5 Reasons All Employers Should Test Candidates

May 18, 2016

Hiring someone based on what their skills and experience are on paper is just not enough to ensure a successful hire. That is why we've discussed the top reasons why employers should test its candidates on tech assessments platforms like ShowTech (formerly Technically Compatible/Tungl).

Imagine you are buying a car. Except instead of going to a garage, testing out a load of different cars and getting as much information as possible, you get a load of brochures with descriptions of cars that fit your criteria, narrow it down to the one that looks best and make your purchase solely on your impression from the brochure.

Well, this is pretty much the equivalent of hiring someone based on what they look like on paper. You may luck out, but the high probability is that you won’t. There’s too much money at stake in both cases to take that gamble. Here’s why testing is so important.

It helps you focus on what you need and removes filtering bias

‘We need a marketing person’. ‘We need a developer’. Sure, but what are you after exactly? You cast a wide net out to catch a wide range of candidates. You know you want an executive but are you after an ‘early executive’ to train or an ‘experienced executive’ to hit the ground running? You filter a wide range of CVs and interview a wide range of potential employees. You rely on gut instinct and the process of elimination to make a decision on what and who is best.

What testing does is help you prioritise what you require in the role. Which skills are absolutely necessary and which are just nice-to-haves. Devising a test for prospective employees allows you to focus on the aptitudes you really need to achieve your business goals.

It’s then much easier, and more objective, to select who you discard and who you progress, saving you time and money.

It measures strengths and weaknesses

Using testing provides you with a skills benchmark and a clear criteria of how to measure the suitability of a candidate. Making each candidate take the same test means you are able to measure strengths, weaknesses and suitability against this benchmark, reducing the risk of employing someone who can’t perform at the level you require.

Just remember, identifying weaknesses is not necessarily a bad thing, or indeed a reason to discard someone. You can use it as a way of understanding where their potential lies and what developments are needed to make them successful in the long term.

IT validates skills

A Career Builder survey found that 57% of job seekers embellish their skill set on their CV. This issue is, apparently, most prevalent in the Financial Services, Leisure and Hospitality, IT, and Health Care sectors. First Advantage (a background checking specialist) also found that approximately a quarter of CV inaccuracies could be categorised as ‘major’ and likely to be serious cause for concern for an employer. A quarter!

Unless you moonlight as a private investigator, it’s not always possible to determine if someone has been liberal with the truth just by talking through their competencies, so what better way of proving competency than setting them a practical skills-based test to see if they’re actually suitable for the role?

It provides a quick (and often cheaper) filtering mechanism, which requires less resource

Reading and assessing CVs and then interviewing candidates who might look good on paper, but who don’t actually know their Java from their elbow, is costly and time consuming.

Barclays bank filter their first-stage recruitment with online numerical reasoning tests, which are completed remotely. Advancements in technology for remote testing, such as browser detection (sneaky Googling) and proctoring, also mean that the prevalence of cheating on remote tests is significantly reduced. They are increasingly available across all devices too, which means candidates can complete them anywhere, anytime, providing greater flexibility and overall candidate experience.

Sending an online test to all applicants before the selection process even begins, means the test will do much of the filtering work for you. It will determine a candidate’s attitude towards the job and save you from wasting time with those who are uninterested, uncommitted or unengaged. In other words you’re left with a readymade shortlist.

It reduces the risk of a bad hire

The consequences of making a bad hire are huge. The financial costs can run into tens of thousands of pounds depending on the level of bad employee. An ill-fitting employee can also have a negative impact on the morale and productivity of your whole team, so getting it right is crucial. Pre-hire testing gives you the rich data you need to make well-informed hiring decisions.

Consequently when you’re next hiring, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do they have valid and relevant experience?
  2. Are they the right fit for the team?
  3. Can we know for sure?

Testing pre-hire is vitally important in assessing suitability and compatibility to the role that you are advertising, whether you are recruiting for a system programmer, a sales manager or a marketing executive. A test, or a combination of, psychometric, logic and reasoning, cognitive, strategic and/or soft skills testing, are all crucial to determining the right candidate for the job.

It means you know you’re only spending time with your strongest candidates.

To chat more about how you can implement technical testing using our ShowTech tech assessment platform, get in touch with us today.

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