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Identify the Best Candidates With a 5 Minute Pre-Employment Test

December 17, 2015


healthcare-selectionI bet that title got your attention because everyone wants a way to identify the best candidate for a given job in just 5 minutes. Our next blog will be my summary of the “Perfectly Predictive One Question Interview!” – (imagine my best crazy electronic guy TV commercial voice).

Clients always ask how long our assessments take to complete. We have executive assessments that take 5 hours. We have shorter leadership assessments that take 90 minutes and we have short, screening tools designed for high volume positions that usually take between 15 and 25 minutes.

Invariably, someone says, “That’s too long – we’ll lose applicants – don’t you have something shorter?” Here’s our standard response:

  1. Our psychologists will always tell you that more data is better. The more time you give them with a candidate, the more predictive they can be. Our executive assessment reports are incredibly robust and detailed because the integrate data from a bank of several predictive tools. Clients making executive hiring decisions love them because they are incredibly predictive.
  2. But we can’t put thousands of nurses through executive assessment. It isn’t necessary and candidate reaction is an important variable, so we track it. What we’ve found is that a 15-25 minute assessment is pretty well tolerated by candidates. We track candidate reaction data. More than 98% of people finish the test so it’s not so long that candidates drop out.
  3. Of course, “time to fill” is what matters. A selection tool adds no value if it makes it harder for you to fill the position. When you think of a “selection system”, rather than plugging in “a test”, you can look at the entire process and, ideally, REDUCE time to fill.
  4. We test millions of people each year, across all industries and 80 countries. Here’s what we’ve found:
    • For high volume positions, a 15-25 minute assessment adds significant predictive value (we do validation studies).
    • Candidate reaction data is positive.
    • Less than 2% of candidates drop out or fail to complete the assessment.
    • If it’s done right, time to fill doesn’t increase.
  5. Can we build a 5 or 10-minute assessment? Sure. Are there 5 to 10-minute assessments out there? Sure. Any evidence they add significantly to the predictive nature of your hiring decisions? Doubtful. Think about it, at 5 minutes, you are basically looking at a “personality” assessment like the ones you see on Facebook every day: “What 80’s rock band would you be?!” “What celebrity personality do you share?” “Which Muppet are you?” “Which city should you live in?”

Are these interesting? Sure. Are they accurate? Sometimes, surprisingly so. Do they give you enough information to make a hiring decision? Well, if you knowing whether the candidate is more like Bert, than Ernie or Big Bird is helpful to you...

To learn more, see our whitepaper - The Science of Selection in Healthcare:



Bryan Warren Bryan Warren is the President of J3 Personica, a consulting, assessment, training, and coaching firm, and a guest blogger for PSI. Bryan is an expert in progressive talent strategies, with a particular focus on leader and physician selection and development.