SmartRecruiters Blog

Kiss My Assessments

Abraham Lincoln famously suggested that “if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”  That’s all well and good, Abe, but what if you want to test a man’s (or woman’s) C, C++, Python, or Java coding abilities?  And while old Abe was known for his honesty, it makes sense to verify that a candidate actually has the skills he or she claims to. For the all-important task of gauging the true suitability of a job candidate, hiring managers are increasingly embracing online skills tests, personality assessments and reference checking solutions.

The Skills to Pay the Bills

“People are rapidly accumulating new skills every day,” says Jennifer Fremont-Smith,  CEO of Smarterer, a Boston-area startup offering “a seamless web technology that provides total clarity about candidates, quantifying skills in less than 120 seconds.”  Says Fremont-Smith, “Paper resumes and interviews can’t capture an accurate picture of a candidate.”  And that’s why “assessments are becoming a fundamental step in the hiring process, helping recruiters make more informed hiring decisions, and decreasing time-to-hire by surfacing the best candidates faster.”

According to Scott Marsho, Director of Distribution at Findly, “assessments are a cost-effective way to ensure that organizations are hiring the right people.”  Marsho lists the key benefits of using assessments as “streamlined selection process, decreased turnover, increased productivity, and increased legal defensibility.”

“Now more than ever people are getting degrees, credentials and learning from free resources that are inconsistent in terms of grading and content,” says Guy Friedman, CEO of HigherNext. “This increases the need for an adequate filtering system based on knowledge and skills relevant to a specific job.”


The Missing Piece

And while hard skills are in demand, so are soft skills such as the ability to adapt, collaborate and iterate creatively.  And skills like those don’t necessarily show up on a resume. Increasingly, companies are using online solutions to measure these abilities as well, tapping into a growing field of companies offering personality, cognitive and job fit assessments

“Resume review is one of the least accurate predictors of job performance,” says Michael Tanenbaum, Founder of ConnectCubed, a maker of gamified psychometric assessments.  “Even work experience comes in at a measly .18 correlation with future job performance according to some researchers. If you’re hiring based on a resume, you’re missing critical data – and that means hiring mistakes and lost revenue.”

So not only are the latest assessment solutions time-savers, they can lead to huge cost savings by avoiding bad hires.

“You can review a report in seconds,” says Tanebaum, “saving you years of stress and hassle by weeding out bad hires, and helping you capture great new revenue opportunities by weeding in perfect fits every time.”


Better Living Through Chemistry

And the science behind candidate assessments keeps getting better.  “Personality assessments have come light years in both quality and the ability to scale,” says Christine Bird, co-founder of

“By combining high quality scientifically-backed assessments, scalable online technology and Big Data, for the first time, hiring managers don’t have to rely on the subjective hiring process — they can get the critical data to match the right applicant to the right positions.” backs up their personality assessments with cutting-edge behavioral research, something the average hiring manager is not likely to be on top of.

Tom Janz, Chief Scientist at PeopleAssessments, stresses that “employers need to ‘science up’ to recruit smarter. Online assessments with a strong record of predicting job performance are the cost effective solution for today’s smart recruiters.”

According to Kerry Schofield, Cofounder/Chief Psychometrician at Good.Co, “the way things are developing, heavily automated, online psychometric recruitment is going to be standard very soon, and companies who don’t use this resource are going to be missing out.”


Trust But Verify

Another crucial component in the assessment process is reference checks.  Gone are the days of tracking down former employers on the phone to gauge a candidate’s suitability for the job.  Just as technology allows us to quickly and effectively assess a candidate’s skills, so, too does it now allow for effortless reference-checking. Products such as Chequed now automate what was once an old-fashioned, time consuming process.

Says Matt Gough, Co-Founder of Chequed, “Our solution empowers businesses to not only streamline their talent selection process but provide objective, consistent and predictive information about their candidates.”  Anyone familiar with labor law will immediately grasp the importance of objectivity in hiring, and, increasingly, the “predictive” part of the process is attractive to hiring managers looking to avoid costly bad hires — and to save time.


A New Standard

Assessment solutions are fast becoming an integral part of any smart hiring process.  The technology is there — and at an increasingly low cost to the hiring manager — so companies are starting to view it as a crucial step in the hiring process.  Given the high cost of a bad hire, it makes sense to do it right the first time.

“Is it possible to get great hires without including any assessments in the process?” asks Ravi Mikkelsen, Co-Founder and CEO at jobFig.  “Of course you can. But similarly to how technology helps to improve the  building of cars, houses, computers and just about everything we use, why not have it help build the teams we’ll spend most of our waking hours with?”

Honest Abe couldn’t have said it better himself.

Benjamin Klafter

@BizDevBen is a native of San Francisco, practices martial arts, and is on a quest to partner with all the best recruiting services.