Affordable Pre-Employment Testing Options for Small Business

On Monday’s podcast on Pre-Employment Testing for Small Business, we talked with Dr. Jesse Llobet, Industrial Psychologist and President of Psymetrics, who explained that small businesses should start using pre-employment testing for the following reasons:

Vitruvian Man

What makes up the ideal candidate? The right mix of personality/behaviors, and smarts and skills, all of which pre-employment tests can measure.

  • Research proves that pre-employment assessments tend to be three to four times more predictive (of how well a candidate will perform on the job) than your standard job interview.
  • A lot goes into the creation of professionally developed tests: first the characteristics are identified that need to be tested, then employees are tested and performance data is collected, and an IO (industrial/organizational psychologist) statistically determines and shows how well a test predicts people’s performance on the job.
  • Professionally developed pre-employment tests offer an objective and consistent way to compare and assess applicants.

Despite these indisputable business reasons, most small businesses probably won’t introduce pre-employment testing into their hiring practices because there seems to be a high-barrier to entry.  What are these barriers?  

The High Barrier to Entry into the World of Pre-Employment Testing

First, there’s the complication factor.  Implementing one or more pre-employment tests into your hiring process seems complicated, and brings up all sorts of questions, such as:

  • What tests should I use?
  • What vendor or experts should I contract with?
  • What legal issues arise when I use pre-employment assessments?
  • At what stage in the hiring process should I use these pre-employment tests?
  • How do I integrate the pre-employment testing process and results with our current hiring and recruiting systems?

Jesse, in Monday’s podcast on Pre-Employment Testing for Small Business, actually touched on most of these questions. The last question, is something you can ask the vendor/test-providers that you’re considering.

The second barrier to entry is cost – it seems very expensive to get setup and then integrate pre-employment tests into your hiring process.  Small businesses don’t have the funds to do validation studies and pay the high hourly rates that IO psychologists demand – $250 to $400/hour (Why didn’t I become an IO psychologist!?).

Affordable Pre-Employment Testing Options

However, here are affordable pre-employment testing options/providers that small businesses should consider:

  • Psymetrics, Inc – This is Dr. Jesse Llobet’s company, which has developed a library of both behavioral/personality and cognitive/skill-related pre-employment assessments.  You can listen to our interview with Jesse here.
  • Pearson’s TalentLens  – TalentLens offers a 6 different personality and cognitive ability/skill-related assessments that can be used to identify talent during the hiring process.  Their tests range between $18 to $34 per candidate.  
  • Wonderlic – Wonderlic offers a healthy mix of cognitive ability/skill-related assessments, and personality/behavioral assessments.  When I talked to a sales rep a year ago they ha a $250 setup fee, which is for getting your company setup with an online testing/admin portal.  Then the personality assessment was $72.50 per candidate, and the cognitive test was $19.75 per candidate.  You can purchase higher quantities of tests for a lower per-test rate.
If you’re not currently using pre-employment testing then these cost figures per candidate may seem high.  However, consider this scenario:
You have five candidates that you’re considering bringing in for an interview.  Before you do, you pay $75 per candidate ($375 in total) to have them take personality and cognitive assessments online before they come in.  From the assessments, you find out that two of the five candidates clearly don’t have the personality and/or the smarts to perform highly in the role you’re considering them for.  For the other three candidates, the assessment reports provide you some insights and follow up questions to ask during the in-person interviews.
Now you only need to interview three people instead of five.  Your interviews will be more effective in identifying who is the best fit, and you’ve roughly doubled your chances/ability of predicting which candidate will make the best hire.  
$375 pales in comparison to the high cost of hiring the wrong employees.

What’s your experience with pre-employment testing?  Comment below to share and ask any questions you have about pre-employment testing.

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