9 Questions to Ask When Buying a Pre-hire Assessment

This article is from a ThriveMap Ebook: A buyers guide to pre-hire assessments.

Pre-hire assessments are a great solution for companies looking to improve hiring outcomes, such as new hire performance, time to hire, and retention.

But your choice of assessment – it’s features and pricing structure – will shape your hiring process for years to come. It will ultimately influence hiring decisions and can, positively or negatively, impact recruiters’ relationships with their hiring managers. As your company scales, choosing the right assessment provider, one that can adapt as you grow becomes hugely important. 

To help you find the ideal assessment tool, we’ve put together a list of eight simple questions to ask before you buy.

1) How is the assessment priced

Is pricing based on a charge per test – sometimes known as a per candidate basis – or is it a subscription with unlimited use? Will you be billed monthly, yearly, or at a different frequency? It’s best to avoid assessments that increase their prices based on activity as you’ll quickly hit those caps and incur unnecessary fees. Look for any add-on fees for extras, such as: support, integrations, reporting, or training. Any caps on activities that incur additional fees may cause your costs to quickly rise.

Instead, look for an assessment provider that offers:

  • Simple pricing, making it easy to understand your costs and budget appropriately.
  • Unlimited assessments, so you can use it on every new vacancy without worrying about restrictions.
  • Low – preferably no – integration fees, as these can quickly rack up when there are inevitable changes to your ATS system configuration in future.

Chances are, you’ll want an assessment that you’ll use for years to come, so look at both the current cost and the future cost. Does the pricing model make sense as you scale?

2) Who will be using the assessment?

Are the results and interview reports going to be used by experienced recruiters or by hiring managers directly? If hiring managers are involved, then consider how easily the results will be understood by them. If it’s just recruiters, then think about how they cascade information to hiring managers and the potential pitfalls there.

3) What are the strongest features of the assessment

Every assessment is built around a different vision of “improving hiring decisions”. While the right answer to this question will be unique to your business, there are a few features that every recruiter will benefit from such as:

  • Great candidate experience
  • Seamless ATS integration
  • Easy to understand interview reports

The strongest features should closely align with the hiring goals you’ve set. 

For example, if you want to screen out candidates effectively, then you may want to choose an assessment that communicates the realities of life in the role. If you want to speed up time to hire, the assessments should let you prioritise candidates with a ranking system. If improving your employer brand is important the ability to customise and assessment may be a key factor for you.

4) What reporting is available?

Reporting features are crucial for understanding and improving your hiring process over time.

Assessment platforms should offer two types of reports; candidate reports that help your team make better hiring decisions, and assessment reports that provide you insights on how your assessment is performing. 

  • Candidate reports should be detailed, yet easy to digest. Rather than just showing an overall score, they should include data on the individual selection criteria you are measuring. Some assessments can also auto-generate relevant interview questions for managers to ask. 
  • Performance reports should include data on how candidates are performing on the assessment, completion rates and how long it takes candidates to complete. You’ll want to partner with a company that can optimise your assessment over time and show you which questions are predicting success in your organisation. 

Consider asking senior leadership what kind of hiring data matters most to them and ask assessment providers how they will measure their performance against this criteria. 

5) What’s the candidate experience like?

The pre-employment assessment market is in the midst of a wave of rapid innovation with new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Gamification all being lauded as the next big thing. However, it’s worth considering the entire candidate journey before deciding on a solution. 

Any assessment needs to feel appropriate for the role being recruited. It’s important to note that not everyone likes playing games and not everyone has access to the latest technologies or super-fast internet connections. If a portion of your candidates apply offline then you may want to ask how the provider ensures they can complete the assessment too.

6) How do you validate the assessment?

Validity and reliability are two critical measures when considering the quality of an assessment. 

  • Validity is a measure of how well an assessment predicts success. 
  • Reliability is a measure of whether if people were to take the assessment again they would get the same result. 

Personality based assessments typically have low reliability, for example if you were to take a Myer-Briggs personality test and then take it again in 6 weeks there’s more than a 50% chance you’ll fall into a different personality category.

The most valid and reliable assessments are ones that are customised to your specific job roles and cultural context. Questions that model what someone will be doing in a job and that reflect the behaviours and skills you require of candidates have more predictive validity than non-contextual assessments that are modelled on psychometric theories.

You’ll want to find an assessment provider that clearly explain the validation process they go through for each assessment they create. How they test the control group and how they improve the predictive validity of the assessment over time.

Learn more about assessment reliability and validity

7) What are the training and set up requirements?

Some products are complicated and require hours of consulting services and training just to get started. Often, new users have to sift through materials or even gain a qualification to understand the features on offer. 

To use the assessment, will managers need to be trained? If so, how much time will this take? What effort is involved in setting this up? How long will it take to roll out the system and integrate with your ATS? All these are important questions that will shape how soon your assessment can be deployed.

It’s important to understand the practicalities of getting started with your new assessment tool.

To make implementation easy, look for an assessment partner that includes:

  • Comprehensive set up and consultancy, with an expert team to help create the assessment and benchmark it accordingly
  • Little-to-no training, with an intuitive interface and straightforward roll out process
  • Native integration with the tools you use every day – especially your ATS

There’s no need to settle for clunky, complicated business software. Today’s recruiting tools should look and feel much like a consumer app—and that includes getting up-and-running in days, not weeks.

8) What are the litigation risks?

There are many different assessment types to choose from but broadly speaking they fall into two buckets; contextual assessments and non-contextual assessments. 

  • Contextual assessments, which ask questions directly related to the job 
  • Non-contextual assessments, which ask abstract questions – behavioural or situational – that are not directly related to the job. 

Non-contextual assessments such as games or personality tests put companies at risk of unfair selection practices. Two important questions to ask are: “Are the questions relevant to the work to be done?”, and “Can I explain how the result was reached?”. If not, you are at risk of litigation from disgruntled candidates. 

Vendors that sell the benefits of using Artificial Intelligence technology such as machine learning to calculate scores or predict success are particularly problematic as you will need to be able to clearly explain to any candidate how a result is calculated or risk legal action being taken against you.

9) What support will I get?

Responsive customer support is important for all businesses, but it becomes even more important as you grow. Before you make a purchase, try to understand what customer support is provided.

You’ll want to find an assessment provider that offers:

  • Candidate support. Your recruiters shouldn’t feel the brunt if the assessment goes down. Find a provider that offers candidate support too. 
  • Multi-channel support. Candidates will access your assessment across all devices and web browsers. A great partner will make it easy to access support wherever and whenever it’s required—via chat, email and phone if required.
  • “Value-add” account management. Your assessment partner should be proactive, offering ongoing check-ins and performance reviews to help you get the most from your software.

Great customer support offers more than just a safety net in case problems crop up: it helps you get the most your pre-hire assessment.

Improve your hiring with ThriveMap

ThriveMap creates customised work simulation pre-hire assessments which take candidates through a “day in the life” experience of work in your company. It helps companies to uncover their best candidates through real work scenarios, and has been proven to reduce staff turnover, reduce time to hire, and improve quality of hire. 

Use ThriveMap’s end to end pre-hire assessment platform to: 

  • Understand and model what great looks like in your organisation
  • Match candidates to fit your jobs and organisational culture 
  • Deliver an industry-leading candidate experience

Request a demo to find out how ThriveMap can make your recruiting process faster, fairer and more effective.

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