Hiring assessments are a hot topic for talent management articles; but all too often these discussions are one-sided. We typically focus on the benefits they bring to the hiring managers, recruiters, and employer organizations. But what about the job seekers? What do they get out of being put through this, sometimes rigorous, process? Most applicants don’t like assessments because they see them as a hurdle to obtaining employment. Assessments can make the process much longer, and can even be anxiety-inducing! This is my view: it’s all about perspective! Working at a science-driven talent management company, I know a lot about assessments, and how helpful they can be to applicants, not just employers. If you are being asked to take a pre-employment assessment, or are asking your candidates to take one, here are some of the main ways candidates benefit:
Is this the right job for me?
You’ll spend a good part of your life at work. Do you really want to work at a place where you don’t fit? During the selection process, employers are making sure you are the right fit for the job and the culture, but this is a two-way street. Applicants should be looking at that too, and passing an assessment is likely to be a good indicator of a match between what the job seeker and the company want.
Surpass the competition.
Landing a job is all about demonstrating your potential and worth to the prospective employer. You invest time in your resume, cover letter, and researching the company. One problem: everyone does this. Passing an assessment gives you an advantage over all those candidates who scored lower than you and puts you closer to the top of the list. Once you clear this hurdle, you’re one step closer to landing an interview!
Level the playing field.
Recent graduates or applicants without a lot of work experience often find themselves feeling like their resumes alone are not enough. The competition is fierce, and you need to prove that you are a strong candidate for the job. Assessment scores will allow you to show the prospective employer that you are a worthy contender. Further, there is 100+ years of research and legal precedent for how poorly hiring managers are at accurately evaluating candidates. Assessments ensure you are evaluated fairly and held to job-related standards that are free of bias or discrimination. Interviews and evaluations after the assessments are less likely to be biased when hiring managers consult assessment results.
Everyone wants to work with a great team with people who share the same organizational values, do their jobs well, and whose personalities fit the company culture and the job. Once you’re hired, you’ll know that the rest of the employees had to meet the same high standards for employment, and your company is more likely to have a strong, cohesive culture.
Understand the job.
Assessments often communicate the demands and work environment you can expect to encounter on the job. Is a significant amount of time spent asking you to describe how you would communicate? Expect effective communication to be crucial on the job. As you respond to items you may also begin to better understand your strengths and opportunities. For example, if you’re unsure your responses to hypothetical team scenarios are “the best” – perhaps it’s worth analyzing your tendencies and strategies for working with others. If your potential employers share takeaways from the assessments with you, this can also be an invaluable source of information.
Even though the job search process, and some hiring assessments in particular, can be challenging, remember that these tools are put in place to match the right candidate with the right position in the right organization. When assessments are validated, science-based, and designed with the candidate in mind, they will guide you to a job that is just right for you.