Tag Archives: Hiring Process

Online Testing: Common Concerns About Pre-Employment Tests

One of our posts on our LinkedIn page has recently drawn a lot of attention. Dozens of commenters voiced both compliments and criticisms about TestUP and online employee testing in general. Below, we’ve responded to a few of the comments from those who raised important concerns about the online testing process.

“These attempts to automate the hiring process alienate the rarest of commodities, the passive candidate.”

“Passive” candidates are relaxed, docile people who rarely state their preferences. By this definition, those who identify as passive actually have a great opportunity to showcase their skills in a pre-employment skills test. Online tests give the passive candidate a chance to demonstrate their skills and present themselves as a viable candidate in a lower pressure environment. They have the opportunity to complete the test where and when he or she is most comfortable. Passive applicants may also find great success in jobs primarily involving hard skills, something online employment tests are great at measuring. It’s important to remember that employers seek out different types of people for different jobs.

“Does recruitment testing show a bias to employing candidates who can complete tests rather than do jobs?”

This is one of the most common concerns in regards to online testing. Candidates are often worried that they will be passed up in favor of someone who is not more qualified, but simply “tests better.” It is important here to stress that a hiring decision is not made simply on the score of an online assessment. You will never be denied a job because you missed one question on a math skills test. Companies use online employee testing as an aid in the hiring process, never as the deciding factor.

For jobs that require solely hard skill-oriented work (an entry level position that requires/needs typing notes) scores on an online aptitude test (for this situation, a words-per-minute typing test would be useful) will understandably carry a significant amount of weight. Companies are likely to hire the candidate that scores the highest, as the position is based solely on this skill set. However, these types of jobs are rare, and are often outweighed by more complex positions that require both hard and soft skills. For this type of work, employers consider everything about a candidate – their online employment test scores, sure, but also their past experience, personality, and work ethic. It is a combination of both high performance in hard skills and a proper fit with the company culture that makes an ideal candidate.

“Tests can be learnt and cheated once they are known about… So what if someone steps in my shoes and completes this?”

As can be expected, cheating is a possibility on any online test or questionnaire. Companies can’t look over your shoulder while you’re completing an online test to ensure you aren’t blog post 3 imagelooking up the question on Google or having someone else complete a test for you. But companies utilizing online employment testing are well aware of the possibility of cheating on these assessments, and have taken steps to protect testing integrity:

  • Original questions. To prevent candidates from simply looking up an answer, companies use unique and specific questions (for example, it’s unlikely that you would be able to google the answer to a question that asks you to find the pattern in a specific string of numbers.) Furthermore, many of the questions written don’t have a “correct” answer, so there’s nothing that can be looked up.

  • Time limits. Many online pre-employment tests have a time limit function where companies can see how long a candidate spends on a question. Therefore, if a candidate spends an unusual amount of time on a simple hard skills question, companies can take measures to determine whether or not the candidate was cheating.

  • Follow up interviews. Companies can ask those they suspect of cheating to complete one or two hard skills questions in person.

  • Integrity Score. Companies that use TestUP will have access to each candidate’s integrity score, a system we have developed to discourage candidates from cheating on tests. We compile the score by using a points system, where a candidate is penalized with points every time some action indicates they may be cheating (for example, taking a very long time to complete a test suggests that the candidate may be leaving the test browser to look up answers.)

We truly appreciate feedback from everyone who takes the time to look at and try out testup.com. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any more questions or concerns!

Image courtesy of patrisyu/ freedigitalphotos.net


LinkedIn Taking the Place of Headhunters

linkedin-questionsThe most common way that companies hire is through referrals. The New York Times stated in an article that “the referred candidates had a 40 percent better chance of being hired than other applicants.” The site LinkedIn has allowed companies to look up multiple referrals through the internet; without even contacting another person. It has become the new hiring landscape for many businesses. LinkedIn has digitally replaced the tasks provided by headhunters. Headhunters can also be extremely expensive for companies; so cutting this cost is beneficial and headhunters even use LinkedIn too.

However, now headhunters have another job; their roles have switched to become more exclusive and expensive. Headhunters wouldn’t still be in existence if LinkedIn took over all of the recruiting efforts. Most of the time the applicants that the distinguished companies are looking for already have jobs and aren’t even searching for another position. One interview with Dan Martineau, conducted by the Business Insider stated, “Most of the time – probably 85 percent- we recruit people who don’t want to leave their jobs.” All the different sites that are currently available are simply tools for the recruiting process. Recruiting still relies on some sort of human interaction and building relationships; companies need to take advantage of that. The reason why some companies still pay the high cost of headhunters is because they can provide results that LinkedIn can not.

Pre-Employment Testing Vs. Applicant Tracking Systems

Test-with-bubbleMany companies go through the issue of hiring the wrong people. They become more reliant on background tests and pre-employment testing to ensure they are hiring the top qualified applicant for the job. They can screen applicants by using cognitive tests, personality tests, background tests, drug tests, emotional intelligence tests, and talent assessment tests. Employers create and administer tests that are associated with the certain job title. For example, if you are applying to an HR position, an employer would assign you a test based on the tools and skills you should know if you are applying to that position. This is completely different from a regular background test; because it goes beyond personality testing. The employer can then confirm that the applicant is paralleled to what they state on their resume. These are known as Talent assessment tests. All of these types of tests can be administered online or they can be given during the hiring process in the office.

These tests differ from applicant tracking systems. An applicant tracking system is a software application that allows businesses to manage resume data and all applicant information. The submitted information is accessed through both internal information and from information posted on job boards. They are typically cloud-based programs that can sort and align resumes accurately with job descriptions. The main benefit to ATS is that there is one primary database for a company’s hiring efforts. It allows them to organize and manage human capital.

The combination of having an applicant tracking system and pre-employment testing will help companies accurately hire the right candidate. The only downfall is that these systems can be costly and time consuming for companies that aren’t big enough to manage them. They make the the hiring process easier mostly for larger companies. The medium and smaller sized companies usually chose one of the two systems to help them with their hiring process; because they need to dedicate their time to growing the company.



Differences in Hiring Between the Generations


The baby boomers, generation X’s, and generation Y’s all have differences in their working habits and should be treated differently within the workplace; especially when it comes to hiring. Depending on the different generation, the employer has to attract him or her to their business based on that generation’s working style and habits. Establishing a hiring process generated for the different generations not only can increase productivity, but also increase job retention.
The baby boomers are known to be loyal to one job and have a longer job retention. The baby boomers are people born between 1946 and 1964, who make up about 20% of the American public. This is a large portion because after World War II, there was a spike in the birth rate. They appreciate having stability within their workplace and remain loyal to their employers. They tend to prefer an organization that has a strong sense of community and one that has a lot of support within the organization.

People who are a part of the generation X are typically attracted to organizations that provide a stable and flexible work environment. The generation X includes people who were born between 1965 and 1980, and make up about 48 million Americans. Most of them are now reaching into their 30’s and 40’s and over 60% of them attended college; which makes them more educated than the baby boomers. They tend to appreciate autonomy and freedom within the workplace. Generation X’s also are usually attracted towards jobs that provide them with a lot of life balance and time to have fun within their work activities.

Generation Y’s , or the millennials, are more fitted to work in teams; they like collaboration. The millennials are people who are born between 1980 and 2000 and are just starting to emerge in the workforce. This is a fast growing population in the workforce and organizations need to learn how to fit their needs. Not only are they team oriented, but they also are very achievement based. Unlike the baby boomers they are not likely to stay at one job their entire life; which makes job retention more difficult. They do not enjoy meaningless and busy work; they enjoy productive jobs.

A good recruiter must be able to identify all of these differences in order to effectively hire and retain their employees. They also cannot rely solely on benefits in order to make these generations happy. Recruiters and employers should be able to adjust the way that they treat and manage each of these different types of generations. However, we still have to remember that not everyone is the same and that it is important to really get to know each employee and how they like to be managed. This may seem like a rigorous and time-consuming, but it will surely increase productivity.

Use Facebook to Find Your Next Job?


As if it weren’t already the Swiss-army knife of all social networks, Facebook adds on yet another function to its laundry list of features: “Social Jobs”. Facebook teams up with the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), DirectEmployers Association (DE), and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) in a partnership aimed to help America’s unemployed find jobs with the help of social media. The idea behind using social media to advertise employment opportunities is its potential for widespread influence; since Facebook is such a high traffic website, employers have a better chance of finding the perfect fit in such a large pool of potential candidates. The Facebook Social Jobs page features a search bar similar to those on other job search websites. The user fills in keywords and chooses specific job categories, and then the system finds open positions that match the user’s request. Facebook combines information from other renowned websites’ databases. This is in line with its goal of becoming a one-stop, all-encompassing resource.

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6 Steps toward Making Better Hiring Decisions


The effects of a bad hire on a firm can be devastating. Not only does a poor hiring decision result in wasted time and money, it can be detrimental to morale in the workplace. A recent Robert Half International study in which over 1,400 CFOs were surveyed found that 35% of participants felt morale was “greatly” affected by poor hiring decisions. The CFOs also concluded that supervisors spend 17% of their time overseeing incompetent employees. That’s almost one day per week!

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The Importance of “Cultural Fit” in the Workplace

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Getting hired isn’t just determined by the academic and work experience of a candidate, concluded sociological experts at Northwestern University. Research shows that more and more, employers are making hiring decisions in conjunction with “cultural fit.” The idea behind using this factor stems from the belief that a candidate’s personality traits and character will inform his or her behavior and attitude in the workplace. Questions such as “If your life were a movie, which actor would you like best to play your role?” and “Where do you vacation?” have found their way onto applications all across the job market. These questions shed light on the psyche of an applicant—a factor that doesn’t always reveal itself right away. With personality in mind, it is often better to hire an applicant with whom you hit it off over your typical “paper perfect” candidate. Asking someone about his or her “ideal sandwich” or “spirit animal” may seem frivolous, but this form of employee assessment is taken very seriously! A few pre-employment screening questions can make a world of difference. Questions aren’t the only way to assess a potential employee; a few big name firms have implemented their own ways of determining “cultural fit”.

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Common Résumé Lies: What to Look For

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When it comes to the particular details that job seekers may lie about, some of them are complete fabrications meant to pull the wool over the employer’s eyes, while others may tweak the details just to give them a little bit of an edge. They’re most likely trying to appear more desirable to a prospective employer, banking on the fact that many employers never check references or verify statements made on résumés or during interviews.

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