Finding and hiring the best people is one of the fundamental responsibilities of a manager or business owner. While this can sometimes start out looking like a simple and straightforward process, doubts and uncertainty can creep in as you try to move towards a final decision.
The goals of assessment change with the (1) level of a position and (2) the point in the hiring process where assessment is used. At the screening end of the continuum, assessment is used early in a multi-hurdle hiring system. For instance, if you are involved in hiring large numbers of candidates for a certain type of position (e.g., customer service, bank tellers, distribution center) where reducing turnover can result in significant cost reductions, you might consider a front end assessment that selects candidates who match an empirically derived profile of successful incumbents. Your interviewing and reference checking will follow, but you will be dealing with a smaller pool of candidates who cleared the first, psychometric, hurdle. This method has been used successfully by many organizations, resulting in improved retention and increased productivity.
While a front-end screening assessment is a good solution for high volume hiring situations, it is not the preferred solution in every situation. There is a one-time cost of developing an empirical profile. This is necessary to meet the legal requirements screening out on the basis of assessment alone. Long-term savings in turnover, training and recruiting costs justifies this expense.