Do I need to invest in expensive recruitment testing? – StartupSmart

I’ve just left a big employer that spent lots of money on in-depth, technical tests for new recruits. Do I need to be investing time and money in this when I get round to hiring, or is this only a luxury for the big guys?


With online questionnaires, the cost of pre-employment testing is no longer just a luxury for the big guys and definitely should be seen as one of the essential tools in hiring new recruits.


Firstly, let’s have a look at why pre-employment testing has become so popular and why it is such a vital tool.


Whether you are a small or large business, recruiting staff is both time consuming and costly to the business. It has also become a longer process in the last few years due to the talent shortage.


Therefore you need to get the new hire as right as possible, particularly when you consider the cost of getting it wrong – if someone on an annual salary of $50,000 leaves in the first 12 months, it will cost your business at least double their salary with direct and indirect costs.


And then there’s the chance of getting it right at interview. Most of us like to believe that we are good at sensing the right person.


Unfortunately, research shows that this couldn’t be further from the truth.


Passionate small business owners also tend to interview subjectively rather than objectively, by selecting like-minded people or someone that we strike up an instant rapport with.


Taking into account that you only get to see 20% of the person’s true personality at interview, pre-employment testing helps fill in the other 80%.


There are three main categories of pre-employment testing: psychometric, aptitude and skills, and medical testing.


Psychometric testing measures motivation, abilities, attitudes and personality traits and is mostly suited to office and management positions. Aptitude and skills tests measures numeracy, spatial skills and verbal and abstract reasoning and is used mostly for recruiting trade-based jobs.


If you decide to add pre-employment testing to your recruitment process, make sure you think about the outcomes you want from the profiling report. The report has to give you the tools to manage the person more successfully, reflect the behavioural traits required to the role and, most importantly, be in plain English that is easy to understand.


For example, if you are looking to hire a gun sales person, the high scoring traits would include persuasive, confident, competitive, outgoing, driven, achieving and self motivated. You would not be looking for someone who scored highly on conventional, introspective or detail-oriented traits.


Finally, there are hundreds of psychometric tests commercially available online for a very reasonable cost – under $100. From my experience, I would go with the behavioural profiling every time – you can teach skills but you can’t change behaviours.

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