Today’s topic

Why early stage psychometric assessments are a vital recruitment tool

Around 75% of Fortune 500 companies use psychometric assessments as part of their recruitment strategy. Traditionally, psychometric tests have been expensive to administer; they have been lengthy both in duration and time needed to train staff to learn, administer and interpret. Result? They’ve been held to the end of a recruitment, used as a ‘validator’ - a rubber-stamp that this candidate is good-to-go.

The SHRM estimate Cost Per Hire at US$4,425; can early stage psychometrics help recruiters to save time and money? Can they help both recruiters and candidates to have a smoother, more targeted experience? Can they stop recruiters from misguidedly ploughing their time into candidates who aren’t suitable (and missing those who have hidden potential)?

What about those candidates who are being ignored when, really, they have the potential to thrive? What about all the 70% of the workforce who are passive candidates, interacting with your brand every time they scroll through social media? How to invite their applications without burdening overworked TAs and hiring managers?

Can early stage assessments can make significant improvements to every stage of the recruiting process? Yes, they can.

What do psychometric assessments measure?

First off, let’s clarify what psychometric assessments can and cannot do. As a vast generalisation, psychometric assessments measure an individual’s cognitive abilities and personality traits in order to understand which candidates are the best fit for any given job. They offer you a lens to refine your search, and understand who has potential.

Psychometric assessments cannot tell you who can and will be the top performer, and they cannot predict day-to-day outcomes.

Psychometric assessments based on personality science, such as the Big Five Model of personality, can provide recruitment teams with evidence-based candidate profiles, allowing recruiting decisions to be made with insight and from evidence, and so reduce bias.

Personal History creates bias in screening applications

Bias in recruiting is a major problem, with CVs the major barrier to equity. Researcher Eve Derous from Ghent University says that “Resumes are one of the most important sources of information when HR-managers and recruiters initially screen applicants for jobs”. Result? Researchers from the UK’s Centre for Social Investigation found that:

“On average, nearly one in four applicants from the majority [ethnic] group (24%) received a callback from employers. The job search effort was less successful for ethnic minorities who, despite having identical CVs and cover letters, needed to send 60% more applications in order to receive as many callbacks as the majority group.”

Infographic_Callbacks (1)

Psychometric assessments remove bias at screening

Sara Dalsfelt from recruitment marketing specialists Adway says, “The first 20% of the [recruitment] process provides 80% of the objectivity: when we use psychometrics at the beginning of our recruitment process, we avoid people losing out to bias because of their name, ethnicity, gender or assumed background.”

Unless ATS settings are set to screen out all personal history, it’s impossible to eliminate unconscious bias from the application process. Personal history - information about a candidate’s name, age, perceived ethnicity, gender, and even their education, qualifications and employment history - are vulnerable to bias.

Does the candidate have 3, 5 or 10 years experience? Have they achieved a certain qualification - do you understand their qualifications? Have they worked at a certain type of business before? Do any of these questions really let you know who has the potential to deliver?

58% of survey respondents told Hireserve that they don’t apply for jobs where the list of ‘essentials’ are so numerous as to feel dissuasive.

Hiring strategies that demand years of experience as a screening question risk losing out on the 50% of career engaged people who are aiming for a portfolio career.

Early-stage psychometric assessments that are based on personality science enable recruiters to understand more readily who has the right readiness and potential to thrive. Simultaneously, they offer a solution to the unconscious bias that pwc estimates costs the UK economy £I billion every year.

Scale your talent pool without damaging employer branding

The average candidate completes anything between 21 and 80 applications to land a job, and the average corporate job opening receives roughly 250 applications. It’s understandable that screening is thought of as ‘screening people out’. And if you’re looking to harness your B2C or B2B brand to drive recruitment and engage those 70% of passive candidates, can it be wise to widen the talent pool?

Nordic cosmetic giant Lyko partnered with Alva just before the first Covid lockdown. Early into the partnership, ecommerce demand exploded, and Lyko needed to hire staff across its verticals. In 2020 alone, Lyko received more than 13,600 applications for only 260 roles: that’s a 2% success rate for applicants, and around 1,100 applications a month.

Every candidate received automated feedback on their application, receiving personalised insights. Result? CHRO Moa Wictorén told us, “We get great feedback from our candidates on how we meet them and how we follow up with them.”

Only 39% of companies provide real-time status alerts after a candidate’s application - but pwc report that 65% of candidates would like an application dashboard to provide status updates. With 75% of job seekers being ghosted by recruiters over their career, fears of breadcrumbing are understandable; recruiters who go above and beyond will engage the most desired talent.

pwc also report that 44% of candidates said they’re open to using automation and technology options for routine communications.

Add in the value of insights from early stage psychometric assessments, and you’re offering candidates insights about themselves that they can use for any application, further lifting and strengthening your employer brand.

Respect your candidate’s time & improve your employer brand

57% of applications are terminated when they take too long, reducing TA’s ability to create talent pools. With 86% of candidates applying for positions via their phones, Sara Dalsfelt recommends making your top funnel “as smooth as Klarna”.

Fredrik Wong, Production Engineer at Teledyne FLIR, used Alva’s assessments to apply for an internal vacancy, and he valued the efficiency of an early-stage assessment:

“as a candidate, if I don’t get through the early assessment, at least I don’t waste loads of time on an application just to find out, later on, that it’s not going forwards.”

Group 46 (1)

Hireserve found that candidates expect automations to be efficient and reciprocal: “Most [recruitment processes] seem to be automated with no feedback, so why waste time on a lengthy form filling process?” said an anonymous survey respondent. Early stage psychometrics that are optimised for feedback allow recruiters to give feedback without any hands-on time, or increase in Cost per Hire.

Identify the candidates who have potential

The World Economic Forum estimates that 40% of today’s job skills will change in five years, and 12% of the world’s population will need re-skilling in the coming decade; McKinsey report that “25% more workers than previously estimated potentially needed to change occupations.” HR leaders at the Sifted Summit, reiterated the importance of understanding potential:

“Don't assume you know what potential looks like. People show their mettle when they’re under pressure, so your hiring process needs to uncover how people cope; use a structured, situational based interviewing process and psychometric tests to understand what truly comprises success.”

Early stage psychometric assessments allow recruiters to focus on the right candidates from day one, irrespective of name, age, gender or other unimportant, biased, personal history based judgements.

Using recruitment tools to build a data-driven, evidence based profile

Structured Interviews are one of the most important processes for any recruiter looking to decrease bias, as they allow a horizontal analysis of candidate’s answers. Jens Engrund, Talent Manager at Teledyne FLIR uses early stage assessments to allow Hiring Managers to build candidate profiles that are based on potential, core skills and readiness. Jens uses psychometric data in preparation for interviews, then adding data from objective, skills-based interview questions.

This transparent decision making process is simple for both Hiring Manager and recruiter to understand how and why decisions are made: “transparency is key”, he told us.

Objectively assessing candidates reduces bias, and helps recruiters to build diverse teams that are 36% more likely to outperform teams low in diversity.

Leaving psychometrics as a late-stage process risks wasting candidate time; it also runs that risk of over-emphasising their ability to predict success. They can’t!

But early-stage psychometric assessments allow recruiters and Hiring Managers to understand which candidates have the core skills to drive success; they allow quick, efficient and accurate decisions to be made; they allow everyone to use their time well, they enable transparency and let candidates know that every application will be honoured, whoever the applicant and wherever they’re from.

They allow recruiters to make excellent, timely and more accurate decisions and deliver the skills needed in future-fit teams.

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