Are you new to the talent assessment market?  We’ve put together an overview of the options and landscape as you start your research.  

The talent assessment market is estimated to be a 3 billion dollar market when considering both pre-hire assessments and post-hire talent management solutions. There are three main types of vendors that operate in the talent assessment space:

  • consulting firms
  • test publisher firms (such as Wonderlic)
  • technology firms that deliver assessments as part of as Saas solution

The assessment market is fragmented and full of vendors of varying sizes all with their own tools, methodologies with varying maturity and quality.

Companies spend big bucks on assessments, but do they actually work?  The short answer is: it depends. Many HR professionals collectively groan when we start a conversation about assessments.  Why?  They tell us they are not sure if their assessments are providing valuable information and they are time consuming to design and implement. Let’s take a closer look at why.

Assessment Design and Delivery

Many organizations have internal IO Psychologists that partner with external vendors on question design.  Infact, the IO Psychology principles that shape most of the assessments used today have not changed since the 1950’s.  That’s not necessarily a problem, it’s solid science.  What has changed is the delivery mechanisms.  In the 1950’s when talent assessments started, they were paper based and some have as many as 300 questions.  Because the answers are closed ended (multiple choice in many cases), it takes a large number of questions to get predictive information from the candidate. Through the years they changed to telephonic and online delivery, however, the number of questions and experience has changed very little.  At the end of a standard pre-hire assessment, can you make a hiring decision? No, more information is needed.

Interviews Are Also Pre-Hire Assessments

An interview, whether a phone screen or an in-person interaction, is also a type of assessment.  Interviewers are looking for additional insights that can’t be determined from a multiple choice or work sample test. Interviews uncover attributes like attitude, motivation, and cultural fit, in addition to further evaluating a candidate’s  knowledge and skills required to do the job.  

What’s the Problem with Interviews?

The problem with interviews is that all of those cues from the interaction and the rich data that the was collected by the interviewer is lost afterwards.  Usually interviews are scored on a few criteria and an ultimate yes/no recommendation.  Each hiring manager has to repeat the process to gain the same information.  This is time consuming and hard to scale.  The only data that can be analyzed later is the pre-hire assessment, which is not enough information to provide a hiring decision.

Traditional Assessments are Out of Date

There are a few problems with traditional assessments.  While they can provide valuable predictive information to help make the right hiring decisions, they provide a terrible candidate experience because they are time consuming and boring. They often happen before candidates have had any meaningful interaction with your company.  Employer branding is more important than ever as candidates can share information quickly and broadly via social media and other channels. And maybe most troubling of all, if the content is not updated with enough frequency to reflect changing skills required for the job, then they lose predictive power. 

How To Select the Right Vendor

Since assessments are such a large budget item for many organizations, the vendors and design process should be reviewed in order to get predicitve information from them. Pre-hire assessments can provide valuable and predictive information about candidates and their abilities, but at what cost? Is your company bearing the cost of losing good candidates to a poor experience? This article from Greta Roberts, CEO, Talent Analytics, has 15 questions you may want to ask your vendor partner including:

  • Does the solution base predictions on outcome data, or a job fit, job match or blueprint survey?
  • Does the solution use machine learning to recalibrate your predictive models? How often?

To learn more about data science in talent assessments, watch this presentation by HireVue's Chief I/O Psychologist and Chief Data Scientist: 

I/O Science Meets Data Science: Introducing Digital Assessments

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