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A guide to using assessments for hiring: The good, the bad and the ugly

Assessments for hiring have been around for a while. However, most organizations have been reluctant to adopt them.  The human resource function is very person centric. While there is no dearth of innovation within the hiring process, there has been a significant lack of training and education to enable the adoption of these innovations. This lack of information and know how has led to a low uptake of assessments for hiring. There are several misconceptions about assessments like: assessments are only good for large scale hiring, or that they are so expensive, that only multinationals can hire through them. Assessments for hiring can be used by organizations of all sizes and there are good tools available for all budgets and hiring needs.

The good


1.      Unbiased screening of candidates

Candidate screening can often suffer from biases resulting from personal prejudices regarding gender, race and social background. Screening through an algorithm eliminates these biases. The possibility of such discrimination is not only limited to the personal interview but can start as early as the resume screening process that divulges key demographic information including location, ethnicity, gender etc.

2.      Tamper proof assessment results

Assessments that are automated and well administered can be trusted to be tamper proof. Most good assessments will have checks in place to prevent unethical conduct by test takers. Clever assessment tools will make it very difficult for a candidate to either game the system or cheat. Therefore, good assessments will always present an honest and accurate analysis of the test takers.

3.      Faster hiring cycles

Using assessments, results in much faster candidate screening and shortlisting. Assessment results can easily be sorted and filtered autonomously by you, at the click of a button. You get to shortlist the best possible candidates within the shortest possible time. The time benefit of using assessments is even more significant when organizations conduct mass hiring or graduate (fresher) hiring.

4.      Cost Effective and Cost Preventive

Depending on assessments to aid the hiring decision means you end up interviewing fewer candidates and going through fewer resumes. This means the manpower needed to fulfill the hiring cycle does not need to be significantly expanded to accommodate large scale hiring requirements. The online delivery of these assessments also eliminates the need for any physical infrastructure for additional interviewing and testing. Effective assessments also reduce the possibility of a bad hire. Bad hires can lead to exorbitantly high replacement costs.

5.      Easier, Simpler and Smoother process.

Hiring through assessments means access to data that you can use. From test scores to charts and graphs that help you visually understand the data, assessments can equip you to become a master at hiring the right people.

The bad


1.      Badly designed tools

With so many tools out there, customers often vacillate between going where the crowd is, or choosing the tool with the most attractive marketing message. While all assessment tools have their own focus area, some offer nothing more than simple aptitude tests. These assessments may not be the proper reflection of a candidate’s ability to perform on the job.


2.      Untested algorithms

It is very important for assessments to be rigorously tested for reliability. It is important to ask how the algorithm has been validated. Assessments administered irresponsibility will not improve the quality of hire but could adversely affect the performance of your future workforce and your organization in the long run.

The ugly truth OR.… Why assessments are not Gods


1.      Most assessment tools can focus either on testing skills or analysing behaviour, not Job Fit.

This limits the usefulness of using assessments for hiring. A good assessment tool will not only tell you whether the candidate has the skills and personality for the job, it will help you assess the Job Fit of the candidate in a comprehensive way. If an assessment only lets you find candidates with excellent skills or generally positive personalities, it will not necessarily mean that the tool helps you hire better. A good tool will let you assign different weights to skills and behavioural traits, so the assessment results reveal the best fit candidates who will perform well while enjoying working with you. This will result in lower attrition rates and higher employee engagement rates in the long run.

2.      The final decision is still up to a human or some humans.

At the moment, assessments cannot replace face to face interviews and make the final decision of hiring for you. Assessments are facilitators that narrow down on the best possible candidates within the sample that has taken the test. The intuition of the person making the final hiring decision is still indispensable.

3.      Assessments cannot be used for all job roles

Assessments can’t always come to the rescue when you are hiring for specialized roles or highly creative roles. These roles and the people suitable for them are too diverse at an individual level to be assessed by any algorithmic tool.


How do you choose the right assessment tool?


Ask a lot of questions and test the test:

  1. Ask assessments providers, how their algorithm works. They can’t tell you their trade secrets but they should be well versed in giving you a detailed overview of how the results are generated. Attend webinars and request demos.


  1. Ask other customers who have used the assessment to hire. You can get a list of them from the assessment provider. Alternatively, you can use LinkedIn to post a query regarding this.


  1. Ask assessment takers about the user experience. You can ask other employees in your company if they have been assessed by the company you are exploring. User experience in important, even for prospective employees. This will be the first impression they get about your expectations, standards and culture.


  1. If you are trying an assessment tool that is new in the market and has no established customers or test takers, test the tool internally within a small group of your candidates who have applied for an open position in your organization. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the free trial which most assessment providers should offer.



How do you successfully implement assessments for your organization?


  1. Be highly aware about your organization’s skill needs and cultural environment. Good assessment tools are customizable. They will only work at the highest level of accuracy if you have a pretty good idea of the kind of person/s you want to hire.


  1. Source candidates intelligently. The effectiveness of an assessment tool for hiring is highly dependent on the candidates that take the assessment. It is important to identify where your prospective candidates currently are. This can either be on specific job portals, within your own application portal, or on social networks like LinkedIn. This way, once you set up an assessment, you can immediately reach and inform these candidates through digital channels like emails, social media posts and online advertising.


Hiring can emerge from its wild west era to a more sophisticated form. Technology to enable this emergence is already here. Employees of the future will not merely be production chain workers. They will be people who have ideas for improving processes and a drive to build impactful careers. It’s time to start discovering them using modern tools like assessments. Don’t you think it’s time? Comment below to have your say.


If you want to learn more about how you can adopt assessments for your organization write to You can also request a demo of PexiScore here.

Author: Subhashini Tripathi

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