Increasing your Odds: Using Hiring Assessments to ‘Beat the House’

If you’re seeking to increase diversity, engage and retain candidates, and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your hiring process, validated hiring assessments are usually your best bet for building a strong team.  Through validated assessment tools, you can understand a candidate’s potential and equip yourself with reliable data to support the success and growth of new hires.

Business results, case studies, and academic research have consistently demonstrated assessment information as being critical for driving performance, decreasing turnover, and building aligned organizational cultures. Assessments capture a candidate’s personality, cognitive capacity or ‘mental horsepower’, as well as their personal values and goals.  At Corvirtus, over the past four decades, we’ve built a spectrum of validated tests that screen for traits linked to performance and retention across industries.

By integrating candidate test results, the assessment report outlines their proficiency related to a set of competencies. This provides a detailed candidate profile that quickly illustrates the candidate’s strengths and potential vulnerabilities.  Importantly, as part of our partnership with our clients, we continually monitor return-on-investment.  How did they move through training and onboarding?  What does their performance look like at critical junctures in their tenure (e.g., 30-60-or-90 days, first annual review)?

Team laughing during a meeting

The ‘Numbers Game’ of Hiring Assessments

Validated pre-employment assessments are proven to be highly effective and consistently generate a significant return on the investment (something that we monitor at Corvirtus regularly). We’ve seen organizations cut their time-to-hire, and hours spent on hiring, by more than half.  In addition, key business metrics like sales, time and attendance, and patient care.  At Corvirtus, one of our commitments or promises to our clients is supporting their success.  Every day, we strive to be a long-term contributor to your success.  We proactively monitor the effectiveness of our assessment tools and processes are predicting performance and providing a positive return to the business.

If you think hiring is a numbers game you’re not alone.  The goal is to increase your odds of identifying and hiring candidates who will perform, strengthen your culture, and stay as strong contributors long-term. However, in any ‘numbers’ game, you run the risk of false positives and false negatives.

While it doesn’t frequently occur when using validated hiring assessments, there is the potential of screening out candidates (based on their assessment results) who could have been successful (i.e., a ‘false negative’). Additionally, there is the potential of a candidate that performs well on the assessment but is unsuccessful in the role (i.e., a ‘false positive’). Though infrequent, these false negatives and false positives can happen and but can be reviewed and studied to optimize the success of the assessment tools over time.

With that in mind, we sometimes receive the question, ‘Is there the potential to screen out a candidate that would have been successful?’ Recently, we explored this concept in detail with one of our partners, and an analogy of blackjack rose to the surface.

Blackjack and Talent Assessment


The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer by gaining a set of cards as close (without going over) to a total of 21 (i.e., ‘Blackjack’). Experts at Blackjack understand their odds of beating the dealer based on the set of cards they’ve been dealt relative to the dealer’s cards. Although your odds of winning might be strong if receiving cards that sum to 18, 19, or 20; there is always the small chance of the dealer having a hand closer to 21; resulting in a losing hand. Similarly, if you have a weak hand totaling to 11,12, or 13, there is still a small chance that the dealer can ‘bust’ resulting in a winning hand. As with false positives and false negatives, there is always the small chance to overcome directional odds.

To run with the analogy a bit further, imagine you have a hand of 20 and you feel very confident (as you should) that you will win the hand. However, there is always the chance of the dealer getting a 21 and winning. Applied to assessments and hiring, you might have a candidate that has a strong profile and is strongly recommended by the assessment.  Although you’re feeling confident, there is always a very small chance that they won’t be successful (i.e., a False Positive). On the inverse, you could be playing Blackjack and have a hand of ‘12’ in which your odds of success are very low. However, the dealer could bust (i.e., go over 21) and you end up winning that hand. On the hiring side, you could have a candidate that didn’t score well on the assessment (i.e., was recommended or passed with caution) that you could hire and they become a successful performer in the business (i.e., False Negative).

This is why triangulating your hiring process, or integrating multiple methods and pieces of information, is so critical to making successful hiring decisions.  By taking what you learn from the assessment and seeking to understand more about the candidate in a structured behavior interview, or administering a work sample or realistic job/culture preview, you can increase your odds – something that’s much harder to accomplish within the rules of blackjack.

How Corvirtus can Strengthen your Talent Management and Assessment Program

Seeking to better your hiring hand?  We have a track record of success and do everything possible to ensure your odds of new hires who perform, stay, and grow are ever increasing.  What’s more, we frequently financially quantify the ‘wins’ from any solution and take pride in supporting consistent wins across industries.

Feeling like your current odds of making a good hiring decision are more akin to a game of Candy Land than Blackjack?  We put together a quick guide to building a solid hiring process that might have some realistic strategies to support your success.

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