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Why the quality of your vendor relationship could determine the success of your assessment tool.


Meredith Stack


If you are not already using pre-employment assessments as part of your screening process, chances are you are considering it.

Fully 63 percent of companies now use some form of pre-employment assessment to quantify candidate skills, traits, behavior, and/or culture fit with the company. Assessments provide hiring managers with quantitative insights that increase the quality of hires and help reduce bias in recruiting.

The challenge is figuring out which pre-employment assessment is best for your organization.

Choosing the right tool requires companies to consider how they want to assess candidates (online, mobile, paper), what skills and attributes they want to uncover, and what relationship they want to have with the vendor providing these tools. This last feature can determine the success or failure of an assessment program, but it often gets overlooked in the assessment vetting process.

Assessments aren’t out-of-the-box solutions that can be purchased en masse and used indiscriminately – or at least they shouldn’t be. A good assessment should be customized to the company culture and the open position because the characteristics and traits you want in a salesperson or executive will be very different from a software engineer or plant supervisor. The right assessment will be able to accommodate all of those roles and provide both metrics and narrative insights into each candidates’ fitness for any position to help you make the best choice.

This is where a strong vendor relationship can have a big impact. A good vendor will act as your partner, helping you to incorporate the assessment into your hiring lifecycle, and making sure everyone on the team understands how to use the tool and analyze the results for the best effect. This relationship ensures the assessment delivers the value you are paying for and doesn’t just add another step to the process.

So when selecting assessments for your hiring process, remember to evaluate the vendor as closely as you do the tool. Here are some important questions to consider.

  1. Do they listen to your needs? A good vendor won’t just sell you on their product. They will first ask questions about your business, your hiring goals, your hiring challenges, and what you hope to gain by adding an assessment. This suggests that they understand assessments must be adaptable if they are going to add real value.
  2. What role will their team play in the implementation? In early discussions, the vendor should be able to walk you through their implementation plan, including who will be your point of contact, and what technical experts will be available to help you roll out the assessment program. If you sense hesitation in their willingness to work with you during this critical time, they may lack the collaboration skills you need to be successful.
  3. Are they communicating in terms that are relevant to your goals? While you want to be confident in the science behind the tool, companies use assessments to deliver business results, and your vendor should get that. Look for vendors who can talk about the value of their assessment in terms that are relevant to you and your team – i.e., faster time to hire, reduced attrition, greater productivity, improved diversity. If they can’t communicate without getting bogged down in jargon, it will be difficult for your people to see the link between assessments and better hiring outcomes.
  4. How well did they answer your questions? If at the end of the meeting you are still scratching your head and wondering how this tool works, and what benefits it will deliver, move on. You want a vendor who understands your concerns and will take the time to address them.
  5. Do they give you the support you expected? Once you find a tool you like, run a pilot program, and watch how your vendor behaves. Do they provide training for your recruiters? Is there a point person to shepherd you through the process? Are they responsive when you run into problems? Do they care about the candidate experience? These are the kinds of measures that will tell you whether the vendor will become a valued partner.

Pre-employment assessments can be a vital element of a good hiring process, but only if recruiters have the knowledge, tools, and support to leverage them effectively. A good vendor will do more than sell you a tool. They will work with you to make it a meaningful part of how you choose the people who will determine your future business success.

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