How Pre-Employment Assessments Affect DEI Hiring
November 30, 2021

How Pre-Employment Assessments Affect DEI Hiring

Pre-employment assessments and evaluations are becoming increasingly common parts of the hiring process for employers both large and small. Employers striving to make hiring more equitable should be thinking about how assessments can help or hurt their DEI hiring initiatives. To explore the role of assessments in DEI hiring, we hosted a conversation between Nicky Garcea, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer of assessment provider Cappfinity, and Liz Wessel, Co-Founder and CEO of WayUp. Nicky and Liz shared best practices and learnings from top employers that have implemented pre-hire evaluations without disproportionately rejecting target candidates.  Read on for the top takeaways from the discussion.

How Can Assessments Negatively Affect DEI Hiring?

71% of companies use at least one type of pre-hire assessment. Many of these employers also have DEI hiring goals that they are trying to reach. Teams often attribute their lack of diverse hires to a lack of diversity at the top of the funnel.  However, in many cases, when examining the data, qualified and diverse candidates are applying in significant numbers. Down the funnel, during the assessments and evaluation stage, WayUp’s data has shown: Black, Hispanic, and Native American candidates “fail” cognitive or technical evaluations 200% more often than White or Asian candidates. Research has shown that performance in technical assessments, like performance in school/GPA, is more closely tied to socioeconomic status than future job performance.  

Many companies run into trouble before creating and deploying their assessments. Companies implementing an assessment tool may need to benchmark what success looks like currently. For a company just starting their DEI recruiting process or trying to improve, it’s common to base the ideal candidate profile on the best performer currently in their organization. Thinking about past success and top performers through the lens of increasing diversity, an employer must be aware that past success may not align with their future vision. If you want to diversify your workforce, those benchmarks will need to be changed too and you may want to consider benchmarking against your peers or against future goals. 

Can Assessments Be Deployed Without Bias? 

The answer is yes! Assessments can be a great way to gauge a candidate’s ability to perform in a role, but they need to focus on strengths or soft-skills-based questions instead of the technical examinations common today. Nicky Garcea explained the top 5 strengths Cappfinity measures in assessments for their hiring: authenticity, connection with the company mission, ability to grow and learn, capacity to make judgments, and the capacity to build deeper relationships. Behavioral strengths more equitably predict the future success of a candidate in your organization while not affecting your DEI hiring adversely. For actionable ways to mitigate the bias caused by technical assessments, recruiters should prepare their candidates to take the assessments and only use them as part of a more holistic evaluation.  

How Can I Make Sure I Am Using Assessments In An Unbiased And Legal Way? 

Embracing data is the only way to tell if any part of your hiring process rejects one demographic at significantly higher rates than another. Focusing on strengths and behavior instead of technical know-how in assessments can be a great way to evaluate candidates without bias. Partnering with a strengths-based assessment solution like Cappfinity or a vendor who can help monitor your diversity hiring analytics like WayUp can be a great solution. Along with making sure diversity is part of your sourcing strategy, have a deep understanding of what you are trying to measure and what success looks like, and evaluate candidates based on workplace strengths, job simulations, and other soft-skills, not just their current hard skills.  

More About Cappfinity & WayUp

Cappfinity is a global leader in strengths-based assessments. Cappfinity focuses on job simulations and strength-based assessments to evaluate diverse candidates without bias. To learn more about Cappfinity, click here.

WayUp is the #1 platform for employers to virtually recruit qualified, diverse early-career candidates. WayUp’s diversity sourcing platform features nearly 7 million students and recent graduates. Because all diversity data is self-reported, talent acquisition teams are able to find and connect with their target candidates in an EEOC and OFCCP compliant way.

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