How To Use Behavioral Assessment in Your Hiring Process

Updated February 3, 2023

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Companies interested in improving their hiring processes may consider using a behavioral assessment to review candidates and ensure they're a good fit for a position and the organization. These pre-employment tests are available in a variety of styles to help reduce employee turnover, analyze candidates objectively and ensure that hiring managers select highly qualified individuals for open positions. Understanding how to utilize behavioral assessments can allow companies to find the right candidates and make informed hiring decisions.

In this article, we explain what a behavioral assessment is, show how companies can use behavioral assessments in the hiring process and list six advantages of using these questionnaires.

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What is a behavioral assessment?

A behavioral assessment is a pre-employment test that evaluates how well applicants might fit a specific open job position and then behave in the workplace. It can be a useful tool to help hiring teams find candidates who align with a company's mission, values and culture

Like a personality test, a behavioral assessment analyzes if a candidate has the temperament, characteristics and habits that you want for a particular job role. While a personality test focuses on categorizing a person's traits, a behavioral assessment also predicts their behaviors. Behavioral analystsdata architectspsychologists and other professionals typically help develop reputable assessments.

Related: Guide to Understanding Career Assessments

Types of behavior assessments

There are several types of behavioral assessments that recruiters can choose to incorporate into their hiring process. Some assessments take less than 10 minutes to complete, while more in-depth behavior tests may take longer. 

A behavioral assessment may include:

  • Multiple-choice questions that let candidates choose what they consider to be the most appropriate answer

  • Rating scale questions that allow candidates to select a number that most accurately represents their response

  • Adjective checklists that ask candidates to choose words that describe expected actions or how they view themselves

  • Open-ended questions that let candidates write brief answers

  • One-way video interviews that have candidates record answers to video questions. 

Related: Personality Assessments for Jobs

What do behavioral assessments show?

Behavioral assessments typically show a candidate's primary personality traits, strengths and skills which hiring managers can use to evaluate whether they're right for a particular role and professional team.

Many companies often choose the "OCEAN" personality model to determine whether a professional can fit in with the culture of an organization. It uses a sliding scale or a spectrum to determine the degree an individual expresses each of these personality traits:

  • Openness represents how willing a person is to try new things.

  • Conscientiousness refers to an individual's desire to be careful and diligent.

  • Extroversion measures how energetic, outgoing and confident a person is.

  • Agreeableness refers to how an individual interacts with others.

  • Neuroticism represents how likely someone may be to experience negative emotions.

Read more: What Are Personality Traits? (With Examples)

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6 benefits of using a behavioral assessment in recruiting

Here are six benefits of incorporating a behavioral assessment into your hiring process:

1. Streamlining the hiring process

Job postings may receive dozens, hundreds or even thousands of applications. To save time and effort, a hiring team may ask candidates to complete a behavioral assessment to analyze whether they're a good fit for the company. Using these questionnaires can help companies streamline their application processes by quickly finding the most qualified candidates based on their personalities, learning styles and habits.

Related: 10 Best Practices for Streamlining Your Hiring Process

2. Hiring based on merit

Using a behavioral assessment can help minimize unconscious or implicit bias during the hiring process. The test analyzes candidates based only on their skills, habits and traits. This means these questionnaires may increase the likelihood that a hiring team selects a candidate based on how well they suit a position and team, rather than on opinion or personal preference.

Related: How To Improve Your Hiring Process (With Tips)

3. Making data-driven decisions

Psychologists, data scientists and related professionals often work together to create behavioral assessments by gathering and analyzing large amounts of psychological data. Choosing a reputable behavioral assessment test or company helps ensure that your candidates' assessment results are psychologically accurate. They can also use data to determine the personality traits and habits a suitable candidate may possess, and look for a professional that meets these criteria.

Related: Skills Assessment Tests: Definition and Examples

4. Improving return on investment (ROI)

Companies can spend a lot of time, energy and resources on continually hiring new employees. With a behavioral assessment, you can choose job candidates who are most likely to be the best fit for both the role and the company. New hires who are qualified for their position may be more likely to continue with a company long-term.

Related: What Is a Good ROI and How To Calculate It

5. Offering candidates a preview of the job

Behavioral assessments test applicants on the skills they need to perform the job successfully. Depending on the type of test you use, the behavioral assessment might even include an immersive job simulation. This gives candidates a better understanding of how satisfied they'd be with the job, further lowering employee turnover and improving the company's return on investment.

6. Diversifying teams

A behavioral assessment can help you discover candidates that a human recruiter or hiring manager may overlook. For example, some applicants might not exactly fit the desired experience requirements for a particular role.

However, the behavioral assessment may analyze that candidate and predict they'd likely perform well in the role. Hiring non-traditional candidates with the help of a behavioral assessment can help improve the diversity of the company's employees, teams and departments.

Related: How To Assess Culture Fit During Interviews

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