Hiring Assessment
Worst Practices

Here are my five worst practices for using a hiring assessment in your hiring process.

I’ve developed these hiring assessment worst practices over the past twelve years working with clients to hire thousands of people and these are the hiring assessment mistakes I see on a regular basis. Here they are:

Hiring managers aren't trained and retrained

Never just give the reports to your hiring managers and expect them to know what to do!

When you first add a hiring assessment to your hiring process make sure that everyone is trained so they understand what they're looking at, what's being measured and how to use it in a proper and legal manner. Typically, the training will take about thirty minutes and it’s an investment that will make sure you get the results you are expecting.

It’s also important to make sure all users are retrained every six months. This is because they've got so much else going on and almost certainly only use the assessment reports on an irregular basis. So, a short training every six months will make sure they remember what they learned in the beginning.

And if you hire someone new or promote someone to a new position where they will be using the assessments, make sure they get trained.

The training can be a live webinar or an online video that makes sure they know what the assessment measures, what it means, and how to use it. 

Too much or not enough weight given to the result

It is generally illegal to use the result of any hiring assessment as a “cut off” in your hiring process.

Never eliminate someone from consideration only because an assessment score. The EEOC is very clear that they don’t consider any assessment technology to be accurate enough to use as the only decision criteria.

In all situations the results from your hiring assessment should be only part of your decision. My recommendation is the the assessment result should never be more than about a third of the decision and I'll be glad to help you integrate it into your process so it adds value, but doesn't get overweighted.

Results are ignored because of the halo effect

Several research studies have established that when we like someone we tend to ignore evidence that contradicts what we think and seek out evidence to support our belief. I call this the “halo effect”.

Ignoring results because of this effect is probably the most frequent mistake assessment users make.

If the results reveal that the candidate will struggle to learn the job, keep up with the pace, or another potential problem, invest the time during the interview process to really explore these potential problems and determine whether it will be a problem when you hire them.

A good hiring assessment will generate customized interview questions you can use for this purpose, and these questions will also give you advice about what to listen for in the answers during an interview.

Our natural tendency is to think that everything will be fine… and it might be. The purpose of the assessment is to alert you to potential problems before you hire someone, so use the assessment results to interview carefully and make sure that the halo effect doesn’t cause you (or one of your hiring managers) to make a mistake that will cost you tens of thousands of dollars and hours of wasted management time.

Inconsistent use

Without a doubt this is the most common mistake my clients make when they are using a hiring assessment so be careful not to make it.

The EEOC is very clear that you must treat everyone the same at every stage of the hiring process – and this applies to everything you do that is related to hiring, not just using an assessment.

The best practice is to test everyone at the same stage of your hiring process – typically between the first and second interviews or between the phone screen and the first interview.

I’ll be glad to review your process and make a specific recommendation for your situation.

Never use it to validate a decision that has already been made

The very worst practice is to decide who you are going to hire and then assess them simply because it is company policy to administer and assessment.

Of course, this means the results of the assessment are completely ignored, so if you have already made the decision, I suggest that you don’t use an assessment at all as it will be a waste of resources.

Wrap up

These five worst practices (there are more) for using a hiring assessment are a great starting point for avoiding the pitfalls of using a hiring mistake. Use these best practices to get the most out of any assessment you are considering using.

Let me know if you have specific questions and how I can be of help.

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