Pre-Hire Testing, Assessment Continues to Gain Favor

July 11, 2005 ( - Just under three quarters of companies in a new survey either already use pre-employment testing or plan to within the year.

A news release from the AberdeenGroup, a Boston-based technology consultant, said its 2005 survey found that 58% of companies are already using pre-hiring testing and assessment, while another 14% plan to go that route within 12 months. A quarter of the responding firms don’t employ the hiring technique while 3% said they used to do so, but don’t currently.

Among the reasons for the trend, according to Aberdeen

  • post 9/11 security concerns
  • corporate risk management
  • desire to improve quality of hires and improve retention
  • technology advancements supporting Web-based testing and instant scoring
  • the birth of the global workforce.

Aberdeen’s new report, “Pre-Employment Testing and Assessment: The State of the Art,” indicated that testing for higher-level corporate management will increase as companies try to hold down the risk and expense incurred when senior executives don’t work out.

While hiring managers are turning to pre-employment assessment to pinpoint lower-level candidates who fit best into the company’s corporate culture and are most likely to stay in the job, companies are also using online assessment products to help bring on the best senior managers, according to Aberdeen.

“Testing, as part of the hiring process, is a growing phenomenon as companies try to avoid negligence in hiring on the one hand and, on the other, improve their talent pools with productive workers who will stay,” Aberdeen researchers wrote in their report. “The largest area of assessment growth is anticipated for professionals, new college hires, and middle-level managers.”

The rapid growth of computer technology in general and Web-based tools in particular also contribute to this trend, the report said.

Responding managers planning to start pre-hiring assessments included 19% when hiring professional-level workers, 14% hiring mid-level managers and 14% hiring candidates right out of college, according to the Aberdeen report.

Key findings include:

  • a bulk of the respondents – 52% – believe pre-employment assessment distinguishes poor from good hires, and helps identify candidates who will stay on the job longer
  • the 60% of respondents who don’t use pre-employment testing cited insufficient awareness of the use of pre-hire assessment technology as the predominant reason.

“The inability to compete for talent is an ongoing concern across companies of all sizes,” the Aberdeen researchers wrote. “Changes in labor force demographics and the far-flung nature of a global workforce cause those charged with long-term workforce planning to lose sleep at night. Increasingly, a company will only be as good as the people it hires – and retains. The increasingly mobile workforce and the shortage of highly skilled employees in certain fields leave companies as concerned about tomorrow’s workforce as they are about today’s short-term acquisition of talent.”

A copy of the report is available at A free registration is required.