8 Best Talent Assessment Tools for Forecasting Job Performance

Published by:
Rebecca Noori
March 7, 2023
min read

Setting new hires up for success takes more than a glance at their resume and a couple of interviews. Forecasting job readiness relies on understanding your candidate's skills and real-world experience so you can start them off on the right foot at your company. One way to achieve this is by incorporating a range of talent assessment tools into your hiring process to ensure you’ve found the best person for the job in question. 

What are talent assessment tools? 

Aptitude tests, skill assessments, simulated projects, and cognitive ability tests are all types of assessment tools. These determine whether a candidate can perform the responsibilities of a role once you’ve hired them. Focusing on competencies central to the position allows you to ask targeted questions about candidates' experience to decide whether they have the necessary skill sets for business success. 

Why use talent assessment tools? 

If you attract a high volume of potential candidates for your role, it can feel like a search for a needle in a haystack trying to find the perfect person to excel in the job. In fact, Symphony Talent highlights that 37% of recruitment teams find sorting through all these applications to be their primary challenge in talent acquisition. 

Talent assessment tests overcome this problem by narrowing the field and offering the following benefits: 

Improve quality of hire metrics 

45% of HR leaders state that "improving the quality of candidates" is the most important factor linking technology to recruitment (Findem’s State of Hiring and Recruiting in 2023 report.) 

Companies want to invest in tools that improve the calibre of candidates in their talent pool. 

Talent assessment tools achieve this goal by providing detailed reports and valuable insights into candidate skills and potential. An in-depth understanding of their capabilities means you can make informed hiring decisions.

Eliminate bias

The hiring process is typically rife with hidden bias. From first impressions to leading questions in interviews, 188 types of unconscious bias can easily creep into the decision-making process. The result? You’lll unwittingly filter out qualified candidates and hire people who might be a great culture fit but lack the job-specific skills and attributes you require. 

Employee assessment tools level the playing field. By relying on data-driven assessments, these solutions ensure everyone is judged by the same criteria. By focusing on skills, you’ll identify the most suitable candidates for your advertised role, regardless of their background, previous employment, or educational experience. 

Reduce time to fill rates 

Talent acquisition isn’t a quick process—in fact, the Society of Human Resource Management reports an average time-to-fill rate of 42 days. But a well-defined recruitment process incorporating talent assessment tools can reduce these rates significantly. Instead of being overwhelmed by data, these solutions will quickly identify the most competent candidates, enabling you to complete the selection process in a fraction of the time. 

Save resources 

Along with being time-intensive, the hiring process is also expensive. From the labour cost to evaluate CVs or attend interview stages to on-boarding and training, there's a high price tag associated with new starters. Candidate assessment tools help reduce recruiting costs by flagging those who can hit the ground running and will likely remain in their post for longer. 

Make data-driven hiring decisions

Talent assessment tools enable you to make evidence-based decisions. You'll use tangible facts and figures to identify the most suitable candidate for a job rather than defaulting to gut feelings that will result in you hiring "more of the same."  

These solutions generate data-driven insights into an individual’s cognitive abilities, motivation and attitudes. By evaluating personality traits, communication skills and abilities, you can gain a better understanding of how they’re likely to respond under pressure or in pre-defined situations. 

Which are the best talent assessment tools to use? 

You can use numerous skill tests and processes to find the cream of the crop. Some hiring teams may rely on multiple HR recruitment software solutions to create their own talent assessment tech stack, but most prefer an all-encompassing system. For example, Symphony Talent finds that 94.9% of survey respondents favour a single recruitment solution that captures data across every candidate touchpoint—from sourcing and hiring campaigns to pipeline tracking and reporting. 

In either case, here are some common talent assessment methods you might consider when selecting your solution: 

1. Structured interviews 

Structured interviews work from a script, asking each candidate the same assessment questions in the same order to easily compare and rate answers. Incorporate real-life tasks into your technical interview questions to understand how your candidates will perform in their new roles, then rate their performance. You'll give everyone a fair chance to demonstrate their skills and take a consistent approach to evaluating them. 

Applied structured interviews

2. Numerical skills 

Numerical skills and aptitude tests measure a candidate's ability to understand and analyze mathematical tasks. This makes them especially effective for hiring developers, engineers, financial analysts, and other analytical roles. The best numerical tests will include the following: 

  • Numerical computation: basic numeracy skills in areas such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and the ability to calculate division, percentages, ratios, fractions, and decimals. 
  • Numerical estimation: testing how quickly and accurately the candidate can estimate the answer to numerical questions. 
  • Numerical reasoning: determining the best route to an answer instead of working out which calculations to apply.  
  • Data interpretation: fluently reading charts, graphs, plots, and tables to answer related questions. 
Applied numerical test

3. Cognitive assessments 

Cognitive tests assess the speed and accuracy of information processing and short-term memory retention. Tests for cognitive skills can include: 

  • Maths skills: calculating percentages, calculus, and orders of magnitude 
  • Data interpretation: the ability to interpret graphs and tables accurately 
  • Analytical thinking: solving problems creatively with a range of logic skills 
  • Error spotting: cognitive ability assessments flag if candidates can demonstrate attention to detail by noticing a wrong calculation. 
Applied cognitive assessment

4. CV scoring 

Traditional approaches to evaluating resumes are riddled with bias, as reviewers focus on names, ages, genders, or education at a prestigious university rather than relevant experience or skills. By using CV scoring, you’ll create a fair and standardised process for combing through resumes. 

You'll turn the hiring process into a science by using focus questions that apply a laser to your candidate screening. This ensures you pinpoint the specific skills to predict future job performance. 

Applied CV scoring tool

5. Skills-based shortlisting 

Shortlisting allows you to zone in on technical skills which may be less visible on a resume. Rather than relying on educational backgrounds or college degrees, you'll concentrate on the skills and knowledge of the applicant. Applied uses a shortlist approach following these steps: 

  • Anonymise: this removes candidate identifiers from the resume that could otherwise trigger unconscious bias. 
  • Chunk: breaks the application into pieces, grouping answers to the same questions together. This step prevents confirmation bias and enables reviews to assess answers faster. 
  • Randomise: hirers see candidate answers in a different order to ensure ordering effects don't influence candidate scores. 
  • Review: reviewers work through candidate responses individually and rate the quality 1-5 using a structured marking guide. 
  • Collate: scores are collated into a leaderboard, making it easy to spot the most suitable candidates. 
  • Hire: you'll hire the best person for the role and improve the experience for candidates by sending automated feedback to everyone else explaining the results of their application. 

6. Work samples 

Work samples allow you to test small parts of the job by assigning relevant tasks that will give you an insight into how the candidate's skills and abilities will translate into actual job performance. You'll assess: 

  • how comfortable they are with the tasks
  • their creativity in handling problem-solving tasks
  • their ability to work independently and within a team
  • how quickly they can complete the task
  • how they respond to pressure
  • if they’re capable of multitasking

7. Asynchronous interviews 

Asynchronous video interviews remove the pressure of the time restraints imposed on face-to-face meetings, allowing candidates and hirers to respond at the most suitable time for them. Candidates create videos or recordings of responses to questions, which your hiring team can review later. 

As with face-to-face interviews, using a structured process is the best way to predict future performance during video interviews. Use the same questions across all interviews, and insist that candidates answer them fully, in the same order, allowing you to compare and rank answers. You'll find that the answers are as detailed and revealing as during a traditional interview process, and it's easy to spot your successful candidates. 

8. Job simulation tests 

This is a powerful form of assessment where candidates tackle job-related situations. Simulations or game-based assessments focus on the knowledge and skills required to perform the role, allowing you to observe how the candidate handles a hypothetical scenario in real time. For example, you might test coding skills by providing a candidate with a problem to solve in the time allocated or ask a customer service representative to answer questions as if they were dealing with an actual customer.

Accurately predict job success with Applied 

Forward-thinking talent professionals focus on future job success rather than fixating on past education or employer references. That’s why incorporating our quality talent assessments into your hiring process is instrumental in predicting performance, especially in high-volume hiring when you require candidates at scale. 

Applied is a purpose-built applicant tracking system that enables you to build talent pipelines without the risk of bad hires creeping into the ranks. We offer a full range of cognitive, numerical, and personality assessments, along with structured interviews and skills-based shortlisting. Our scientific hiring approach is fair and reliably predicts the best talent to join your organisation. Book a free demo with Applied today.