What are Candidate Assessments?

What are Candidate Assessments?

Key Takeaways:

  • Candidate assessments are used by companies to evaluate potential employees and streamline the hiring process.
  • Candidate assessments help identify the most qualified candidates and automate the screening process, reducing time spent on unqualified applicants.
  • There are different types of candidate assessments available, including skills tests, work samples, cognitive ability tests, motivation/interest assessments, and personality tests.
  • Integrating candidate assessments into the hiring process can lead to a more efficient evaluation of applicants and result in a stronger and more cohesive workforce.

Competition for talented employees remains strong in the current hiring market. In June, the unemployment rate was just 3.6%, while employers added over 200K jobs to American payrolls. To attract the most qualified workers, companies are offering higher wages. In fact, salaries are up 4.4% from last year. 

While there may be a war for talent, employers must carefully assess an applicant’s skills and experience to ensure they’re the right person for the role. Interviews can help, but many companies also use candidate assessments to evaluate potential employees. 

When implemented into an employer’s hiring processes, candidate assessments help streamline the experience for both applicants and companies. They provide data-driven information that hiring professionals can turn to when they’re on the fence about an applicant. 

According to TalentLyft, assessments can decrease the time-to-hire by up to 50%. That’s important because top candidates typically engage with multiple companies when looking for their newest role. If hiring professionals can get them through the pipeline faster than competitors, they are more likely to secure high-quality talent for open positions. 

Often, hiring professionals get bogged down in the hundreds of resumes they receive for their open roles. Spending too much time on unqualified candidates hampers the hiring process, and genuinely talented professionals may get lost in the shuffle.

With a candidate assessment test, the most skilled candidates will rise to the top of the list. It takes the guesswork out of resume evaluation and helps to automate the screening process. Hiring professionals can use these results to compare candidates’ skills and cultural fit and make unbiased decisions on who moves forward to the interview stage.

candidate assessment tools


What is a Candidate Assessment Test?

A candidate assessment is a testing tool used to evaluate an applicant’s skills, personality, or cognitive strengths. Hiring professionals can select between a broad range of examinations that fit their objectives. Sometimes, employers use a combination of tests for a holistic look at their candidates.

Candidate assessments are excellent predictors of future job performance, especially when evaluating a person’s skills or cultural fit. The overarching objective of the tests is to select the top applicants for a role using an informed decision-making process.

Hiring professionals can administer candidate assessments at any stage of the screening process. Requiring applicants to take tests during the application stage can help recruiters sort qualified candidates from those with lesser abilities and move the top-performing ones on to an interview. 

Similarly, tests administered following an interview can help hiring professionals narrow down their top applicants.


What are the Benefits of Candidate Assessments?

There are multiple advantages to using candidate assessments during the hiring process. First, they can help hiring professionals identify the top candidates in an applicant pool. These companies may overlook the most qualified people because their resumes don’t reflect their skills correctly or other applicants overemphasize their abilities.

By using an assessment, companies can improve the quality of their hires. They’ll instantly know who their top candidates are and move away from those who aren’t a suitable fit for their organization. Quality hires often improve the productivity of an organization since they have the skills and capabilities necessary to perform their roles.

Similarly, a well-placed hire can decrease overall turnover rates in an organization. People who are a great fit for the role they’re asked to perform are less likely to leave the company. They’ll enjoy their tasks and responsibilities and fit in well with the organization’s work culture.

candidate assessment

Candidate assessments can reduce the time-to-hire for an organization. Applicants who perform well on their tests will quickly attract the attention of recruiters, who can move the interview process forward with them. Rather than taking weeks or months to find the right candidate, companies can hire them within days.

Once a company begins including candidate assessment tests in their hiring process, they’ll see an improvement in the organization’s overall talent profile. Usually, those differences become even more pronounced as the company continues to bring on people who perform well on their assessments. The result of integrating these assessments is a more cohesive workforce that shares common values – one that is better equipped for retention and high performance.

Tip: It’s best to integrate the tests at various points in the hiring process to see the benefits of a candidate evaluation process. Seamless testing provides a better applicant experience and helps mitigate the costs associated with one-off testing.

Hiring the wrong person for an open role can be quite costly. A bad hire can adversely impact workplace productivity, employee morale, and the employer brand. It can also increase training costs and harm the company’s overall profitability. 


How a Candidate Assessment Test Works

Most employers use recruitment assessment tools to evaluate their candidates. These evaluations may appear as part of the initial application for the job to weed out unqualified candidates. They can also be used to better evaluate a candidate’s skill level once a hiring manager determines that they meet minimum qualifications.

The potential employee will receive a link to take the assessment, which they can complete on their own time. Once a candidate completes the testing process, organizations will benchmark their results against industry standards, current employee profiles, and other applicants. They can integrate results into their applicant tracking systems so all stakeholders can review them.


How to Assess a Candidate for a Job?

There are several types of candidate assessments available, including all of the following:


Skill Level

Skills tests evaluate a candidate’s proficiencies in areas critical to the role. For instance, a company hiring a software engineer might use skills testing to assess their coding abilities.


Work Sample

A work sample requires the applicant to complete a task relevant to the role and submit it for evaluation. A company looking for a talented writer might ask them to write a paper on the topic of their choice.


Cognitive Ability

Cognitive tests evaluate an applicant’s critical thinking skills. They help recruiters understand the candidate’s general aptitude and better determine how they might respond to common scenarios on the job.

recruitment assessments


Motivation or Interest

Motivational tests look past a candidate’s abilities to determine what drives them to perform at work. They can help hiring professionals understand the type of work environment the applicant thrives in.



A personality test measures a candidate’s cultural fit. It can help employers understand how applicants react in different situations and how they communicate or collaborate with others.

Skills-based testing is best for roles that require a high degree of technical proficiency. When filling positions that require employees to collaborate with others, hiring professionals may benefit from using personality or motivation tests.


What to Consider When Implementing Recruitment Assessment Tools

While candidate assessments can undoubtedly improve the quality of hires and reduce employee turnover, hiring managers should carefully consider a few things before implementing them.

First, it helps to understand hiring objectives. An assessment isn’t beneficial unless it’s used to evaluate qualities that are desirable in a team. Hiring managers should search for providers that offer the tests best suited for their needs, whether they’re used to assess the candidate’s intelligence and personality or something more specific, like coding ability. For example, a programming evaluation tool could measure code readability and efficiency, while a typing speed test could serve as a preliminary productivity indicator.

The best assessments don’t take hours for an applicant to complete. Ideally, the testing will last less than twenty minutes. If it’s too cumbersome, a candidate may end their application process prematurely, which means the company may miss out on a talented worker. Remember, candidate experience is important to the employer brand, and a negative experience in the hiring process can affect the employer’s image.

Many people submit job applications through mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. If possible, select assessments that are mobile-friendly. That way, candidates can complete them when they’re on the go. They don’t need to be in front of their desktop computer to take the test.

what are candidate assessments

Some testing providers have limitations on their integrations. Once hiring professionals find a company that provides the necessary tests, they should ensure that those tests can be easily integrated into their applicant tracking system. Proper software integrations ensure that test results appear immediately in a candidate’s hiring profile so recruiters can evaluate them.

Tip: While candidate assessments can tell hiring professionals a lot about their applicants, ensuring that the assessment is fair to all talent is crucial. Tests should be distributed equally among qualified workers, giving all talent the opportunity to demonstrate their unique skills and qualifications.


Candidate Assessments Speed Up Hiring and Lead to a Stronger Team

Employers who integrate recruitment assessment tools into their application process find it much easier to evaluate applicants, especially when they receive hundreds of resumes for their open roles. 

Testing helps employers more effectively assess – without solely relying on interviews and resumes –  which candidates have the skills and disposition required to be successful on the job.

While implementing candidate assessments into the hiring process may take a little effort, the results can pay off tremendously.



If you’re looking to improve your hiring process to attract and hire top talent, Recruitics can help! Our team leverages the power of technology to ensure you are spending your money wisely and optimizing your recruitment marketing campaigns to attract the best talent.

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