In some hiring circles, there is a misplaced belief that shorter pre-employment assessments are preferable because they result in far more candidates completing the test and continuing with the application process. But evidence suggests differently. The drop-off is smaller than perceived and other factors weigh more heavily regarding whether jobseekers will stay the course. We take on these issues in this blog installment.

Drop-off of Little Concern

A showed that the length of tests had little to do with whether candidates finished the assessments. The same study found that shortening the test by 15 minutes only increased completion rates 1-2%.

Further, the study revealed that most candidates abandoned their assessment within the first 20 minutes, regardless of test’s complete estimated length. In fact, longer length estimates tended to result in lower overall attrition rates.

Instead of being concerned with test length, it’s more important to focus on relevance of test content. Using a pre-employment assessment unrelated to an open position can result in less well-matched hires, thereby increasing hiring and training costs as the unsuitable employees leave their posts.

Make the Process Inviting to Improve Results

Seventy-one percent of candidates don’t mind pre-employment tests, according to data from ThriveMap, as long as the assessments are relevant to the position.

Other aspects of the hiring process carry more weight than test length. These factors play a large role as a first step in ensuring that the job opening meets candidates’ expectations.

  • Engaging Content. Using personalized assessments, video elements and other forms of content designed to grab and hold candidates’ attention increases the likelihood that jobseekers will stay with the process to completion.
  • Keep It Relevant & Focused. Behavior-based interviews featuring questions that employ pre-determined, anchored rating scales ensure that answers are not subjective and provide a better basis for comparing candidates.
  • Don’t Complicate Matters. Byzantine testing processes can cause candidates to abandon tests. Tedious, boring testing can drive away even serious, patient candidates.

Expectations & Transparency

In a digital-savvy workforce, word travels fast of companies that don’t deliver what they promise.

As a case in point, 48% of new hires who leave their jobs do so because the job was not what they expected when they were hired.

The same effect can be expected by candidates who enter an application process. If the pre-employment testing experience varies greatly from the expectations provided at the outset, it will lead to greater attrition rates. The solution is to provide brief but accurate details about what steps are expected from job seekers so they can better manage their time and energy, especially if they advance past initial screening processes/interviews.

Drop-off Can Be a Benefit

Trying to keep as many candidates as possible from the start of a hiring process to its conclusion sounds like a laudable goal on the surface, but there are advantages to poorer candidates self-selecting out of the process early. It’s better to have a few highly-qualified candidates than many who are ill suited for the opening.

Poor-fit candidates are less likely to perform well in the job and more likely to require replacement at additional cost to the company.

Further, having low-quality candidates or candidates with a low probability of hire moving to the next, and often more expensive, part of the hiring process is not a good use of resources.

In Conclusion

Combining a relevant, engaging hiring process with assessments targeted toward the best-qualified candidates while managing their expectations throughout, in the end, saves time and money.