To test or not to test?

Companies are increasingly turning to skill and behavioral assessment tests to ensure successful hires, according to Dr. Katherine Jones, an analyst with Boston-based research firm AberdeenGroup. In a report on a survey of 210 executives earlier this year, she notes that such tests are different from “screening” questions, which are simply meant to eliminate candidates who don’t qualify for the position: “The kind of testing and assessment of interest here goes deeper; it tries to measure the potential applicant’s skill, aptitude, cognitive, [and] behavioral and cultural fit with the position and with the organization.”

If you decide to test prospective managers, keep these hints in mind:

  • Know why you’re testing. A test that doesn’t correlate with the functions of the job is worse than none at all.

  • Don’t devise your own tests. Work with a reliable provider whose tests are statistically valid.

  • Review your tests and their correlation with successful hires each year.

  • Work toward integrating tests with your hiring/performance management systems and make hiring practices consistent across the organization.

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