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4 Common Mistakes with Recruitment Tests

Have you ever heard someone say that tests are not to be trusted? I have. However, as many times I have seen how the tests are used in the wrong way. Take note of four common mistakes when it comes to using tests in recruitment and how to avoid them.

Have you ever heard someone say that tests are not to be trusted? I have. However, as many times I have seen how the tests are used in the wrong way. Take note of four common mistakes when it comes to using tests in recruitment and how to avoid them.
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Unnecessarily long recruitment processes harm the candidate experience

Do you think it's reasonable that it often takes as long to recruit a talent as it takes to paddle across the Atlantic? Unfortunately, this is the reality for many organizations. 

On September 3, 2017, 70-year-old Aleksander Doba paddled ashore on the French coast. By then, he had just completed his third kayak trip across the Atlantic and had been alone at sea for 110 days. 

On average, a recruitment process takes 3-4 months. Some even argue that one should expect to start a recruitment 5-6 months before the candidate is to start. Aleksander had thus beaten most of the processes by far.

Not only that. In addition, most recruitments are as accurate as sinling money.

Why is this problematic? In short, it can be said that it impairs the recruiting company's Employer Brand. According to Kollega, 84% are asking for faster recruitment processes and 86% want to be notified as soon as they are no longer eligible for a job. It simply damages the candidate experience and weakens the employer brand.

Traditional processes - the culprit in the drama

When you use the traditional process that starts with reviewing CVs and cover letters and ending with an interview, you basically have the same chance to choose the right person for the position as if you had gone out on the street outside your house and told the first person you meet that "Congratulations! You get the job." 

What is the reason for this? Well, reviewing CVs and cover letters has virtually no value- there's no predictive validity there. Contrary to what many believe, professional experience and education say very little about how to perform in a particular role.

The fact that it takes 3-4 months to complete a recruitment is partly due to set times but also to time-consuming elements such as CV review and many interview opportunities. This is also not very cost-effective.

Shorten the processes of testing

There is a solution to the problem - which shortens processes and increases accuracy. The solution is spelled "tests".

Tests are quick to complete (30 minutes to 1.5 hours), quickly assessed (possible to automate completely) and you also reach higher predictive validity.

Certified, objectively reviewed and scientifically substantiated personality tests and general aptitude tests specifically designed to predict upcoming work performance have high predictive validity. 

However, it is of the utmost importance that the tests are used correctly. I have too many times come across recruiting parties who use the tests completely wrong, which leads to the focus being placed in the wrong places, the wrong people getting the job and long-term erode trust in tests.

I have compiled here four very common mistakes that recruiters make when it comes to using tests in the recruitment process.

Four common ways tests are used incorrectly in recruitment

1. Uses tests too late in the process

Tests are often used second last in the process, just before the final interview. The argument for this is usually that tests are considered an expensive cost. 

When the process has run all the way to interviews without using tests, there is a high risk that the uncut diamonds – the so-called "silent talents" have already been opted out. Instead, they have probably, at random, taken on people who will perform worse. 

No matter how good the tests you use, you will get it wrong.

Solution: Use the tests earlier in the process, and preferably on as many candidates as possible to increase the accuracy and likelihood of not missing the uncut diamonds.

2. Uses tests that are not certified or audited

Many people use tests that are neither certified nor objectively reviewed. 

In some cases, even tests that aren't even designed to predict work performance are even used. Some have confused work psychology tests with other personality tests designed to make assessments regarding psychological diagnoses or in some cases tests designed solely to be used to increase the individual's self-awareness. A typical example is the Myers-Briggs personality test.

This is one of the world's most widely used personality tests despite the fact that it completely lacks scientific support. It is based on pseudoscientific theory, but studies have shown that it has no predictive validity regarding future behaviors. Nevertheless, many people use this test in recruitment contexts.

Solution: Be sure to evaluate the tests you use properly. Are they audited by an erratic party? Do they have a certification? DNV-GL has been commissioned to objectively review tests intended for recruitment on the Swedish market, so check if the test you are using is certified by DNV-GL.

3. Uses tests but assesses errors

In many cases, good tests are used, which unfortunately is neglected by going a little on the gut feeling. Or as it is called - that the recruiter makes an overall assessment. 

It has been shown that overall assessments, also called clinical assessments, have 50% lower accuracy than mechanical selections.

A mechanical selection involves setting up a predetermined algorithm (of course, you do not need to be encoded, tools such as Excel often solve this gallantly) where you have decided how high different parts of the selection process should be weighted. 

Let's take an example: Say that you set the score on the general aptitude test to correspond to 50% of the overall assessment, that a specific factor in the personality test should correspond to 15%, that the score from the interview should correspond to 30% and so on. In this way, you eliminate your own bias during the evaluation, even though you are behind how the evaluation is done.

Solution: You should evaluate the test results as part of your mechanical assessment as you have determined in advance. See above for examples.

4. Uses tests but puts too little focus on the results

Often too little emphasis is placed on test results. Tests have the highest predictive validity and should therefore be given the greatest scope in the overall assessment.

Instead, however, it is only seen as a quality assurance of their own human (clinical) overall assessment many times. 

It is set up to give bias and prejudice a lot of space in the assessment.

Solution: Dare to trust the test results. After all, it has been researched for many decades on whether tests are to be trusted or not. And as long as they're certified, it's just honking and driving. Dare to say goodbye to your gut.

Tests are good if used correctly

In other words, tests are very good to use in recruitment contexts, but you should think about how to use them and which tests you choose.

Tests should be used early in many, they shall be independently audited, they shall be assessed mechanically and their results shall take place. If you as a recruiter do all this, the probability of finding the right candidate for the job will increase significantly. It's not something we make up - it's the facts.

Testerna som erbjuds via Brite tillhandahålls av vår samarbetspartner Psykologisk Metod. De har tagit fram en metod för personbedömning som går under namnet Understanding Personal Potential (UPP). UPP är ett flexibelt system av tester som går att anpassa och kombinera efter varje organisations unika behov. UPP används för mätning av personlighet, begåvning, motivation och kritiskt tänkande.

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