does it Impact Talent Acquisition?
Stony Brook School of Professional Development
Testing: How does it Impact Talent Acquisition?
Human Resource professionals, we are familiar with a variety of tools that are relied
upon to help perform human resource functions. One of these commonly used tools in
organizations is assessments, which can be utilized for a variety of purposes. Assessments can help in evaluating
effectiveness of training and development programs, making promotion decisions,
and aiding in career exploration. Assessments are also widely used in the talent
acquisition process. The types of test vary greatly and may evaluate factors
such as an applicant’s cognitive ability, physical ability, personality,
aptitude, and honesty, among others (SHRM, 2016). Despite their wide use, assessments
also pose some drawbacks and limitations in the talent assessment process.
Nonetheless, in today’s human resources landscape, pre-employment testing and
assessments are a critical component of effective talent acquisition.
are many benefits to using pre-employment assessments in the talent acquisition
process. Regardless of the type of
assessment being used, they are all typically inexpensive to administer (U.S. Department
of Labor, 2000). Furthermore, an organization will recognize additional savings
because the assessments will “weed out” those employees who are not likely to
be successful; this means less time spent on conducting interviews (Bika, 2016).
This “weeding out” of candidates can also help to reduce costs due to turnover
because they are hiring employees who are more likely to have success in the
job. The use of pre-employment assessments is many times viewed as more “fair” than
other hiring alternatives because each person receives is based on a standard
criterion, instead of the potential objectivity of the recruiter (Bika, 2016).
One of the most commonly used types
of assessments is the cognitive ability test, which carries its own benefits to
the talent acquisition process. In short, cognitive ability tests are intended
to measure intelligence. Some cognitive ability tests measure overall mental
ability, while others measure math skills, verbal ability, and inductive or
deductive reasoning (SHRM, 2016). The
United States Department of Labor recognizes mental ability tests as one of the
“most useful predictors of performance across a variety of jobs” (2000).
drawback to the use of pre-employment cognitive ability assessments is that it can
cause qualified candidates to be turned down. Some people are simply not good
test takers, but may have been successful performers on the job (Nicholson,
2000). This leads to the argument that pre-employment assessments are not
always valid predictors of job success. An expert in the field, Greta Roberts asserts
that pre-employment assessments can in fact be predictive to job success
outcomes if they are properly designed (2017).
important factor that Roberts mentions is that there should only be one
assessment to be applied to all roles (Roberts, 2016). By having a different
assessment for each role, you effectively are eliminating the chance that the applicant
could be identified as a successful candidate for perhaps another role in the organization.
This poses a limitation to the organization.
personal experience, the single assessment strategy is used in one of the United
States’ largest auto insurance companies. While applicants can apply for a
specific position in either the Claims, Customer Service, or Sales departments,
the organization uses a single assessment. This one assessment is used to help
determine if the applicant may be successful in the job which they applied for,
but also if they would be more successful in one of the other departments. This
helps to lead to better hiring decisions and gives the organization a better idea
of where the candidate would best fit.
As discussed, pre-employment assessments
play an important role in the talent acquisition process of organizations. Like
most tools used in the field of Human Resources, there are both advantages and disadvantages
to their use. If developed and administered properly, pre-employment assessments
such as cognitive ability assessment can allow organizations to make more successful
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G. (2017). Pre-hire talent assessments must be a part of your predictive talent
acquisition strategy. Workforce Solutions Review, 8(1), 32-34.
(2016). Screening by means of pre-employment testing. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and- samples/toolkits/pages/screeningbymeansofpreemploymenttesting.aspx
Department of Labor (2000). Testing and assessment: An employer’s guide to good