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Why Candidates Won't Take Your Pre-Employment Assessments

Pre-Employment Assessments

“Thank you for your interest in [Unnamed Company], and congrats on progressing to the next stage of the hiring process! We are glad to extend you an invitation to complete our two pre-employment assessments: a cognitive evaluation and a personality assessment, after reviewing your work history.”

To begin with, the word "pre-employment" is being mentioned pretty loosely here. This is the first interaction one has had with the company.  Yes, that's also technically pre-employment, although a more accurate term would be "pre-interview." While it's doubtful that this wording is intended to deceive, it certainly gives the impression that the candidate is more advanced in the process than they actually are.

Furthermore, these tests have really nothing to do with the job. The cognitive test consists of 50 math and problem-solving questions that must be answered in 15 minutes. A test like this could be good for a bank teller or auditor role. But  John, on the other hand, is a designer. It's ludicrous to judge one's job aptitude solely on their ability to do long division without a calculator.

On LinkedIn, we frequently see articles about how the hiring process is broken and how we should stop treating people like numbers. At the same time, we are witnessing an increase in this type of behaviour. So it appears that this is the topic of discussion. All it does is make us worry if and when things will start to change.

Why Candidates Won't Take Your Pre-Employment Assessments

So, in true hyper-critical spirit, here are three reasons why a current job applicant will not take your pre-employment assessment test.

It makes a poor first impression

When your first engagement with a potential team member is to tell them they aren't worth your time, it doesn't exactly make a good first impression. The desire to automate the hiring process is understandable. It necessitates time and resources that many small businesses and startups lack.  But when you offer someone an evaluation before speaking with them,  you transmit the impression that your time is more precious than theirs. It also says little about your company. To a candidate, it's a red sign if you're so busy that you can't find time to vet a new hire. It indicates  that your workplace is either disorganised or badly managed. And the candidate is not looking forward to jumping into either of those situations.

It also suggests that your recruiting team isn't particularly important. Isn't that what a recruiter's job entails? Do you conduct background checks on job applicants? Perhaps this could be reading too much, but pre-employment tests suggest that your firm is inefficient. If you have a recruitment team, a pre-employment assessment is an unnecessary step.

It's demeaning

Congratulations! Despite the fact that we've evaluated your credentials and employment history, we're going to think you're an idiot. We're going to require you to take this IQ test right now. Thanks.

It's understandable.  Occasionally, people lie on their resumes. However, telling a prospective employee that you don't trust them isn't the best way to begin a relationship. Whether you have a recruiting team or not, determining whether someone inflated their talents and expertise should not be difficult.

Requiring a candidate to take an assessment test before even talking to them on the phone is asking for a lot of up front investment on their part without any reciprocation on yours. The candidate has already spent time filling out an application, writing a cover letter, and crafting a creative response to your question of what makes me unique in 140 characters or less. Asking them to jump through a few more hoops before even having a phone screening seems like a never-ending charade for someone who might be already working full-time somewhere else.

Pre-Employment Assessments

It reveals something about your culture

We've heard that personality tests are used to establish culture fit, at least in part. But, um, isn't that why culture interviews are conducted? One can sit down and have a talk if they want to see how well a prospective candidate will fit into their organisation's culture.

When a candidate is asked to take a personality test in order to assess cultural fit, it screams monoculture. It implies that you're looking for folks that think and act the same way you do. They  don't want to be a part of that culture. They  want to work with a broad set of people that think and act differently from them, who can push them to be a better person.

Last but not least, your company culture comes across as extremely antisocial in this case. It indicates that you'd rather give them an exam than actually talk to them. Why would a candidate want to be a part of a team that would prefer not to meet them?

Why pre-employment screenings are beneficial to businesses

It's difficult to fully evaluate a candidate from all aspects. Interview processes are nerve-wracking; one "mistake" and a candidate will be passed over for a second interview or a job offer. Candidates maintain their guarded demeanour, going to great lengths to appear eager and well-matched to the job description. Some recruiting supervisors may be inexperienced or inept at separating the competent from the unqualified. As a result, a pre-employment assessment or test is used to assist them. 91 percent of organisations use these types of assessments during the hiring process, according to the 2018 Talent Board Candidate Experience Research Report.

Boost the hiring efficiency

It should be simple and quick to obtain information about a candidate. One advantage of a pre-employment assessment is how rapidly a manager can learn about a candidate. This saves time and simplifies an otherwise time-consuming procedure.

Better fit with more information

Hiring a worker necessitates a significant investment of time and money. The cost of keeping a vacancy available, as determined through repeated interviews. When resources are scarce, aptitude tests are one technique to help managers. Teams want coworkers that go above and beyond the job description: they want someone who will stick with them, help them out in times of need, and, at the end of the day, be fun to hang out with.

Both parties should benefit from pre-employment assessments

This is one method to deal with "doubters," or people who have valid concerns about the tests' efficacy. It's difficult to persuade individuals to try new things; many people are wary of using technology, especially when dealing with sensitive topics like their personality or how they'll fit into a team.

How can recruiting managers demonstrate their concern for candidates

Prior to the interview

When an applicant receives an interview request, the customary email is sent: "Hey, you've been picked for an interview." We'd want you to complete this pre-employment questionnaire.” It's a little...anticlimactic. They've just spent a certain number of hours drafting a cover letter, tweaking their résumé, and browsing a company's application site. A pre-employment assessment can feel like winning the lottery only to find out the reward is a fake bird. Not a good first impression.

Include a “why” segment

Explain to them how much you regard them as a person and that you'd like to provide their interviewer a more complete picture of who you are. With this information, an interviewer may focus on crafting more emotive and insightful questions that are specific to the prospect and their background. The HR department just upped their candidate experience game by include "why." Applicants will have the impression that they are being paid attention to. Include the name of the person who is interviewing them, as well as a link to their LinkedIn page if possible. This creates a visual balance between the online test and the personal connection.

Provide candidates with feedback

A pre-employment test provides new insight into a user's skills and flaws. Taking the time to take a test should provide an advantage to potential employees. Find testing that will benefit both parties. It doesn't have to be a one-way path when it comes to evaluations. In reality, considering that the work paradigm is shifting toward flatter hierarchies, this design demonstrates vision.


In conclusion, the interview process should be conducted in the manner of a discussion rather than an interrogation. It should be a mutual fit assessment. So, if they are speaking to you as a possible employer, they are too deciding whether they want to work with you or not and deserve to be treated respectfully even when being evaluated by a bot.

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