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What are Behavioral Assessments in Hiring?

Erin Iafelice
behavioral assessments in hiring

The use of behavioral assessments in hiring is on the rise as recruiting teams integrate data-driven methodologies in hiring. According to Talent Board’s latest North American Candidate Experience Research, more than four in ten (42%) employers use behavioral and/or personality assessments for screening and evaluation during hiring. Behavioral assessments report on essential performance drivers for a specific role. For example, a call center role’s core competencies could include sales drive, multi-tasking, problem-solving, and career stability. By assessing a candidate’s performance against these job-specific competencies, recruiters can predict that candidate’s on-the-job performance and early turnover likelihood. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the use of behavioral assessments in hiring.

How are behavioral assessments used in hiring?

Behavioral assessments are frequently integrated with the early stages of hiring to help recruiters prioritize their talent pool and determine the candidates that should advance in the process. 

What are the advantages of using these assessments?

Behavioral assessments offer recruiters several vital advantages that can improve hiring outcomes and bottom-line TA performance. These include:

  • Taking the guesswork out of hiring – Behavioral assessments generate objective, quantifiable data that provides important insight about candidates’ fit for the role. Behavioral assessments are often combined with subjective hiring methods such as interviews to give recruiters a more comprehensive understanding of the candidate.  
  • Integrating data-driven processes in hiring – Behavioral assessments enable recruiting teams to leverage data in their everyday hiring practices to make more informed hiring decisions. 
  • Avoiding the cost of poor hires – Use of behavioral assessments can help organizations reduce the cost of poor hires, including productivity loss, high turnover, and increased recruiting costs. 
  • Reducing bias – Behavioral assessments generate objective data in a consistent and fair process, identifying which candidates are more likely to outperform their peers regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, or other attributes. By advancing candidates based on objective data rather than instinct, hiring teams can minimize bias in hiring decisions.   

 Insight into nontraditional hires – As recruiting teams adapt to 2020 job market conditions, many are pursuing nontraditional hiring. Nontraditional hires are candidates who have the requisite job competencies but may lack job-specific experience. (Job experience is traditionally considered a necessary qualification, but in fact, prior experience is not a reliable predictor of on-the-job success.) Behavioral assessments enable recruiters to make:

  • Smarter decision – decisions about nontraditional candidates based on objective hiring and performance data.
  • Demonstrating ROI – Recruiters gain hard data about hiring outcomes, so they’re able to demonstrate ROI on the use of behavioral assessments and their business unit’s bottom-line value to the organization.
  • Enhancing the candidate experience – some pre-hire assessments such as Modern Hire Virtual Job Tryouts integrate behavioral assessments with realistic job previews and an immersive job simulation experience. Virtual Job Tryouts do double duty by educating and engaging candidates while capturing information that predicts performance and measures job-critical competencies.

What do candidates think of behavioral assessments?

According to Talent Board research, there’s a positive correlation between giving candidates opportunities to demonstrate their skills and their willingness to increase their relationship with a potential employer. When candidates are presented with behavioral and/or personality assessments, the desire to grow the relationship goes up with 56% of candidates. 

Can behavioral assessments be used in virtual hiring?

Yes. Modern Hire’s enterprise hiring platform integrates Virtual Job Tryouts within a virtual hiring workflow that is end to end. 

What should I look for in selecting behavioral assessments?

One of the primary requirements should be demonstrated validation. Behavioral assessments should be grounded in industrial-organizational psychology science and be proven by multiple validation studies to predict performance. The most powerful and predictive behavioral assessments also use advanced artificial intelligence methods such as machine learning and deep learning to identify complex relationships among data points, making them more predictive and minimizing bias. More traditional assessments can only relate data in linear ways.

Another criterion is the candidate experience. Early behavioral assessments were a pencil-and-paper test that felt like a test to candidates. In contrast, modern behavioral assessments often leverage gamification and multimedia to create a highly interactive, fun experience for candidates featuring realistic scenarios they are likely to encounter on the job. Assessments with these features create a more personal hiring experience for candidates.

Like to learn more about how behavioral assessments fit into modern hiring processes and improve hiring performance? Please read our blog, Technology & Science Improve Hiring Efficiency.