With organizations facing increased performance pressure due to digital disruption caused by COVID-19, it has become essential to streamline talent-hiring and the executive succession process.
Talent assessments are one of the most important tools that more and more companies are leveraging to navigate this situation effectively.

Recruiters are going all out to grab the best resources, modifying their assessment processes, and avoiding the impact of bad hiring in the form of:

  • Hiring Costs – Including the cost of assessments, screening, selection, and other elements of the hiring processes such as travel costs, technology costs, and more
  • Compensation & Maintenance – Salary and benefits offered to non-productive employees
  • Severance – Including the cost of turnover in terms of severance packages, exit formalities, and other payouts
  • Disruption Costs – Including the spiraling impact on the overall team

In this article, we’ll explore the relevance of talent assessment, and touch upon the top assessment tools that companies can use to ensure successful hiring.

What Is Talent Assessment?

Talent assessment is a screening process evaluating your candidates’ skills, aptitude, personality, and perspectives as per the job requirement. It’s used to predict future performance, and to make informed hiring decisions.

While the concept of talent assessment as part of the organizational hiring process isn’t new, it’s now gaining immense popularity. This is mostly because talent assessments provide a clear indication of your candidates’ capabilities to do the job you’re hiring them for. Talent assessments can also help you predict if they will fit well in your organization’s team and culture.

What are the key benefits of talent assessment?

  • Improved quality of hire
  • Reduced time-to-hire
  • Increased diversity
  • Reduced bias, with validated measures
  • Eliminated barriers of candidate availability and scheduling
  • Increased employee retention

The Top Talent Assessment Tools

There are several talent assessment tools to help you reduce the number of candidates to a small and qualified group and make the overall hiring process much more efficient.

Some of these ways are discussed below.

1. Job Simulator/ Work Samples

A job simulator is essentially a talent assessment method where candidates perform the tasks in real-time. Recruiters then assess candidates based on different organizational situations that are performed on the job. 

For instance, a technical specialist can be asked to design a project outline for one specific topic, an SEO specialist can be asked to perform specific keyword research, and salespeople can be asked to showcase skills like persuasion on the spot.

This job simulation exercise is primarily aimed to measure a candidate’s way of thinking and their ability to handle a complex situation with limited resources and gauge their ability to perform a specific task first-hand. Using job simulations in the talent assessment process helps in:

  • Testing various job-relevant skills and competencies that are specific to the job
  • Allowing you to gain deeper insights into an applicant’s personality – it’s also the best predictor of future performance
  • Allowing applicants to see what the job involves, which helps your Candidate Experience 

Job simulations can be done either during the interview or via online hiring assessment tools, where you can send assessments to candidates that ask them to do a quick presentation, manage an irate customer over chat, or sell something to the manager.

2. Cognitive Ability Testing

Also known as intelligence tests or general aptitude tests, cognitive ability testing typically involves skills such as numerical and verbal reasoning, logic exercises, memory testing skills, attention to detail, critical thinking, problem-solving, and more. 

This is an excellent talent assessment tool that helps you evaluate candidates’ overall aptitude, intelligence, and ability to understand various concepts and solve basic problems. Apart from this, cognitive ability testing helps in:

  • Predicting future job performance
  • Aligning your selection methods to your DEI policies, as long as you make sure to only assess for what truly matters for the role
  • Assessing with an accuracy of the highest standard. Combining a variety of subjects including reasoning, aptitude, logical and numerical ability, helps in testing the flexibility of the candidates’ minds within a limited time. This also means that it can help you select talent in a shorter timeframe, thus improving your Candidate Experience.

It is important, however, to make sure that the cognitive aptitude tests that you administer are fully reliable and well-validated.

3. Personality Tests

Personality tests are primarily aimed at working out the detailed thought processes and various behavioral traits required for the position.

These tests help you to gauge multiple skills and attributes including leadership, creativity, attendance and more. For instance, if you are assessing an applicant for a leadership position, personality tests allow you to know the core traits in a candidate including:

  • Conscientiousness: Whether the individual has a futuristic-approach instead of spontaneity
  • Openness: Is the candidate open to employee suggestions?
  • Agreeableness:  Is the applicant sympathetic and kind?
  • Extraversion: Helps in identifying qualities such as social aptitude
  • Neuroticism: Indicates the applicant’s ability to handle emotional instability and negative emotions

Personality testing is especially important now that companies are compelled to interview remotely. Otherwise, there are high chances of missing out on important aspects of the candidate’s behavioral and emotional patterns. At the same time, not all roles require the same traits – don’t ask for what you don’t need or you’ll end up excluding perfectly capable applicants for not ascribing to your abstract idea of what the ultimate candidate should be like.

4. Other Tests

Some of the other popular talent assessment methods include:

  • Psychometric Tests

Psychometric tests are designed to measure the four critical aspects of human personality and assess whether the candidate is a good match for a specific job requirement. These four elements are –

a. Positive personality traits

b. Dark personality traits

c. Motivations, values, preferences

d. Cognitive abilities

  • Behavioural Tests

Behavioural tests measure a candidate’s human behaviour and the definite course of action in a given organizational situation. In this test, the recruiter measures the applicant’s behavioural competencies such as knowledge, skills and personality traits.

  • Job-Specific Technical Tests

Job-specific technical tests are done to assess the applicant’s subject knowledge for a specific domain such as accounts, sales, HR, IT marketing and operations, etc.

  • AI-powered proctoring

AI and human-based proctoring are aimed at monitoring candidates’ behavior and actions for suspicious activities. The remote proctoring technology helps recruiters eliminate the risk of impersonation using multi-factor authentication. 

Apart from the above benefits, these talent assessment methods give a certain depth and add perspective to the overall talent selection process instead of limiting recruiters to just interviews, references, and resumes.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

Talent Assessments are a relevant aspect of hiring processes for a variety of reasons. In this piece we explored the three main kinds of assessment tools you can use and mentioned a few more.

We started off by talking about job simulators and work samples. These are the best performance predictors of all, they help your candidates learn more about the role and they only assess based on job-relevant skills.

We then touched upon cognitive ability testing. They’re also performance predictors. They can help you select according to your DEI policies, by only helping you assess the necessary skills for the specific role you’re hiring for. Furthermore, they allow you to shorten your hiring process, which results in better Candidate Experience.

Finally, we talked about personality tests. These can help you select talent better to compensate for remote interviews’ flaws, since they help you get a better idea of your job applicants’ behavioral traits. Here too, you should remember to only assess for what you truly need.

There are more options, too, and we mentioned some. All in all, whichever methods you choose, remember to prioritize your candidates’ experience through and through.