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The Role of Assessments in the Hiring Process

The Role of Assessments in the Hiring Process

The Great Resignation has been weighing heavily on many HR minds these past few months. But of course, one employer’s retention tension can be another’s hiring surge. In fact, LinkedIn, The Atlantic, and Forbes have even referred to this labor trend as the Great Reshuffle on occasion. So, how can recruiters sift through this incoming tide of applicants?

Here’s what HR and employers need to know about the role of recruiting assessments in the overall hiring process.


The Role of Assessments in the Hiring Process

Hiring should be a structured and standardized process at your organization. This includes which assessments should be used for which positions and how the results should be interpreted. If each hiring manager is shooting from the hip or doing their own thing, there would be too many variables to know where to focus your efforts to improve your hiring process.

To be clear, HR should play a strategic, high-level role in the hiring process—training managers and maintaining consistency. But the hiring manager responsible for screening and assessing candidates should be the person the position will be reporting to.

Regardless of whether your organization traditionally thinks of the process in this way, there are essentially seven stages of hiring:

  1. Identify Need and Update Job Description
  2. Develop and Implement Recruitment Plan
  3. Screen Applicants
  4. Interview Candidates
  5. Check References
  6. Extend Offer
  7. Onboard New Hire

It’s not efficient or effective to assess unqualified candidates, so most assessments are conducted after screening applicants—in preparation for and during the interview stage.


The Difference Between Screenings and Assessments

Although many people use the terms “screening” and “assessment” interchangeably, they are different yet dependent means to meet the same end: hiring the best candidate for the position. 

Screening should be efficient—How can I manage the quantity of applicants?—whereas assessment should be effective—How can I evaluate the quality of candidates? Screening is about not wasting your time on unqualified applicants while assessment is about investing your time in finding the most qualified candidate.

Regardless of whether a practice or tool is considered a screening or an assessment, one question should guide compliance for both: Can I demonstrate a job-related necessity for asking this question, using this tool, or giving this test?

Common screening tools include:

Some of these tools may occasionally blur the line—depending on how much time a recruiter spends on them—but an applicant tracking system like BerniePortal can help streamline the process. BerniePortal also boasts an integration with Indeed, which can increase your initial applicant pool. 

After all, screening efficiency isn’t very helpful if it’s not also effective in helping you find the best possible candidate—which is where assessments come in.


The Role of Assessments in Interviewing

Of course, interviewing itself is an assessment, but most hiring managers tend to think of assessments as tools to help with interviewing. So, for the sake of clarity and consistency, that’s how assessments will be treated here.

First, it’s good practice to conduct a phone interview as a screener before proceeding with an in-person or video interview. They’re inexpensive, take little time out of your day, and give you and the candidate an opportunity to learn more about each other with relatively low stakes. More importantly, they’re fair since the recruiter can’t base a snap judgment on the candidate’s appearance over the phone. 

Once you’ve decided to proceed with a candidate based on a phone interview, schedule an in-person or video face-to-face interview. Assign the candidate a personality assessment and skills test to complete before the next meeting. These completed assessments serve two purposes in the interview:

  1. They give the hiring manager a better sense of the candidate’s qualifications, including how they would fit into the role on the team and the position within the company. Context is key here—rather than letting the assessment speak for itself.
  2. They keep the interview grounded and relevant to the candidate’s qualifications. Small talk is an important element of the interview, but if the conversation gets too off track, both parties may feel like they’ve wasted their time.

Assessments can be insightful on their own, but using them as part of the interview process can help hiring managers make difficult decisions with the best information available. 


Additional Resources

You can stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with important HR topics using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • HR Guides—essential pillars, covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics
  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics

Register Now for HR Hiring Guide CE Course

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