When Should an Assessment be Used during the Hiring Process?

Most interviewers make up their minds about candidates within the first three minutes of their interviews. But a decision is only as reliable as the input used to make it. Humans naturally have biases that we apply to things and people. To ensure that your interviewers are making accurate hiring decisions, you need to remove the risk of biases. The best way to do this is to have as many data points as possible, and several of those data points should come from an objective hiring tool like an assessment. Using an assessment along with a candidate’s resume, references, and behavioral interview will set your hiring team up for the greatest success.


Follow 3 Rules when Administering Assessments


1. Be consistent.

No matter what type of assessment you’re using (cognitive, personality, emotional intelligence, etc.), it’s important to be consistent. You must use the assessment at the same point in the hiring process for every job applicant. Doing this ensures that all candidates are treated equally, giving all the same advantage.


2. Prepare for the interview.

The rule of thumb is to use the assessment early in the process, before the first face-to-face interview, whether in person or virtual. The best time to use an assessment varies depending on whether you’re using an applicant tracking system (ATS).

  • With an ATS: If you’re using an ATS that’s integrated with your assessment, administer the assessment at the time recommended by the ATS.

  • Without an ATS: Review the applications and select the candidates to screen by phone. Based on the results of this phone screening, administer the assessment prior to the face-to-face interview, whether virtual or in person.


3. Follow EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) best practices.

Administer the assessment as early as possible to create a level playing field for all candidates. Do not use an assessment as the sole basis for making an employment decision—use the assessment in addition to resumes, references, and interviews.

Document your hiring process and follow the same procedures every time for every candidate.


Assessments are immensely helpful in making more accurate hiring decisions. They remove biases, provide objective data points, and level the playing field for all candidates. Just be sure to follow best practices when using assessments to avoid any litigation or unfair situations.


ZERORISK HR is a leader in pre-employment assessments. The ZERORISK Hiring System measures eight emotional intelligence competencies, making it the most objective assessment on the market. In addition to hiring benchmarks, the system also produces behavioral interview questions customized for each candidate. Contact us today and let us help you take the risk out of hiring.