Are hiring assessments pseudoscience or a legitimate way to predict future performance?
Personality tests, integrity tests, and more have evolved into job determinates. As a teenager, I took a personality test to become a cashier at a popular clothing retailer. What should’ve been a relatively speedy hiring process culminated in teenage me deciding a personality test, math exam, and an in-person interview weren’t worth it for my minimum wage salary.
Tests are tangible metrics that you can reference when you decide whether or not to hire someone, but are they fully reliable?
Job Knowledge Tests
What is it? As the name suggests, the purpose of this assessment is to figure out what you know (and don’t know) about the job you applied for.
Pros: Quickly understand exactly what skill level a candidate is, every candidate receives the same quiz so the results are uniform, quickly cut out candidates who don’t understand the job
Cons: It doesn’t give the whole picture about the candidate (how willing they are to learn/improve) and doesn’t give them the opportunity to showcase their creativity
What is it? Employers want someone who’s honest. Done right, this test determines that.
Pros: Get “concrete” evidence if a candidate is honest, trustworthy, and/or dependable, predict job performance, predict future productivity, typically less expensive than other tests
Cons: Moreso than on other tests, it’s pretty easy to “figure out” which answers are the correct ones.
What is it?: A test to determine if you have the best character traits for the job.
Pros: Potential great predictor of employee engagement, able to match candidates with team personalities, potentially determine someone’s strengths
Cons: Personality tests aren’t always reliable. If you take the same test a few years apart, chances are you’ll have different results (I did!). It also fosters an environment of overly categorizing people.
Emotional Intelligence Tests
What is it?: A test to determine if your personality aligns with the company’s core values.
Pros: Predict job performance, employee engagement, and leadership potential, a second opinion when it comes to a candidate
Cons: Emotional intelligence is difficult to define, to begin with- so how can you test someone for something you can’t define?, inconsistent results
Are Hiring Assessments Reliable?
Yes and no. Like anything, a well-designed test is a great way to better understand a candidate before they even walk through the door. On the flipside, however, they’re not fully reliable. People can lie, it’s exhausting/annoying to take multiple tests, it’s not great for creative people, and you need to be careful in what you ask.
There’s nothing wrong with using data to make informed hiring decisions. The manner in which you collect your data and where it comes from is important. Make hiring data-driven only serves to further efficient hiring.