test pricing model means you pay a fee every time you administer a test. This pricing model can make sense if you have a limited applicant pool or are hiring for a finite number of positions per year. However, paying per test can make it challenging to predict your testing costs within a budgeting period, since the number can fluctuate if your hiring needs change.

Subscription pricing: This pricing model involves a subscription price for a particular period of time. Within your subscription, you typically have access to unlimited testing. Subscription pricing can help you manage your testing costs up front while maintaining the flexibility of testing more candidates than you originally expected. Another benefit of subscription pricing is that it enables you to test early in the hiring process – with unlimited testing, you don’t need to be stingy about allowing all of your applicants take the assessments, making it easier for you to use tests as an initial screening or filtering stage. It also gives you the option to test candidates at more than one stage in the process, or to administer on-site re-tests to confirm results.

 

6. What kind of customer support is offered?

Any time you’re considering different vendors, it’s worthwhile to ask what type of support you can expect as a customer. Some testing providers offer support via phone or email, some offer dedicated account managers, some offer unlimited training, and some may also offer additional support in the implementation stage. You’ll also want to find out if they provide support for the candidates who will be taking the tests, in case they run into any technical issues. 

The level of support you might need really depends on your circumstances. If your organization is rolling out a testing strategy across multiple jobs and multiple departments, it may benefit you to select a vendor that provides more support rather than less. Similarly if the assessments you select are particularly complicated or difficult to digest, you’d want to make sure that the provider offers sufficient support to help you interpret those results. On the other hand, if your testing needs are simple or you’re hiring for a limited number of positions, support may not be a major determining factor when selecting a testing provider.

Michelle Silverstein

Written by Michelle Silverstein

Michelle Silverstein has over 5 years of experience in content marketing and writing, specializing in B2B and SaaS with a particular focus in the HR space.

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