How To Use Assessments Without Alienating Applicants

In my previous post, I talked about how to make your applications more convenient for applicants.

This included discussing the length of the overall application from the candidates’ perspective from the general application to any assessments they may have to complete. Hint: it should not be too long. I said I would talk more about screening and assessments, the things that make the process more convenient for you. Now that time has come.

Don’ts

Obviously, screening is going to vary depending on each job, but there are some basic things that are agreed upon. You DO NOT screen out individuals based on anything related to discriminatory factors.

An example; a question asks if a candidate can lift a certain weight, they say no and you screen them out. The job does not involve lifting/carrying for its primary purpose. This is discriminatory towards people with disabilities.

For instance, take all of those desk job posts that say “may be required to lift up to 20lb”. If companies screen out people for not being able to lift for these positions it would be considered illegal. So check yourself and your applications. Candidates can at times figure out what they are being screened on based on the questions you ask, so keep in mind that they will judge you based on this as well.

Because we all know how little lifting is typically done in an office

Because we all know how little lifting is typically done in an office

Do’s

You CAN screen out candidates if they don’t have a requirement that you want them to have. This can be very helpful in reducing the amount of applications that come at you. Just don’t do this for every requirement you have unless you add a parse from resume option, because that is just going overboard.

You can similarly include things in the screening that are a part of the job to see if candidates will be ok with them. For example, “Would you be willing to travel X% of the time?”.

You can also use the screening IN process to send you the top candidates with your requirements. The rest of the applications will be waiting for you once you get through your top choices first. Convenient right?

This works very well with assessments, which is a pretty great idea as long as it doesn’t take too long. A good idea is to stay under 45 minutes for an assessment. This is especially true since the majority that I came across that exceed that were due to annoying formatting issues. Keeping it shorter also makes sure that you aren’t losing great candidates who think the assessment is more trouble than it’s worth.

Annoying formatting like this but with about 50-100 questions = forever just clicking continue 👎

Annoying formatting like this but with about 50-100 questions = forever just clicking continue 👎

Length

If your company is amazing, 15 minutes up to 45 minutes can be worth it in the eyes of a candidate. Any further and you risk a candidate reassessing your company and deeming you NOT worth the time. And that candidate could have turned out to be the perfect person for your position.

Length is affected by how well known your company is and the level of the position. If these are low candidates won’t be willing to spend as much time on assessments before deeming them too long.

Benefits

A benefit of having an assessment, especially one you deem an appropriate length for your company and the position, is that anyone who is not willing to complete the assessment is likely not the kind of employee you want working for you anyway.

Assessments can be a great way to objectively rank applicants. You only have to deal with those you know will do the best at your company, and you won’t be overrun by excessive amounts of applications. You can assess whether a candidate will fit in with your culture and with a position through personality assessments.

Then you can also assess abilities through skills assessments. This prevents you from having to worry about anyone having a “gut feeling” and showing the perfect candidate the door before they have a fighting chance.

Research

Just make sure that you do your due diligence when looking into the company that will be providing the assessment for you. There are some great assessments out there from great companies with results you can trust (hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, Cangrade).

But there are also some out there that do the bare minimum, have no real scientific or analytical basis to their results and will end up costing more than they are worth. These tend to be those with the lowest price tag, goading you into trying to get all the “bang” for little buck. Really what it ends up looking like is this:

Person dumping money into a toilet bowl --- Image by © Rubberball/Corbis

Don’t do it!

I know that you don’t want to spend any more money, no one ever does! But if you do decide that an assessment makes sense for your company (and they can actually help SAVE money) you can’t just look for the cheapest option, no matter how tempting it is.

If you do your research and find a great assessment, it is going to cost money, but it will also have an amazing return on investment in the form of remarkable incoming employees who will stick around longer, and work harder than those you would hire otherwise.

I mean, look how many post-its they already put on that board! They only started working there 20 minutes ago!

I mean, look how many post-its they already put on that board! They only started working there 20 minutes ago!

Overall, screening, whether in or out, is a perfect way to make your life wading through applications easier.

Assessments are a method of screening that can further pare down your workload and simultaneously bring your best candidates to the forefront. Better for you because you get superior candidates and less of a headache, and better for the candidates who will be more likely to end up in a position and culture they like.

If you are interested in learning more about using an assessment and screening process, you can check out Cangrade.com to see our offering of fully customizable solutions to help make your life easier during the hiring process!

Image credits: http://www.juliemeek.com.au/2014/07/sitting-job/, http://fbpoll.co/2014/07/24/one-question-per-page/, http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2015/12/are-you-throwing-vet-money-down-drain.html, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/11/25/happy-employees_n_4337811.html, http://nyphotographic.com/

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