Could Pre-Interview Testing Make Job Hunting Smoother for Everyone?

Job interviews are some of the most nerve-wracking experiences you’ll have in life. The traditional model of interviewing hinged largely on whether or not the interviewers liked you, and unconscious bias played a huge role in landing people jobs. That’s not fair.

Some people who observe the job market think that pre-interview testing might be our best path toward reforming job interviews. Such testing allows companies to gather more information on candidates earlier in the hiring process, and gives those candidates a chance to prove they have what it takes to do the job. Andy Bonk, founder and product manager at Montage, a hiring tech firm, has an idea of how such a process might work:

To gather more information about the candidate earlier in the hiring process, recruiters can provide an on-demand interview where applicants can record answers and complete a coding assessment within the platform. This method improves the candidates’ experience as they can complete assessments on their own time, interact with a single recruiting system as opposed to using various tools, and demonstrate why they’d add value to the role and organization by showcasing their skills.

For recruiters, filmed responses and assessments allow for better hiring decisions when working directly with IT hiring managers. These IT skills assessments help bolster the relationship between recruiters and hiring managers by ensuring that the candidates they bring in have the right skill set for the job.

In theory, recorded responses and assessments would allow recruiters and hiring managers to decide on job candidates in an easier, more streamlined way; it might also reduce some of the unconscious bias that creeps into the interview process, by boosting qualified candidates before they ever set foot in an interview room.

Of course, testing isn’t a new concept when it comes to hiring; some firms have taken to providing homework to potential candidates as a means of evaluation. While many see this method as valuable, it has led to the inevitable criticism that some firms treat these assignments less like an evaluation and more like free temp labor.

Indeed recently launched Assessments, a testing platform that helps companies determine if candidates are ready for open positions before they arrive for an interview. It offers pre-fabricated tests created by “experts,” or companies can create their own tests. Answers can be timed, and tests can simulate real-life scenarios that candidates may encounter on the job.

Hiring managers can view a candidate’s test scores and integrate them with candidate-tracking software such as Workable or Jobvite. Indeed’s stated goals are to “eliminate bias” and “provide consistency in candidate evaluation,” which is the overall goal of testing versus a tedious interview process.

Whatever you think of the idea of candidates walking pre-tested into job interviews, instituting such a process will take quite a bit of effort on companies’ parts. But that effort might be worth it for recruiters and hiring managers who have too many slots to fill and not nearly enough time.

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6 Responses to “Could Pre-Interview Testing Make Job Hunting Smoother for Everyone?”

  1. Chris

    This whole concept is absurd to me.
    Most every company with an open position thinks they are IT.
    Created by someone who portrays themselves as an expert of sorts.

    I am very selective who I want to invest my time with. The company and people within have a lot to prove to me.

    Testing…a complete failure at assessment of much anything except how well one can test. American schools great example of poor testing resulting in poor work force, mis-aligned.

  2. Victor

    As someone who has experienced bias (age in my case) and has taken proactive measures to mitigate perceived issues (I attend meet ups and have great conversations with folks younger than me, plus I am highly current in technology and process) yet continues to experience that bias, I’m attracted to pre-employment testing.

    However, I believe that the datasets available for use with pre-employment testing (for example, to train ML models) contain data that will perpetuate bias. The only data that exists today is that which is based on situations that exist or have existed; it would be terrible to institutionalize bias this way.

  3. I thought that was the purpose of certifications! Why ask for certs if you don’t value them???

    How about just being honest about what your organization is looking for.

    Here’s an example that would cover most civilian positions, I think.

    1) We would prefer to off-shore this position, but we can’t.

    2) We would rather hire a non-American on a work visa, but unfortunately we aren’t able to do that either.

    3) If you are over 40, we will hire you only if we are desperate.

    4) If you are over 50, don’t even think about wasting our time.

    5) If you are hired, please note that we will continue to try to implement items 1 & 2, so don’t make any long term financial commitments.

    • Larry

      I have found that some tests are already out there. Mostly irrelevant to the job. Various pattern matching and math problems. Some sets are quite excessive, 40 – 50 pattern questions and then a second set of patterns! They are both timed and untimed. I think part of the reason for these tests are to, as mentioned above, weed out the older worker that are not going to remember some of the ‘simple’ math questions. This is a way around the R. J. Reynolds discrimination lawsuit.