Pre-Hire Assessments: Trends and Benchmarks for 2018 [New Research]

May 23rd, 2018
Ross Coyle
Recruiting Teams

How do your organization’s pre-hire assessments stack up? A survey conducted by asked 600 talent acquisition and HR leaders about their pre-hire assessments. The results provide a roadmap for organizations looking to implement new pre-hire assessments or improve their existing assessment process. In this post we’ll examine some of the key takeaways.

For the complete benchmarking data, check out the full whitepaper.

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The study divided organizations surveyed into two groups: high and low performing.

  • High performing organizations felt that their assessment tools had a strong impact on their ability to screen and hire excellent talent.
  • Low performers felt that it assisted with but was less impactful on screening and hiring.

How Assessments Function Within the Organization

Social networks, job boards, and career pages allow recruiters to source more candidates than ever before, but recruiters are still limited when evaluating candidate competencies and qualifications. Assessments allow organizations to scale hiring initiatives without sacrificing quality.

  • The majority of those surveyed (79%) said that finding enough qualified professional candidates was the greatest challenge in their hiring process.
  • Moving candidates through the recruiting process quickly was the second most important issue (61%).
  • 76% of respondents use assessments to find qualified candidates.
  • Assessments are used significantly less for internal mobility, with only 25% of respondents indicating that they use them to gauge internal candidates.

While 90% of respondents agree that their assessments provide high quality hires, 79% of respondents also indicated that their biggest recruiting challenge was finding enough qualified candidates. This disconnect might mean that while assessments are great at identifying top candidates who complete them, they can also cause great candidates to drop out of the hiring process.

Respondents also believe that their solutions help with hiring at scale. Two-thirds of respondents agreed that assessments save administration and managerial time while also managing applicant volume.

In short, assessment solutions will remain a major part of corporate recruiting.

Assessments are also primarily used externally, which can limit internal mobility and sourcing options. Companies may find further value in their assessments if they use them to source and surface candidates from within the organization.

Features and Functions in Assessment Solutions

Modern assessment solutions incorporate and provide a host of different features. These range from simple competency analyses and job simulations to psychometrics and AI integration. Respondents answered two questions, the first on what is the most common feature in their assessment tools, and the second on how often are different features were used.

  • Accuracy (72%) and analytics/reporting abilities (59%) were most important to respondents, which reflects their use of these features.
  • Candidate ease of use (58%) followed accuracy and reporting abilities.
  • Most respondents indicated that competency analysis (64%) and data interpretation (60%) are the most utilized features.
  • High performing organizations are more likely to use a wide range of features, including AI, psychometrics, work simulations, and analytics/reporting.

The data also reveals that employers look for assessments that are candidate friendly. Half (58% and 47% respectively) of respondents said that ease-of-use and speed were important. These responses also show that employers are more conscious of their candidate experience and employer brand. They understand that the best candidates aren’t interested in — nor have time for — an hours long assessment. This fact will become more relevant when discussing completion rates.

Assessment Completion Rates

Despite trends in adoption rates and assessment functionality, few firms experience high completion rates among candidates.

  • Only 27% of organizations reported that nearly every applicant completed their assessment. Among these completion rates, high performers (those who said they received the most value from their assessment) generally experienced higher completion rates than lower performers.
  • 33% of organizations said that less than 50% of applicants completed their assessments, and 10% don’t track the data.
  • Another important trend is time to complete, with almost 70% of respondents keeping their assessments shorter than an hour and 30% making their assessments less than 30 minutes.

Low candidate completion rates remain a problem with current assessment solutions. Streamlining the assessment process to meet both candidate needs (the ability to demonstrate competencies and skills quickly) and recruiter needs (the ability to get a holistic, scientific view of the candidate) is the key to creating a high performing assessment experience.

Generally speaking, the shorter and more user friendly an assessment is, the greater the likelihood that candidates will complete it.

Future Trends in Assessments

  • 81% of firms without assessment solutions have no plan to implement them in 2018
  • High performing organizations are more likely (65%) to want to invest in solutions than low performers (45%).
  • Organizational size did not affect interest in investing in assessment tools. Both large and small companies were less likely (57% and 64% respectively) to invest in assessments in 2018.

While assessments clearly help high performing companies with talent acquisition and recruiting, companies that have not yet implemented systems are hesitant to do so.

The reasoning for this is varied, although the follow-up webinar with HireVue chief I/O Psychologist Nathan Mondragon revealed that cost and bias potential were chief concerns. It’s also possible that smaller companies see less cost savings from assessments as they have a smaller pool of applicants — their recruiting efforts simply aren’t dealing with the same volume as a major firm.

While these numbers provide a wide view of assessments, they are small part of a larger picture. Get the full whitepaper for a complete range of assessment benchmarking statistics.

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With the integration of big data processes and artificial intelligence, pre-hire assessments are vastly more predictive than their rudimentary counterparts of the 2000’s. The evidence for assessments is clear, and talent-focused companies determined to attract the best candidates will continue to improve their tools to stay competitive.