Applicant Dropouts: Are We Really Losing Potential Candidates Over “Long” Pre-Hiring Assessments?

When you’ve already spent hours polishing your resume and cover letter, the last thing you’d expect is an invitation to another 40-minute-long assessment that is mandatory for the job. At Prevue, we’ve seen and dealt with many kinds of candidates – one even wrote back to us with a “Yeahhh, no thanks.” But we’re not letting this one applicant pull us away from the true benefits of a ‘long’ pre-hiring assessment. Here’s why.

Distinguishing Between Positive & Negative Attrition

The fear of applicants dropping out is exactly why many employers feel hesitant about bringing in a pre-hiring tool. Clients also tend to assume that shorter assessments mean better completion rates and a bigger candidate pool. When you have an attrition rate that is high, it’s fair to think that there must be a serious problem within the recruitment process. But that’s not always the case.

While it’s tempting to put our focus on the potential talents that were lost, applicants who dropped out could actually represent ‘positive’ attrition – the good kind of dropouts that are beneficial to the organization. Think of this as an initial filter for screening. When a candidate chooses to leave an assessment incomplete, they’re essentially opting out of a job that they deem is not “worth it” nor a good fit for themselves. In fact, research by Modern Hire suggested that those who didn’t finish the assessment would have likely ended up having lower scores anyway. To recruiters and business owners, this could be a roundabout way to save both time and cost.

Conserving the Validity & Reliability of the Assessments

The thought of shortening our assessments has definitely crossed our minds. But while doing so may improve dropout rates and thereby increase the candidate pool, it can significantly compromise its psychometric validity and reliability. This takes away the whole purpose of a comprehensive pre-hiring assessment!

Every section, scale, and question in our assessments were developed by pioneers in the field of Occupational Psychology, and have then been iteratively reviewed by our team of psychometricians using years of research and knowledge. The seemingly ‘long’ assessment was never intended to filter out uncommitted candidates per se, but to conserve the scientific elements that are key in evaluating a candidate’s job-fit and compatibility with the company.

At the end of the day, hiring the right person is ultimately the goal, which HR pros should know by now takes more than just a resume and cover letter. It is our duty at Prevue to cater toward the needs of our clients, but we also feel the need to educate and help them see why we do things in such ways and why it works. Now it’s your turn as the hiring manager to do the same to your applicants! Sometimes, like ourselves, candidates can also fail to see the importance of a pre-hiring assessment. If you ever come across candidates who can’t seem to finish the assessment, write back and encourage them to get to the end. A little push might just be what they needed.