Using Skills-Based Assessments In Your Hiring Process

Using Skills-Based Assessments In Your Hiring Process

Recently, investor Brett Berson published this post on Twitter.

The post elicited dozens of responses, and most people seemed in favor of using skills-based assessments during the interview process. On the surface, this isn’t surprising. Why wouldn’t a company want to test a job candidate’s competency prior to making a job offer?

In our experience, it’s not that simple.

A take-home project or in-person presentation is fair to ask, but companies should take into account the time that they’re asking a candidate to spend on the assignment(s). For example, we know a company that asks its engineers to complete a six-hour take-home project. This is too long.

Passive candidates often back out of the process at the “assessment” step. In some cases, this may be the goal of the company – to weed out people who are less interested. If that’s the objective, there are other ways to achieve this that are less time-consuming.

For candidates who are the best in their respective fields and who are already employed, adding an assessment makes the recruitment process even more challenging. These often are the “A” players that companies can’t afford to alienate. The answer is not to give these candidates a pass on taking an assessment. Selectively assigning assessments to candidates based on their backgrounds could get a company into trouble.

Our recruiting manager Scott Beardsley has placed hundreds of candidates in his career. When he looks at the results of new hires, there isn’t a clear signal that companies who use assessments fare better than companies who do not use them. He has seen examples of promising job candidates who are bothered by requests to take assessments. 

Beardsley’s take: “So if there is no proven upside, and a risk of turning off talent, why do it?” 

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