5 Things to Consider When Selecting a Talent Assessment

May 11 / Renu Gundala
Candidate talent assessments can help you make an informed recruitment decision and hire with confidence. Pre-hire testing allows recruiters to gain an understanding of a candidate's potential, including their skills, abilities and personality traits - details that go far beyond a CV.

But with countless tests available (including psychometric tests, technical/skills tests and behavioural assessments/work sample exercises), you may be overwhelmed by the number of choices. It is not only important to select the right test so you can find the top talent with which to fill a vacancy in your organisation, but by picking the wrong test you risk creating biases in the hiring process or a negative candidate experience which can reflect poorly on your company’s brand.

Here are five things you should consider when selecting a talent assessment to help you make an informed decision about which tools you include in your recruitment process.

1. The right test for the right purpose

To effectively utilise testing, you need to look at what skills or behaviours each test assesses, how these are measured and how they match to the position you are recruiting for. Ask yourself: does the test you have selected assess the skills you’re looking for? Is it designed to be used as a standalone process to screen applications or to complement interviews? Is the test meant to be used beyond the recruitment stage of the hiring process; for example, for onboarding?

On the flip side, you need to consider what areas a tool does not test for. Not all tests provide the same data!

One way to narrow down your options is to define what attributes you are looking for in a candidate and select a testing tool that measures those skills or behaviours, or search by job function and industry sector. For example, if you are looking to hire a web designer, you may wish to use a technical and skills test to understand their knowledge of application development and coding languages.

You also need to select a test of the right duration depending on what stage of the recruitment process it will be used. A 10-minute test could be used to initially screen candidates but save an hour-long test in conjunction with interviews for the final shortlist of top talent.

2. Unintended Consequences

If you are striving for a diverse pool of candidates, you need to address adverse impact: unfair or biased procedures in the selection process. Adverse impact is often an unintended consequence of talent assessments. For each test option, you should look at whether the test creates biases or if it could lead to potentially discriminatory practices if you choose not to select it.

On Talent Grader’s website, we include a field that asks test providers to provide information on ‘Measures put in place to remove or reduce biases’. This allows you to make an informed decision and select a tool that prioritises the removal of biases and helps you deliver an objective and inclusive selection process.

3. The Candidate Experience

Look at the testing process from the point of view of the candidate. You need to consider how inclusive and accessible the test is. For example, are you removing barriers for neurodiverse candidates by offering reasonable adjustments to your test of choice where required? The test is also likely being conducted remotely on a computer. Is there an option for candidates to adjust the screen contrast or text size to make it a comfortable testing experience? These kinds of adjustments help you provide a best experience for your candidates so they can attempt the tests to the best of their ability.

To create a fair and inclusive process, you should provide all candidates the opportunity to confidentially disclose any disabilities at all stages of the recruitment process. When carrying out pre-hire testing, communicate to all candidates clearly and well in advance of the test what it will be assessing, its relevance to the vacancy in question, duration, answer format and technical requirements for using the given testing platform. This helps candidates with disability to request any adjustments to the assessment process.

4. Data Protection

Candidates’ data protection is crucial for employers. Explore with the test providers how they store and handle test taker’s data, so you can ensure compliance. On Talent Grader’s website, our test publishers or technology providers specify this information so you can easily access this to assess compliance or explore any changes you may need e.g. data retention.

Whilst I recommend you consider the above four key points for any kind of assessment, the following advice on reliability and validity applies to psychometric tests specifically.

5. Pick a Reliable and Valid Psychometric Test

There are many different types of psychometric tests available that measure different personality traits and candidate attributes. The two main types of psychometric tests are ability tests, which assess how well a candidate does something, and personality tests, which look at how an individual might respond to a situation. Click here to learn more about the types of psychometric tests.

When selecting a psychometric test, you need to make sure you are picking a reliable and valid option. When it comes to a quality assessment, the test should have a reliability coefficient of over 0.7, which is the industry benchmark set by professional bodies.

You should be able to check a test’s validity e.g., by comparing the tool with others on the market to ensure it is actually measuring what it claims. There are many types of validation studies and it is important to look at this evidence in technical manual of the test concerned. If the test provider will not give you access to the technical manual or not interested in explaining the technical information contained in their technical manual, that is a sign the tool may not be legitimate.

For the best recruitment results, Talent Grader recommends a combination of the following test types that are valid and reliable for your use: numerical reasoning tests, logical reasoning tests, situational judgement tests, verbal reasoning tests, and personality assessments. Based on the type of recruitment, you could combine a psychometric test with a behavioural assessment (also known as a work sample exercise) or a technical or skills test.

Find the Right Test with Talent Grader

We make every effort to present all the information about available test options to help you make an informed decision. Pop over to our website and take up a free trial of psychometric tests, technical and skills tests, or talent assessment technology, such as video interview platforms.

Don’t forget to share feedback on your experience! If you need help in choosing the right assessments, please contact us, we will be delighted to help.

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