Few recruiters use pre-employment assessments for college recruiting

Retention is the most significant challenge facing college recruiters today; however, despite research suggesting that pre-hire assessments can dramatically improve employee retention and the hire quality, only 29 percent say they actually use assessments to influence their college recruiting decisions, according a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers and released by talent measurement provider SHL.

Although over half of respondents say they do not use pre-employment assessments because of perceived barriers to entry or misperceptions about their end results, hiring the wrong talent gives competitors an edge, SHL says. Other than retention issues, respondents say finding the right candidate-corporate culture fit is difficult, and three out of five respondents say offering candidates a realistic job preview improves recruiting process outcomes, retention rates and the quality of hire.

"Hiring and retention challenges are common in any sector, but the stakes are even higher in college recruiting as companies both large and small scramble to get to the newest, best and brightest talent before their competitors," says Caroline Paxman, president of SHL Americas. "It's become more important than ever to ensure the right fit from the start, especially since graduates represent potential leadership talent for the future. Resume information and GPA scores by themselves are not nearly as effective as well-developed assessments when it comes to predicting of long term potential for success."

In Europe, pre-employment assessments as part of graduate recruitment have been common practice, and research has shown they significantly improve college graduate quality-of-hire, which reduces turnover and increases productivity, SHL maintains, but these assessments are much less common in the U.S.

"While a large number of U.S. companies are already using assessments in the hiring process, many have been slow to adopt them for college recruiting,” Paxman says. “Coursework and internships can only tell you so much, so this is the natural next step towards improving entry-level talent programs since assessments are the most accurate way to gauge potential for those candidates who don't yet have a body of work to demonstrate their competency potential."

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