Creating custom hiring tests

A concise comparison of standard versus customized hiring tests
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Created by Mustafa Ekim / April, 2023

Should companies consider creating custom hiring tests that are tailored to their industry and specific requirements?

Benefits of online hiring tests

The use of online hiring tests has become increasingly popular in the recruitment industry. Many companies have increased their usage of these tests due to the numerous advantages they offer:

  1. They can save time and resources by allowing recruiters to screen candidates efficiently and objectively.
    1. They can also provide a standardized and fair assessment for all candidates, ensuring a level playing field.
      1. Hiring tests can measure specific skills and competencies, giving recruiters a more accurate picture of a candidate's potential fit for a role.
        1. They can be easily administered and tracked through an online platform, providing valuable data and insights for future hiring decisions.

          Research has also shown that incorporating hiring tests in the recruitment process can have a positive impact on the quality of hires and overall job performance.

          • A study by the Aberdeen Group found that companies using pre-employment assessments achieved a 39% higher overall employee retention rate.
            • The US Department of Labor found that companies using pre-employment tests had a 27% reduction in attrition and a 20% increase in productivity.
              • A meta-analysis of 85 studies by the International Journal of Selection and Assessment found that cognitive ability tests had the strongest correlation with job performance (r = .51), followed by personality tests (r = .20).

                The trend towards custom-made hiring tests

                Many companies use hiring tests provided by different providers, while others create their own, and some use a combination of both. However, more and more companies are realizing that custom-made hiring tests yield better results compared to using standard tests. But what are the reasons behind this trend?

                Standard vs custom hiring tests tailored to specific industries

                Using standard hiring tests offered by providers can be a convenient and cost-effective option for companies. These tests have already been developed and are readily available, saving companies the time and resources required to create their own assessments. However, these tests may not always be specific to the company's industry or requirements, and may not accurately measure the skills and competencies needed for the job.

                On the other hand, creating a custom hiring test tailored to the company's industry and requirements can yield better results in terms of accurately measuring a candidate's skills and potential job performance. While creating a custom hiring test may require more time and resources upfront, it can ultimately lead to a more efficient and effective hiring process by reducing mismatches between the company and potential hires.

                When is it appropriate for a company to create its own hiring test?

                Companies usually opt for a custom hiring test when they find it valuable enough to invest resources and effort in creating a test that produces reliable results. This is because creating such a test requires advanced test authoring and administration tools, as well as a significant amount of effort.

                A company typically considers creating a custom hiring test when they have a position that requires constant hiring. These ongoing hiring processes have significant potential for improvement, and even a minor improvement in the process can yield substantial returns, positively impacting the growth and bottom line of a company.

                Some examples of when a company may benefit from creating a custom hiring test are:

                1. Companies with large on-field sales teams that are constantly recruiting new members
                  1. Call centers that are in constant search of new sales or support specialists
                    1. Auditing and consultancy companies that are always on the lookout for fresh graduates with great potential.

                      The examples provided are just a few, and there are many more that could be added to the list.

                      Assessing personality, cultural fit, and values through testing for best fit

                      Another reason for a company to develop its own hiring test is to identify the personality traits and shared values that lead to success in a particular job role. This allows the company to assess best-fit personality and cultural values and ensure that the candidates align with the company's values and work culture.

                      This three-step process involves:

                      1. Creating an inventory designed to measure specific traits and values of job candidates
                        1. Applying the inventory to the company's current successful workforce to identify the traits and values that make them successful in the researched role
                          1. Using the test on new candidates to identify the best fit based on these traits and values.

                            Incorporating hiring tests into employer branding strategies

                            Employer branding is a crucial aspect of recruitment and retention. A custom-made hiring test can contribute to building a strong employer brand by utilizing test content that is directly related to the company's brand and industry.

                            Here are some example test questions that can improve employer branding:

                            Example 1

                            Company XYZ's products are made from high-quality materials and have received numerous awards for their durability and performance. Based on this information, which of the following conclusions is most likely to be true?

                            A) Company XYZ's products are more expensive than their competitors'

                            B) Company XYZ's products are made from recycled materials

                            C) Company XYZ's products have poor quality and low durability

                            D) Company XYZ's products have a strong reputation in the market

                            Example 2

                            Suppose the Coffee Company XYZ needs to order coffee beans for the next three months. In the first month, they need 500 pounds of coffee beans. In the second month, they need to order twice as many pounds of coffee beans as the first month. In the third month, they need to order 1500 pounds of coffee beans. How many pounds of coffee beans does Coffee Company XYZ need to order in total for the next three months?"

                            A) 2,000 pounds

                            B) 2,500 pounds

                            C) 3,000 pounds

                            D) 3,500 pounds

                            What are the benefits of using a tailored hiring test for recruitment?

                            Customized hiring tests are designed to optimize the process of finding the best-fit candidate for a specific job role. Unlike standard tests, they focus on assessing the unique competencies, skills, knowledge, and traits that are critical to success in the target position. Because they are more targeted, custom hiring tests allow companies to measure the most important factors in a limited amount of time.

                            7 steps involved in developing a tailored hiring test

                            A custom hiring test can be developed through a simple series of steps:

                            Step 1: Identify the critical factors that predict success in the new hire.

                            Step 2: Develop test items that align with the measurement objectives identified in the previous step.

                            Step 3: Assemble the test questions into a coherent test format, ensuring a balance in terms of scoring, time, and number of questions required to measure the relevant objectives. It is important to apply multiple time limits to ensure that the candidate spends the appropriate amount of time on each objective, resulting in reliable test results for each objective

                            One common mistake we frequently observe is building hiring tests that measure multiple objectives but having a single time limit for the entire test. This is not ideal as you cannot control the candidate's allocated time on each objective, resulting in invalid outcomes.

                            Step 4: Develop alternative test questions for each test item and configure the test so that all candidates receive an equal number of questions for each measurement objective and difficulty level. Randomize the test questions for each candidate to ensure that each candidate faces different questions while still measuring each test item. By randomizing the test questions for each candidate, you can utilize the test for a larger pool of candidates while also preventing cheating since the questions cannot be anticipated in advance.

                            Step 5: Conduct the test utilizing a secure online assessment software. The software should have security measures such as webcam recording, screen recording, and lockdown browser to prevent cheating and ensure the integrity of the test results.

                            After investing a significant amount of effort and time in creating a hiring test, it is crucial to take appropriate security measures to safeguard it against cheating attempts. Such attempts can lead to the selection of a poor candidate, which can negatively impact your organization.
                            Please note that the use of ChatGPT during hiring tests can lead to unreliable results as it is capable of providing excellent answers to all questions. To prevent ChatGPT cheating, it is important to take security measures throughout the testing process such as using a lockdown browser to prevent access to external resources, screen recording to monitor the candidate's activity, and blocking copying of text through the interface. By taking these steps, the integrity of the assessment can be maintained and cheating attempts can be decreased.

                            Step 6: Analyze the test results and evaluate the performance and difficulty of each test item. Over time, improve the quality of the test questions to increase the accuracy of the measurements.

                            Step 7: Once the hiring is completed, it is essential to track the performance of the newly hired candidates and make necessary improvements to the hiring test by adding or modifying the measurement objectives within the test. This ongoing evaluation process can help refine the hiring process and ensure that it continues to produce reliable and valid results.

                            About Testinvite

                            Testinvite is an online assessment solution that empowers companies to fully utilize their assessment processes by providing hiring professionals with the necessary tools and frameworks to create customized hiring tests that provide the most relevant information about candidates. More than 500 customers, including major banks, insurance companies, global automotive companies, pharmaceutical companies, and call centers, utilize custom hiring tests to enhance their hiring process.

                            We would be glad to provide you with more information, so please don't hesitate to contact us.

                            • Creating custom hiring tests

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