Are you misusing talent assessment tools?

Many pre-hire assessment companies offer a one-size-fits-all approach, claiming a certain test will help you find the “best” candidates – no matter what positions you are trying to fill.

However, implementing an out-of-the-box personality test (or a critical thinking test, or a problem-solving test) by itself will not help resolve your hiring issues. The best way to ensure you’re connecting with the right talent is to utilize customized, validated assessment tools, and experienced workforce experts who can help you use them to their full potential.

What many organizations – both assessment vendors and their clients – seem to miss when implementing pre-hire assessments is the simple fact that not all positions, organizations, and candidates are created equal. There is no magic assessment test that every company in the world can use identify the ideal candidate.


Simply put – because no two companies and no two job positions are the same. Generic assessments don’t take into account the specific culture of your organization or the unique details of the position the employee will hold. It’s incredibly difficult to recruit the best candidates for your company if you are using the same tests as your competitors, and fishing from the same talent pool.

Just as your company has created a line of goods or services that stand out from the rest, you also must create a talent acquisition process that stands out from the rest.

Disadvantages of Out-of-the-Box Pre-Hire Assessments

Out-of-the-box talent assessments are not capable of analyzing and evaluating job-specific skillsets and traits that are the most valuable to your compnay. Instead, these tests only identify average traits of the basic high performer – not what your organization considers a high performer. The difference in competencies required for similar positions within your company (or for the same role in your competitors’ organizations) may seem small, but they can (and do) have a big impact.

FurstPerson recently worked with a leading insurance company to improve their hiring practices for both the customer service and the claims positions. After a complete job analysis, our team determined that while the two positions were very similar, there was one major difference in core competencies: customer service required adaptability and openness, while claims required composure.

This information, collected with the help of a detailed job analysis, allowed FurstPerson to customize the client’s talent assessment tests for both positions and reduced attrition by 49 percent.

Advantages of Utilizing Customized Hiring Tools

The use of customized talent assessment tools enables your company to identify the specific skills and qualities that matter most for success in a given position. Let’s say for example that you are recruiting live chat agents, whose main responsibilities will be to provide text-based support. An off-the-shelf assessment test may include a typing test and evaluate general communication skills. However, live chat customer support positions require more than typing speed and accuracy.

Customized assessments take into account how well candidates can manage multiple inputs, as well as:

  • Service orientation
  • Multi-tasking
  • Data entry
  • Software navigation
  • Sales potential
  • Ability to resolve issues quickly and accurately

In addition to job-specific skills, customized assessment tools also will emulate company-specific qualities. You can use personality tests and simulation tools to identify candidates who are most likely to engage well with your target customer positively. You can identify applicants that can handle everything from a customer who mumbles to one that is emotionally charged.

How to Properly Use Talent Assessments

Integrating customized talent assessment tools into your talent acquisition process does take time – but the results provide far greater predictive power than out-of-the-box solutions. When implementing a pre-hire assessment, you should:

  • Call in the Experts – Expertise is necessary to create customized hiring solutions that improve predictive hiring power. Workforce scientists take the time to evaluate the job itself as well as working environment – the company “culture” – to determine applicable drivers and inhibitors.
  • Conduct a Job Analysis – While telecommunication agent positions may look similar from company to company or even department to department – they still have crucial differences. A comprehensive job analysis of each agent position will determine the specific skillsets, attributes, and traits needed for premium performance at each position.
  • Identify the Right Assessment Tools – Using the information from the above studies, employment tests that will measure the qualities needed to perform successfully are identified. The chosen assessment should have a solid track record for accurately measuring competencies for the given position.
  • Conduct a Validation Study – As with all business processes, you should evaluate your talent acquisition process by conducting a validation study. This will compare talent assessment test success to actual on-the-job performance. This will help you determine if the customized solutions are effective or if adjustments must be made.
  • Complete Business Review – A complete business evaluation that takes a close look at how the hiring process fits into the larger strategies of the business should be performed regularly. It is crucial that your talent acquisition process and business strategies be inextricably linked to provide optimum success.