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3 Best Practices in Talent Assessment Tool Selection

Talent Assessments offer valuable insights to HR teams about their candidates and improves selection descion making. With that, HR teams often make mistakes in selecting assessment tools, causing serious financial, talent and efficiency impact. Following best practices while selecting talent assessment tools can help avoid these problems and ensure effective assessment use. 

Talent Assessments have long been part of most mid to large size companies hiring and promotional process. They come in different uses from the “time-pressured” Cognitive Test Suites, to the “discover yourself” Personality Profiles, to the “let’s see what you’ve learnt” Skill Test. With an array of ways to gain insights into candidates even before interviewing them, it comes as no surprise that many companies have adopted Talent Assessments as a mandatory part of their recruitment and talent management process. In fact, as of 2019, 75% of Fortune 500 companies use psychometric testing in recruitment (Independent, 2019). *

Up to 78% of resumes are misleading and up to 46% contain actual lies!*****

Benefits of Talent Assessments

So what benefits have Talent Assessment tools brought to companies that have made it go from a World War 1 recruiting tool to an estimated USD2-4 billion industry today? Talent assessment tools have brought significant improvement to 3 critical areas of business:

1. Business Performance

Increase sales, reduce attrition, extend tenure and improve performance. Get the right people in the right roles.

2. Candidate Experience

Win appreciation with branded and gamified assessments in a quick and engaging hiring process.

3. Process Efficiency

Know your metrics and align your talent strategy. Focus on what matters. Easily and seamlessly present results.

Even more impressive to note is companies that have kept a close eye on measuring the impact of Talent Assessments were able to produce objective figures such as**:

  • 36% Increase in Revenue
  • 40% Reduce in Resources
  • 40% Reduce in Time-To-Hire
  • 25% Increase in Tenure

Research conducted by the Aberdeen Group has found that companies who use pre-hire assessment tests report a 39% lower turnover rate.*****

The Single Biggest Mistake in Talent Assessment Practices

With all these impressive benefits it would appear that HR teams could do no wrong when they include Talent Assessment tools as part of their core talent processes. However, even the best-trained HR teams often end up making one of the biggest mistakes in Talent Assessment practices – onboarding too many Talent Assessment tools. Just like we often over-indulge in desserts because they taste good, only to later suffer, so do HR teams often end up having too many tools and thereby diluting the original purpose.

Negative Effects of Having Too Many Assessment Tools

If Talent Assessments hold that much benefit, what could possibly be the negative effects of on-boarding multiple tools? Let’s explore the 3 key negative effects of having multiple assessment tools:

1. Significant increase in costs

The 1st problem is obvious, yet many HR teams still spend redundantly on tools and providers, directly contributing to an increase in assessment costs often by 2 to 3 times, and in turn impacting bottom-line. Why would they do that? Often decisions are triggered because of a new buzzword or trend in the Talent Assessment market, which drives a company to rush and onboard another tool in addition to their existing portfolio of assessments, without consideration of long-term use, impact and cost. In addition to the above, certain tools or providers may also include a hidden cost that only becomes clear as testing volume grows. The real impact is felt when the business asks HR to defend these costs and as the redundancy becomes apparent, what do you think happens to next year’s budgets?

2. Significant increase in execution time

The 2nd problem is not hard to imagine. Your company has onboarded its 5th Talent Assessment provider because of which your team will need to be trained on new tools and reports, thereby increasing the time needed for training. Building further on this – as Talent teams hand Managers a new report, which has a different format from the ones they have been using previously, more confusion arises. Finally, significant manual effort and time spent on collating data from multiple reports to convert that into a single source of truth. This of course also carries the risk of manual errors creeping into the data. All this has already stretched your time, making you miss your KPI targets. So remember that every new tool, report or provider necessitates in-depth knowledge and training, or else results will not be optimum.

3. Too much data, no information

A Forrester report stated that between 60% to 73% of all data within an enterprise*** goes unused for analytics. This includes talent assessment tools data that often gets collected but does not get turned into information. Having multiple assessment tools often causes data to be plentiful, but too varied for HR to turn into meaningful information and insights needed for effective decision making. This is mainly caused by each tool having its own logic behind the data leading to conflict of data points and therefore HR not being able to draw a definite conclusion.

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3 Best Practices to Follow in Tool Selection

Now that we have understood the detrimental impact of having too many Talent Assessment tools, we will identify 3 steps HR teams can take to avoid falling into this trap.

1. Clearly identify what needs to be measured

A recent study by McKinsey & Co rightly stated that “Simple advice—if there isn’t direct science linking the assessment to job performance or to the characteristic you’ve determined matters for the job in question, don’t use it.”****

HR teams must start by clearly identifying what factors will tell them if a candidate will or will not be a right fit for the role in question. These factors can include anything that will predict performance such as leadership traits, technical skills, cultural alignment, cognitive ability, etc. Only once this has been set should HR start to evaluate assessments tools that are able to accurately measure the criterion set, thereby increasing the relevancy of each tool. By practising this, your HR team may find that having 4-5 types of assessments should be able to cover all testing needs.

2. Customise and Contextualise Outputs

Often, the journey leading into onboarding multiple tools doesn’t begin with the search for a better test, but a search for a better output. Many talent assessments today have reached similar levels of validity, making differences in input very minimal. With test validity being standardised and controlled by industry bodies, assessments have now turned their attention to improving outputs. The toughest job HR teams have in the introduction of a new talent assessment tool is to convince business managers that this new assessment will give them better results. The biggest challenge stems from the fact that talent assessment outputs general speak a more psychological language which is unfamiliar to business managers. HR’s strategy to win this is to work with talent assessment tools that are able to customise and contextualise their outputs to language familiar to their organisation. By using terms familiar to the business (e.g. internal frameworks) and avoiding jargon when producing assessment outputs will increase the familiarity effect, and increase adoption rates by the business.

3. Consolidate when multiple tools are unavoidable

With many organisations going through transformation and diversification, the need for evaluating varied and complex types of traits and skills leads to multiple tools becoming unavoidable. When faced with this situation, HR teams should always search for talent assessment tools that can consolidate output as far as possible. This will ensure that problem 2 and 3 either do not occur, or their impact is minimised. Additionally, with data interpretation and consolidation being done by AI-driven platforms today, insights produced can be more in-depth and non-conflicting, which is a big challenge when done manually.

In conclusion

By understanding the 3 impacts of multiple assessments tools, we now know the cost of making the biggest talent assessment tool mistake. If your current company’s approach to talent assessments needs to be reviewed, remember the 3 best practices to ensure you get the most out of your talent assessments.

Interested in knowing how a single integrated platform can help you consolidate multiple data-points from talent assessments to make better talent decisions? Send an email today to







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