The Pros & Cons of Using Pre-Employment Assessments

The Pros & Cons of Using Pre-Employment Assessments

By Bianca Good | March 26, 2018

The cost of a bad hire adds up quickly. According to a Harris Interactive Poll, 41 percent of respondents said the cost of a bad hire was greater than $25,000 and 25 percent said the cost was greater than $50,000. After seeing these shocking numbers, you would do anything to make the right hiring decision initially, right?

Well, pre-employment assessments are there to help you. But there are downsides to implementing pre-employment testing as well. See below to learn about the pros and cons of using pre-employment assessments and determine how they will work for your company.


  • Higher-quality candidates

The data shows pre-employment assessments point to better employees. Aberdeen’s “Pre-Hire Assessments: An Asset for HR in the Age of the Candidate” research report found that hiring managers who utilize pre-employment assessments are 36 percent more satisfied with their decision than those who don’t, and companies that use assessments are 24 percent more likely to have employees who exceed performance goals.

  • More objective

When humans are involved in making judgments and determinations, there’s subjectivity involved. Pre-employment assessments remove this. The tests are the same for everyone, unlike if recruitment professionals are screening candidates. Even if screeners are following a structured interview guide, things like tone and pace can affect the outcome. Standardized tests are administered in the same way for all candidates and are focused on the job requirements. Additionally, assessments allow for the results to be quantified. If you were to require interviewers to quantify their assessment of the candidates, there would be too much bias involved to compare them fairly.

  • Saves time

If your pre-employment testing is early in the hiring process, it will save you time. By asking candidates to complete it before the interview stage, you’ll narrow your pool of candidates and be able to focus on interviewing only the cream of the crop. You can be sure with a certain score that these candidates are equipped with the technical and/or soft skills required to do the job.


  • Single-minded

Each assessment only measures one aspect of the job criteria. You may have one test that evaluates job-specific knowledge and another that assesses leadership traits or one that determines personality traits and another that measures trustworthiness. There are tons of different tests out there, but you wouldn’t want to require candidates to complete too many. The risk is that candidates will get irritated by all the assessment requirements and will drop out of the process. So, use the tests wisely and select an assessment or group of assessments that evaluate the most important job criteria.

  • “I’m great!”

A candidate who’s trying to get a job is not going to evaluate themselves as objectively as the employer probably hopes. They might answer based on what they think the employer wants to hear (whether this is conscious or subconscious). So, if an assessment asks candidates about how likely they are to learn new technologies, most will probably answer “very likely” to an innovative company. While the assessments are created to be objective, candidates may manipulate the results to show themselves in the best light. To minimize the effect of this, choose assessments wisely and always corroborate the assessment results with interviews.

  • Slow down the hiring process

While assessments can save you time during the interview stage due to a smaller, more qualified pool of candidates, introducing assessments in the hiring process means another step before work starts. If you’re not in a hurry to fill the role, this may be a non-issue. But longer time-to-fills for some job functions may have a detrimental effect on your business. If you can start the sourcing process just a few days earlier when assessments are required, this will ease the strain it puts on your timeline.

In a nutshell, the data shows that using pre-employment assessments yield higher-quality hires, but there is a cost (financial and time) associated with implementing the testing. So, it comes down to whether it’s the right fit for your company – and your positions. For managerial or technical roles, it may be worth it; for others, you may decide it’s not. Either way, ensure the testing you’re using is legal, fair and validated. And be sure to measure the quality-of-hire both pre-assessment and post-assessment so you can determine if it accurately predicts job performance for the role.


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About the Author
Bianca Good

Bianca is Senior Vice President within Healthcare specializing in Registered Nurses operating out of the Texas office.

She specializes in placing Registered Nurses into higher acuity functions across the nation’s top hospitals and healthcare systems.

Bianca and her team have successfully placed hundreds of Registered Nurses into Magnet level hospitals across the United States.

Bianca is passionate about finding individuals the next right next career move for them and their families.

She is originally from Detroit, MI, and studied Economics at Kalamazoo College, a small private liberal arts school. When Bianca is not recruiting nurses, she enjoys being outdoors, hiking, reading and cooking!

She has been in the industry for 10 years and with GQR for the past five. She couldn’t imagine doing anything else!



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