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How to Spot a Quality Pre-Hire Assessment - FurstPerson - Blog

How to Spot a Quality Pre-Hire Assessment

In the customer contact industry – as with any large enterprise – identifying budget-friendly ways to attract quality talent that will stick around is often a delicate dance between HR and the executive team.

The fact of the matter is sometimes, a large amount of hiring needs to be done, and it needs to be done frequently, quickly, and accurately. Many organizations have turned to pre-employment assessments to aid in their talent recruitment efforts, because such tools can streamline the talent selection process and enable hiring managers to target employees with the skills necessary to drive revenue by providing quality service.

Assessments are incredibly useful tools when selected carefully and used correctly. As with any other product on the market, it’s in an organization’s best interest to do its due diligence and research potential talent assessment tools so it can get the best program for its specific needs. When an assessment truly adds value to the hiring process, the results are evident in a multitude of areas, including workforce productivity, quality of customer service, and revenue.

When making buying decisions among products as sophisticated as talent selection tools, it can be difficult to narrow down the field of options. However, there are a few ways consumers can spot a poorly-designed assessment versus a well-designed and streamlined selection assessment tool.

Investigate the Company’s Reputation for Talent Selection

Experienced managers take precautions during and after the hiring process to ensure candidates are carefully vetted, and a talent acquisition platform shouldn’t be any different. When investing in a pre-hire assessment – just as with any employee – it is to the organization’s advantage to do its research and evaluate potential partners extensively. Knowing what other clients have to say about a pre-hire assessment company can help give an objective perspective on the ROI, service levels, and the collaborative nature of the organization.

Ask: How Well-Vetted are the Company’s Talent Assessment Tools?

When a well-validated assessment is put into the hands of a knowledgeable professional who takes the time to understand the company and culture, the tool can be used as part of a solution that drives extraordinary value. However, a poorly designed tool or a tool that is not used properly can undermine a company’s talent strategy by identifying the wrong people for a job opportunity or by failing to identify those individuals with the highest potential for on-the-job success.

A reputable assessment company will gladly furnish documentation  – in the form of technical manuals and research briefs – of the assessment(s) tool’s design, psychometric analysis, and validation.  Prospective buyers should evaluate a test or assessment based on the following components.

Technical Documentation

Customers want to know their dollars are being put to good use. When it comes to talent assessment tools, any reputable publisher should be able to demonstrate that an assessment has undergone a rigorous development process. Written documentation summarizing an assessment’s development and validation should be available for review.


Hiring managers can’t exactly rely on a test that doesn’t consistently pinpoint the core competencies needed to perform the job, as well as the candidates who possess them. They need a reliable test that will correctly gauge the data time and time again. Reliability can be broken down into two components, and assessment publishers should be able to demonstrate that an assessment possesses adequate measures of both:

  • Internal consistency: This statistic summarizes the extent to which test items on a specific scale are measuring the same thing. For example, if respondents expressed agreement to “I am trustworthy,” “People often say they can trust me,” and “I do everything I can to avoid lying,” this is a sign of good internal consistency of the test.

  • Test-retest reliability: This summarizes the stability of an assessment score over time. If the scores remain consistent, then tests can be trusted to do what they’re created to do: pinpoint top talent in the most seamless way possible.

Both these attributes provide important information about an assessment’s ability to accurately measure candidate results consistently.


Every hiring manager wants to make sure the product his or her company is investing in is valid, right? It sounds like a promising quality in a pre-hire assessment test. However, the most important consideration when selecting any pre-employment assessment is evidence of validity.

Consumers should be careful here, because no test is 100% “valid”.   Companies that opt to use the term “valid” when advertising or explaining their talent selection software should be a red flag for a prospective buyer. Evidence of validity is more like an ongoing mission for an assessment to continuously prove that it is effective in helping pinpoint desirable qualities in candidates. After all, consumers want to know the product works before they use it, but what’s even better is knowing it will continue to work after they purchase it.

For this reason, an assessment company should be willing to share evidence that is has accumulated enough data to illustrate a pattern of evidence supporting a tool’s validity. By sharing this information, it gives the prospective buyer insight into the assessment’s ability to predict how a candidate will perform in similar jobs in their own company.

Wondering if Your Pre-Hire Assessment is Legit? Here’s How to Find Out.

If your company doesn’t have an internal testing expert who is capable of reviewing technical documentation and evidence of validity, it’s easy to find one by contacting the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. By hiring an objective expert to review the merit of a provider’s technical materials, you can ensure that you partnering with a reputable company that has developed and validated its tools in an appropriate manner.

To learn more about how talent analytics tools can streamline the hiring process, download your free copy of our whitepaper "How Can Simulations Help You Hire Better?", or speak with one of our talent selection specialists today. 


Publish Date: February 26, 2016 5:00 AM

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