How does your company find the best candidates for your job openings? If it’s like most firms, you advertise, cull through the thousands of resumes your HR department receives, decide on a list of frontrunners whom you interview by phone or in-person (or both, sequentially). It’s only when you’re narrowing the field to the finalists that you may use a tool like psychometric tests to determine who fits the position best.
Researchers John Bateson, Jochen Wirtz, Eugene Burke, and Carly Vaughan want you to start with the testing before you even get to the resumes. In their Harvard Business Review article “When Hiring, First Test, Then Interview, “ they point out the pitfalls of the traditional order and the advantages of testing:
“The test-first approach makes sense for several reasons. Evidence suggests that many more applicants today—by some estimates, nearly 50%—embellish their CVs than did so in the past, reducing the utility of résumés as initial screening tools. At the same time, the advent of web-based psychometric tests has made testing less expensive and more convenient. And recent research across industries shows that these tests are good predictors of performance.”
Their examples provide compelling statistics. The Dependability and Safety Instrument (DSI), an 18-question online assessment developed by the British test publisher SHL (which employs two of the article’s coauthors) was used by a UK energy company concerned with absenteeism. Of the 136 new employees who took the assessment, the workers who scored in the highest 30% of the group were 2.3 times as likely to have perfect attendance as workers who scored in the bottom 30% over their first six months of employment.
Wow. Wouldn’t it have been better to know that before you even brought them on the job?
Laura Abrahamsen, November 26, 2013