Don’t Let These 5 Myths About Candidate Assessment Hold You Back

HR professionals assessing candidates

Employers are wary of using assessments during their hiring process. But why? Employers have been led to believe that assessments, by default, create a poor candidate experience. And that can be true, if the pre-hire assessment is poorly designed, misused, or confusing to candidates.

But an assessment that measures what it claims to measure and is incorporated at the right point in the hiring process can actually strengthen candidate experience, not weaken it.

Here are some common misconceptions about the role of pre-hire assessments in fostering a positive candidate experience

Myth No. 1. Assessments Create a Poor Candidate Experience

Assessments themselves aren’t responsible for creating a poor candidate experience; it’s how they’re used (or misused) that creates a lousy experience. Used correctly, assessments give candidates an opportunity to display their skills during hiring.

If you use assessments to ask the right questions at the right point in the process, candidates will be able to see how assessment data supports your hiring decision. And that’s extremely important, because the perception of fairness is one of the biggest hallmarks of a good candidate experience.

Myth No. 2. Pre-Hire Assessments Should Be 5 Minutes or Less

It’s a myth that an assessment’s length automatically turns candidates off. Employers who have fallen prey to this myth have opted for ultra-short assessments, but these could actually be worse for candidate experience than a full-length assessment.

There is plenty of research that suggests candidates perceive assessments between 10-30 minutes in length to be the most fair and valuable. They could be suspicious of the usefulness of an assessment under 10 minutes, which may leave them feeling that your final decision isn’t as fair as it could have been.

Myth No. 3. Assessments Scare Away Qualified Candidates

Candidates won’t devalue an employer that uses assessments to screen candidates. In fact, most candidates appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate their skills.  If they can see that the assessment is clearly related to the role, then taking it won’t be a turn-off for qualified candidates. 

Frame your assessment in a way that demonstrates its value to the candidate. Explain why it’s important for your hiring decision and that, when possible, you’ll send the candidate their assessment report to learn more about themselves.

Myth No. 4. Only Game-Based Assessments Engage Candidates

There’s a popular misconception that “gamified” assessments are the way to go. But, although game-based assessments are trendy among employers, they aren’t popular among candidates. In fact, research shows that candidates would rather be drug-tested (15%) than take a game-based assessment (9.8%).

So take the hint and prioritize pre-hire assessments that measure personality, job knowledge and work sample over assessments you think might be “fun” for candidates.

Myth No. 5. Assessments Are Bad During a Talent Shortage

Assessments will screen out candidates who aren’t qualified, but that’s the point — assessments help you maintain high-caliber hires, which is especially important when the competition for talent is hot.

You don’t have to follow a pass/fail model with assessments. You can use them to screen candidates by degrees and identify the best match for the role. And the report the assessment generates provides a blueprint for post-hire development opportunities.

Pre-hire assessments can do much more for candidate experience than most employers realize. Don’t let myths and misconceptions limit your potential.