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Best Candidate Assessment Tools: A Complete Guide

When employers are facing a fiercely competitive hiring market, finding top talent can be a challenge. According to Gallup, 48% of America's working population is actively job searching or watching for opportunities. This means recruiters and HR professionals are likely to see a jump in the number of applications for each opening. 

While the promise of many candidates is encouraging, making the best hiring choice could be more of a challenge. It's estimated that 72% of applications come from underqualified individuals, increasing the likelihood of a less-than-perfect fit. This means recruitment professionals will be making tougher decisions under a bigger workload.

What is a Candidate Assessment Tool?

A candidate assessment tool is a software, survey, or question device that enables recruiters to determine if a candidate has the skills or personality traits required for a position. 

Benefits of Candidate Assessment Tools

For many organizations, candidate assessment tools can help create a more efficient and successful hiring process. These tools can take repetitive hiring tasks out of the hands of overworked HR professionals and utilize automated services to supply additional information about each potential candidate. Yet, with so many different tools on the market, it can be difficult to determine what tools are the most effective. This guide describes some of the best candidate assessment tools and pro tips about how to use them for optimal hiring results.

Candidate Assessment Tools: Skills Assessment 

A potential employee may have a different perception of the skills needed to meet certain job qualifications than the employer does. This is why so many applicants are later deemed underqualified for a position. Skills assessment tools are used to decide whether employees have job-specific skills related to the role in question. 

Pro Tip: Using a wide variety of skills assessments is likely to prolong the recruiting process and provide less targeted results. By utilizing tools that test for specific skills like coding or industry-specific software, you can determine whether an employee is prepared to fill a specific role.

Potential Drawback: While skills assessments score a candidate's ability to complete certain tasks, they fail to take the willingness to learn into consideration, eliminating the opportunity to apply soft skills to a candidate's profile.

Candidate Assessment Tools: Job Simulation 

These assessments can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from questionnaires to animated simulations. Tests can be used to test a candidate's cognitive ability, behaviors, and even specific situations like dealing with a disgruntled customer. Advanced options allow recruiters to build job profiles for specific roles. Job simulation tools may be industry-specific or designed to assess certain skills that are used across multiple industries.

Pro Tip: When searching for the right simulation tool, it's vital to first consider what you hope to accomplish by using the tool. There are a wide variety of simulation tools available and most are designed to be used in conjunction with other recruiting methods.

Potential Drawback: The interview process can put considerable stress on employees. As a result, a qualified employee might not perform to their highest capability during recruitment simulation assessments.

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Candidate Assessment Tools: Reference Assessment 

Assessments that give insight into a potential employee's past performance can provide valuable insight into their qualifications for the role you're trying to fill. Reference assessment tools can provide a detailed report that includes peer, manager, and co-worker insights. A pre-hire reference check can quickly indicate any issues with references provided and eliminate candidates with dishonest applications, as well as highlight candidates who are well-matched to the position they are applying for..

Pro Tip: Integrative assessment tools offer the chance to get a more rounded assessment of a potential candidate. For instance, Crosschq 360 Pre Hire Reference Check includes job-based surveys, integrated self-reference, and coaching and growth opportunities.

Potential Drawback: Employees without significant experience may not have a detailed employment past to provide a detail-rich assessment. This is why all references should be considered as a single view in a full recruitment process.

Candidate Assessment Tools: Personality Assessment 

Not every qualified candidate will be a good match for your company. Assessments tools for candidates that analyze behavioral and emotional responses to certain situations can help determine if the applicant is a good match for your company's culture. These assessments are typically conducted through a series of structured questions.

Pro Tip: While some personality assessments are advanced, others are pretty basic, and candidates may be more likely to attempt to find a "right answer." Highly structured personality assessments, tools designed for a specific industry, or those that allow recruiters to input hiring profiles are likely to produce the best results.

Potential Drawback: Personality assessments don't have the same analytical data as assessments that measure a candidate's raw skills. While these assessments may help determine leadership qualities or creativity, using them as the main indicator of an employee's potential could be less accurate than other methods.


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Candidate Assessment Tools: Structured Interviews

The employee interview has always been an important staple in any recruitment and onboarding process. While the addition of AI-assisted tools can give employers more insight into an employee's capabilities and personality, this traditional method is not to be overlooked. Structured interviews are based on a specific set of questions that apply to every candidate. 

Pro Tip: Structured interviews work best when standardized questions are used along with a standardized format for scoring the answers. In addition to the face-to-face job interview, questionnaires or video interviews can be useful for obtaining additional information.

Potential Drawback: While structured interviews are less likely to be biased and more likely to provide uniform results, some employers think the process limits freedom in the interview process.

Candidate assessment tools can help recruiters eliminate some of the time-consuming manual tasks that can prolong the hiring process and lead to losing potential talent. When used effectively, these tools can also allow companies to easily identify qualified candidates and the likelihood of long-term retention. 

Crosschq 360 is a data-based pre-hiring reference assessment tool that uses information from a candidate's previous positions as well as their answers to questionnaires to determine their potential for a position. As part of a robust recruitment and onboarding platform, this cloud assessment tool provides recruiters with valuable data that can help assess an employee's capabilities as well as the potential for a perfect company culture fit. 

To learn more about how Crosschq can boost your recruitment efforts, schedule a custom demo to see our hiring solutions in action.

Debra Carney

by Debra Carney

Director of Marketing

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