August 2023
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TD Magazine

The Risk in Assessments

Monday, July 31, 2023

Use the right assessments to avoid hiring surprises.

Earlier this year, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that economists predicted a slowdown in the US labor market that will—due to a likely recession, inflation, layoffs, and higher unemployment rates—exacerbate candidate shortages.


Employers are implementing alternative approaches to traditional hiring processes to combat the ongoing shortages, according to data HireVue gathered in its 2023 Global Trends Report.

The annual survey polled more than 4,000 talent leaders across the software, finance, and retail industries about how they are adapting to the current hiring climate. Thirty percent of the employers surveyed have increased technology budgets to improve hiring efficiency. Half of the respondents also said their companies are emphasizing hiring more frequently from within.

"This year's survey confirms that we're at an inflection point in global workforce trends, where demand for new skills is colliding with changing candidate demographics and expectations," says HireVue CEO Anthony Reynolds. "The good news is that many job seekers are pausing searches to stay longer term in careers at companies that will help them upskill, re-skill and grow. Equally, employers are willing to fill new roles by retaining and investing in their current team members."

Organizations are also leaning into hiring assessments to analyze candidates' qualifications beyond traditional criteria, with 48 percent reporting that they have adopted a skills-first approach to talent acquisition.

However, there are risks in using pre-employment assessments if they are not designed for the population being assessed. To avoid further pitfalls, SHRM suggests using predictive validity, meaning the tests measure knowledge, skills, and abilities relevant to the position an organization is filling.


Employers should also ensure assessments are free of bias, as Upstate Niagara Cooperative learned in 2020 when it agreed to pay $1.35 million to female applicants to settle a US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit. According to SHRM, the cooperative's hiring exam required applicants to lift a 50-pound crate, which led to hiring 155 men and just five women between 2008 and 2014.

The 2023 Global Trends Report advises that organizations start the assessment process by identifying job competencies on their own before deciding whether candidates' work experience and education requirements fit.

About the Author

Bobby Lewis is a writer for ATD; [email protected].

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