Blog

Pre-hire Assessments Help Avoid Bias

Erin Iafelice

Gut instinct. Reliance on years of experience. Multiple interviewers with different perspectives. Interviewer fatigue in high-volume hiring. All of these factors and more can introduce bias into your process, which ups the probability of discrimination in hiring. These factors may also prevent your team from finding the best candidates for the role. Pre-hire assessments can help you overcome these common hiring challenges, but only if the assessments are grounded in validated science.

Three ways pre-hire assessments reduce the risk of bias and discrimination

All of the factors above are part and parcel of a traditional hiring process. With advances in science and technology, we now know more:

  • Years of experience isn’t an accurate predictor of job success.
  • When interviewers find a candidate they think is a fit, it can influence how they evaluate the rest of the candidates they interview.
  • Relying on resumes or applications alone doesn’t provide a well-rounded picture of your candidates.

Pre-hire assessments are a proven, effective strategy for getting around these barriers to a consistent and fair hiring process. 

1) Uncover job-relevant information about the candidate. When interviewers learn the candidate attended the same college or volunteered for the same non-profit, affinity bias can influence decision-making. That’s because humans tend to like others whom they have something in common with. Other conscious or unconscious biases can also enter the process – biases against aspects like age, weight, gender, race, or disability.

Pre-hire assessments shift the focus to job-relevant competencies, the aspects of candidate behavior that genuinely impact performance on the job. Examples of core competencies include adapts to change, produces quality work, works efficiently, and follows the rules and procedures. Pre-hire assessments based on science and validated through research can accurately report on job-specific competencies to enable better decision-making by hiring teams.

2) Drive a consistent and fair process. Pre-hire assessments are not about comparing candidates to each other. Instead, they examine every candidate to what success looks like in that specific role. That’s a fairer, more consistent method of evaluation, and in this way, they help TA teams avoid the bias that can come with interviewing candidate after candidate after candidate. 

3) Put meaningful data at the forefront of hiring decisions. When pre-hire assessments are used, the conversations among hiring stakeholders can center around data points instead of gut instinct or personal affinities for the candidates. Having data for hiring decisions also can reduce conformity bias – the tendency to agree with group decisions rather than challenge them due to peer pressure. Think of the potential to reduce discrimination and improve diversity in hiring when a candidate’s ability to perform on the job informs the hiring decision!

TA teams can take advantage of all of these benefits and more by using pre-hire assessments, especially when they select assessment technology that’s proven to predict performance.

What to look for in pre-hire assessment technology

Like in any HR tech selection and buying process, your criteria for pre-hire assessments will be specific to your organization, and hiring demands. Still, there are some key questions every TA team should ask to ensure they get the most value from their chosen solution:

  • Are the pre-hire assessments scientifically validated? Any assessment solution can promise to predict outcomes and reduce bias accurately, but where is the proof? At Modern Hire, over a decade of validation research combined with hiring and performance data from millions of applicants provide the scientific and analytical foundation for our pre-hire assessment technology, Virtual Job Tryouts.
  • Is it candidate-centric and transparent? Look for assessments that only evaluate information that candidates knowingly provide, and as part of the process, inform candidates if artificial intelligence is being applied. Ideally, pre-hire assessments also should help candidates better understand the role and the organization to aid in their decision-making if a job offer is extended. 
  • Is it a point solution or part of an enterprise platform? Point solutions are useful up to a specific, well, point, but for enterprise-level, high-volume hiring, seek out assessments that are part of an enterprise hiring solution. By integrating the assessments with other steps in the hiring process, your team’s efficiency with the technology will be maximized. Integration in an enterprise hiring platform also creates a more seamless hiring experience for candidates.

Avoiding bias and discrimination and improving the quality of hire are sides of the same coin. Both can be accomplished with pre-hire assessments that are proven to evaluate competencies specific to on-the-job success.