Assessments can be useful tools, either to complement a candidate’s evaluation conducted by an external recruiter or to confirm your choice of a candidate recruited directly. They are also helpful when evaluating an employee’s fitness for a new role within the company.

Computerised tests are becoming the norm, whether conducted individually or combined with assessments. Many companies have introduced their own systems to be used by in-house recruiters. Others choose to partner with external firms, often in conjunction with their executive search provider. Testing is a cost-effective component of risk management, representing a small portion of hiring outlay whilst avoiding potentially huge expenses incurred through an unsuitable appointment.

An investment in the formal assessment or testing of finalist candidates is undoubtedly worthwhile; there are however some pitfalls to avoid.

On the one hand, questionnaires and tests can help you:

  • Check if your perception of the candidate’s personality matches the test results, especially in key personality traits, motivators or competencies;
  • Verify doubts concerning potential weaknesses;
  • Confirm perceived strengths and areas for improvement, to better evaluate the long-term potential of a candidate;
  • Verify cognitive abilities which are difficult to assess in the course of an interview;
  • Achieve a more in-depth evaluation or understanding of the candidate through discussion of the test results;
  • Identify questions to ask of a candidate’s nominated references; 
  • Take a more informed decision when hiring a candidate, in the full knowledge and acceptance of revealed shortcomings;
  • Prepare the onboarding of the candidate with appropriate support in specific areas;
  • Find solutions to unexpected problems that may arise after the appointment.

On the other hand, questionnaires and tests can mislead you:

  • If you accept computerised results at face value without input from a well-qualified human being, familiar with the candidate, to interpret the results – a simple certification by a test provider is often insufficient;
  • If you allow computerised results to override impressions formed during the interviews; 
  • If you fail to discuss the results with the candidate to glean more insight;
  • If you apply stringent criteria to automatically disqualify those who don’t fit the personality profile of the “ideal” candidate – despite preconceptions, an inclusive and diverse approach may unearth the perfect fit for the role.

The quality and reliability of a testing or assessment tool are ensured through comparison of the results with those of a representative reference population. Function, language and, culture are among the important criteria to consider in defining samples and designing tools.

AIMS International offers a comprehensive and globally accessible range of tests and assessments, conducted by experienced and certified consultants, coaches and in-house psychologists. Please contact our Talent Management Team for more information.