12 Guidelines companies need to follow in their Pre-Employment Assessments

Hiring practices have changed dramatically in the last few years. Technology changed the rules and jobseekers need to be aware of that. If a company expects high quality candidates they need to make sure that they also portray their own company in a professional manner. A pre-employment test is one strategy that a company can use in order to brand themselves as a great, future-oriented company.

Many big companies already use pre-employment tests in order to source their talents in a quicker and better way. Many other organisations also need to think about what strategies they can apply in the near future in order to hire well qualified and motivated talents too.

The challenge for companies is to inform and prepare candidates in an effective and thorough way about their corporate hiring practices. Candidates need to know what they are expected to do, so that they will not face any unexpected surprises at any stage in the hiring/assessment process. These are the 12 points that candidates would appreciate from companies who offer online assessment tests:

1. A smooth transition from the application to the assessment.

Often the assessment is being outsourced to a third party. This should be done in a smooth way so that the candidate doesn’t get confused and knows that it is still part of the company’s application process.

2. The type of test.

Providing an example of the test would be beneficial so that candidates are made fully aware of what the test looks and feels like.

3. The length of the test.

Specifying if a test is time-limited or not is also helpful. It gives a candidate the idea under how much pressure he is under. For initial tests and screenings it would be advisable to keep strict time limitations. Research and experience has shown that offering a test of less than one hour duration looks more attractive.

4. The reason for the test.

In order to make it more meaningful it would be advisable to let the candidate know why the test is required, so that they have a full understanding of it.

5. The design and presentation.

The assessment should be: visually attractive, user-friendly, professional, easy to follow and with clear instructions.

6. The technical accessibility.

The test should be easily accessible to everyone regardless on what browser, operating system or gadget someone is working on. Everyone should have the opportunity to apply without any technical limitations.

7. The technical support.

Throughout the test a jobseeker should have someone from a Helpdesk department to contact in case technical help is required. This should be offered at any time, no matter where in the world the person is residing. Nobody should have to quit a test in the middle of the process due to technical issues.

8. The “Engagement” Factor.

Let’s be honest, how many jobseekers are looking forward to participate in online assessments before they know whether they will get a chance for an interview or not? Most of the people will perceive it as an additional effort that needs to be made, while very few people might consider it as a true challenge that they are looking forward to. Few, if at all, would describe these tests as an entertaining and engaging experience. In the future we will see that companies will invest more of their time and money to make it a more engaging and inspiring activity because jobseekers will demand it. Presenting tests in a real-life scenario, customised to the company’s situation and corporate culture, is something that would surely impress everybody. 

9. The reason for certain questions.

Often candidates are wondering how certain questions relate to certain jobs. The more the content of the assessment has a feel and outlook of the job the better and the more sense it will make to any potential candidate.

10. The feedback with the result.

There are four strategies that companies can choose from when it comes to telling their candidates how they performed.

  1. To provide no feedback at all. Something that would reflect very negative on a company’s image and is definitely not recommended.
  2. To tell the candidate immediately after completing the test whether they failed or passed. Walmart, for example, is applying this strategy.
  3. To let them know at a later stage how they performed. In this case it is important to assure them that they will hear from the company within a set time frame. Candidates should not have to experience that they have to chase the company in order to find out about their result. It would be also beneficial to let them know who from the HR department and how (via phone, email etc.) they will get in touch with them.

11. The result.

Often candidates are not being given the result or the interpretation of their test results. A company who would provide constructive feedback to each job applicant would surely stand out from the crowd.

12. The Thank You Note.

Thanking every candidate for their interest in the company and for having taken the test is a must. If you can add a greeting with the candidate’s personal name at the beginning of your thank you note, it will surely be noticed! Remember that personalisation makes always a difference.

These suggestions will help a company to make their online assessments a more enjoyable, positive, enriching and pleasant experience for their jobseekers.

Karin Schroeck-Singh
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a passionate Public Speaker, eBook Author, and a freelancing Online Content Producer. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 18 years of international work experience in Italy, the UK and India.