How These Recent Business Trends Affect Pre-Employment Testing and Can Lead to Hiring Mistakes.


Most discussions about hiring mistakes involve the person or people making the hiring decision. Here is a new take on hiring mistakes from a business or organizational perspective. Based on our consulting in employee selection, this blog reveals five current business trends we are seeing that can impact your effectiveness in identifying and hiring the right people.

1. Cycle Time. “It has to be short.”

It seems the priority today is to make pre-employment testing as short as possible so candidates won’t get bored and drop out of the process. While a fair amount of information can be obtained in 10 to 15 minutes, there is a diminishing return as tests become shorter and shorter. In general, the shorter the test, the less reliable and accurate. Due to the stereotype of millennials having a short attention span, employers seem even more willing to rely on short, less accurate tests – at the risk of making more hiring mistakes. If test length is a primary criterion for choosing pre-employment tests, then hiring mistakes are likely.

TIPS FOR AVOIDING MISTAKES: Look for pre-employment tests that increase accuracy by gathering more applicant data in a short amount of time. Tests can be shorter – but they must be precise.

2. Test Validity. “Is it valid?”

We are often asked, Is your test valid? with the expected answer of yes or no. The science of testing and validity is not a yes or no question. Validity has a range from lowest to highest, and employment tests vary across this range. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) reports that the most highly predictive tests are work samples and simulations. Yet a recent survey showed that the majority of employers use tests which fall into the lowest quartiles of predictive accuracy. Validity is not subjective. So, an executive saying, “I took the test, and it really pegged me,” is merely an opinion and a poor rationale for choosing a pre-employment test.

TIPS FOR AVOIDING MISTAKES:  Validity is a science and should be thoroughly documented, including factual evidence of validity (i.e., statistical correlation). Take time to learn the validity ranges for different categories of pre-employment tests. (See the attached chart based on data from the OPM that ranks a variety of testing methods.)

3. Employment Branding. Link between expectations and engagement.

A strong trend today relates to the message your employment process is sending to job candidates. Every step in the process, including employment testing, sends a message about your organization. To be perceived as a strong, progressive, and future-oriented company, all aspects of your employment brand must reflect this commitment. Candidates will likely form a negative impression if elements of your hiring process are perceived as subjective, intrusive, boring, or irrelevant to the job. Both candidates and hiring organizations must understand the expectations of the other party. Mismatched expectations lead to job dissatisfaction – and job dissatisfaction leads to turnover.

TIPS FOR AVOIDING MISTAKES:  Evaluate your hiring process to ensure that each step supports your employment brand. Understanding your audience will enhance the perception of your organization and lead to higher engagement now – and once new hires are on the job.

4. Convenience. “Let’s automate everything.”

Recruiting, screening, qualifying, and onboarding job candidates takes time. Thanks to technology, however, many of the arduous tasks are now automated. While automation and convenience are important, these factors alone do not ensure a positive result. We all endeavor to offer an efficient screening process, but too much automation can make an organization seem impersonal. For example, texting is quick and convenient – but can’t compare with communicating face-to-face with a real person. Your selection process is much the same. For the best results, strive to balance convenience with making a personal connection.

TIPS FOR AVOIDING MISTAKES:  The most effective candidate screening processes place the most objective and automated steps first. This enables you to quickly and accurately identify top candidates, so you can focus personal attention on those with the highest potential for success.

5. Price. When paying less costs more.

We all love a bargain. But in the realm of pre-employment testing, paying less can end up costing more. It’s easy to consider employment testing as a commodity with a goal of obtaining the best possible price. However, if our goal is to maximize success in predicting the best candidates while minimizing the risk of hiring the wrong person, test price can work against you. Price is important, to be sure, but if the assessment doesn’t engage your candidates and accurately predict top performers, you won’t get a good return. The price of the test PLUS the cost of hiring mistakes can quickly turn a “great deal” into an expensive mistake.


By all means negotiate the best price, but don’t lose sight of validity and value. Pre-employment tests that deliver the highest accuracy in predicting job performance also deliver the highest cost savings and ROI.

At Employment Technologies, we’ve been helping our clients achieve Hire Confidence for more than 20 years. Our award-winning EASy Simulations are nationally recognized for condensing key job requirements into short, engaging, and highly predictive scenarios that pinpoint the best new talent. Plus they create a fun and positive experience your candidates will actually enjoy!

Contact me today to discuss your unique hiring needs, and how we can help you gain Hire Confidence.

Let’s talk! 888.332.0648