What are pre-employment assessments or employment tests or hiring tests, or screening tests?

Resumes or CVs can be misleading, and interviewing each candidate will take forever and eat away your team’s precious time and energy (read $$$).  

This is where screening tests/hiring tests/pre-employment assessments step in to save the day. From a resume, you can get a list of skills a candidate believes they possess. Testing a candidate as the 1st step in the hiring pipeline will provide you with evidence that the candidate does indeed have the skills they need to succeed on the job. Plus, not everyone is an ace resume writer. These tests can even uncover skills that even the candidate failed to spell out. 


Note: Screening tests, hiring tests, pre-hiring tests, employment tests or pre-employment assessments literally mean the same thing. 

What can you measure with these tests?

Almost everything that you care about and to the extent that is enough to provide a reliable hiring signal. 

You can gauge hard skills, soft skills, aptitude, attitude, problem-solving, compatibility, motivation, leadership style, and more. 

Every company is different, and even for the same role, what you choose to assess can be different, and there is a whole range of skill-based tests, aptitude tests, psychometric tests, and more to choose from.

Won’t setting up and conducting these screening tests take a significant amount of investment?

Short answer, No. 

One-time setup of a test per role does take time. However, the investment is minuscule compared to the time and energy it saves your team and, consequently, your company. And for some roles such as fresher hiring, it is literally impractical to hire without these tests as the first step in the hiring pipeline. Especially in markets like India, the sheer scale makes it impossible to hire for entry-level roles (e.g., in campus hiring) without screening tests. 

The good news is that some excellent tools are available in the market that can help you set up, conduct, and proctor these tests. Some of these tools/platforms offer excellent question and test libraries which make it even easier. The fact is that most of the companies use such pre-hiring assessment tools now. Depending on the role and market, these tools can help you save anywhere from 30-70% in hiring costs. So, if your company is not using one as of now, maybe consider using one now?

Is this a new hiring trend?

Well, no. These have been around since times immemorial (almost!)

Candidates have appeared in civil service examinations for centuries. Arguably, the oldest form of hiring tests. 

However, the tools to create and administer these tests have seen a lot of innovation in the past decade, stemming from the interest in remote hiring and hiring for software development roles.

So not surprisingly, a large proportion of the innovative assessment tools in the market cater to coding tests (or programming tests), coding interviews, and remote hiring. Covid-19 pandemic also accelerated the pace of development of these tools. 

What assessment tools are available in the market?

The most popular ones in the market are listed below (information as of Nov 2021). We will not be going into much detail about each of these tools since we have other posts covering those details.

  1. SkillCounty
    1. Has a question/test library 
      1. Covers a wide variety of roles like accounting, marketing etc.
      2. Covers coding tests & coding interviews
      3. Offers a wide variety of question types including one way video interviews
    2. Pricing: $50 per month for UNLIMITED candidates & UNLIMITED tests
  2. TestDome
    1. Has a question/test library 
      1. Covers coding tests & coding interviews
      2. Covers a wide variety of roles like accounting, marketing etc.
    2. Pricing: Costs $7-$20 per candidate, depending on the plan purchased (Enterprise plans might give different mileage)
  3. HackerRank 
    1. Built for assessing roles related to software development
      1. Covers coding tests & coding interviews
    2. Pricing: Costs around $9 per candidate, depending on the package purchased. (Enterprise plans & addons might give different mileage)
  4. HackerEarth
    1. Built for assessing roles related to software development
      1. Covers coding tests & coding interviews
    2. Pricing: Costs around $6 per candidate, depending on the package purchased. (Enterprise plans & addons might give different mileage)
  5. Codility
    1. Built for assessing roles related to software development
      1. Covers coding tests & coding interviews
    2. Pricing: Offers enterprise-level plans that start at a few thousand dollars per year. 
  6. Adaface
    1. Has a question/test library 
      1. Covers coding tests & coding interviews
      2. Covers a wide variety of roles like accounting, marketing etc.
    2. Pricing: Costs $4-$15 per candidate, depending on the plan purchased
  7. TestGorilla
    1. Has a question/test library 
      1. Covers coding tests & coding interviews
      2. Covers a wide variety of roles like accounting, marketing etc.
    2. Pricing: Costs $2 per candidate, depending on the plan purchased (Enterprise plans & addons might give different mileage)
  8. Mettl
    1. Has a question/test library 
      1. Covers coding tests & coding interviews
      2. Covers a wide variety of roles like accounting, marketing etc.
    2. Pricing: Costs $4 per candidate, depending on the plan purchased (Enterprise plans & addons might give different mileage)
  9. Coderbyte
    1. Built for assessing roles related to software development
      1. Covers coding tests & coding interviews
    2. Pricing: $200 – $499 per month for UNLIMITED candidates & tests

How to select an assessment tool (or platform) for my team or company?

Devil is in the details. It all depends on what you are looking for:

  1. What roles you are looking to fill now and in the horizon 
  2. Does the tool offer a question/test library that covers the roles you listed as an answer to question #1
  3. Who will be using the tool in your company? Is it easy to set up tests i.e. how user-friendly is the tool and does it work for your user base?
  4. What kind of questions do you want in your tests – does the tool support them?
    1. Here are the essential question types: MCQ (multiple choice questions), MSQ (multiple select questions, Case Study or Passage based questions, True/False questions, Open-ended or subjective questions, Audio / Video or one-way interview questions, ranking based questions & coding questions.
  5. Does the tool offer auto assessment of answers? 
    1. This is easy to do for MCQ type questions but what about open-ended or subjective questions? It has been proven that open-ended or subjective questions offer the best hiring signal but manually assessing them is tiresome and resource consuming. So it is important to look for a tool that offers automated assessment of answers to open-ended or subjective questions
  6. Does the tool support remote interviews?
  7. What is your budget?
  8. What kind of support do you require?

As with any tool purchase, we recommend shortlisting and then engaging in a short trial to zero in on the tool/platform that works the best for your team/company.

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