Not Using Assessments Is Your Biggest Mistake

Recruiters and employers are always looking for easier, faster, and more reliable ways to hire great people.  Many turn to the Internet for information and advice.  It overflows with articles by experts, industry leaders, HR professionals and organizations specializing in business, recruitment, and more.

It should be a great source of information and solutions, but unfortunately, a search for something as simple as just ‘hiring mistakes’ returns 58 million results!   Add the words “to avoid” to your search and you’ll reduce that number to (only) 23 million hits.  The best, and most accurate, advice is hidden somewhere in those millions of results, but how do you find it, or rate the quality of the results that Google has served up?

One might reasonably presume that organizations like the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Linked-In, Human Resources Director Canada, or Business Insider would be eminently trustworthy.  Sadly, that’s often not the case.

I reviewed just 40 articles from a variety of sources (including those listed above) and found that many simply reiterated the same things that were listed in all of the other articles (and often in the same order), even in articles written years and years apart.  Much of it is advice that most people could discern on their own after only a moment’s consideration.

What really surprised me, however, was that only 7 of the 40 articles mentioned pre-employment testing, even in passing.  Only one of them went into it in detail.  Out of 58 million results, it appears that less than 18% even raise the topic of screening applicants using assessments or tests in recruiting.

Frankly, that’s shocking.

Given the fact that there are thousands of reliable, accurate, validated, and legal assessment options available to employers, it’s more than just surprising that so many articles written to help employers improve their candidate screening processes don’t even mention tests.  Practically all of the ’best practices’ and tips listed in the articles are valid and helpful (see Endnotes).  Where they’ve missed the boat is by overlooking the incredible benefit offered by pre-employment screening tools.

Reference checks, resumes, interviews, and criminal background checks will only get you so far these days.  The first three take time and effort and leave you at the mercy of having to trust that what you’re being told is true.  Background checks only ‘work’ if the individual has an existing criminal record.  If not, they’re unrevealing.

On the other hand, assessments are available to pinpoint the exact skills, aptitudes, attitudes, competencies, and overall job or organizational ‘fit’ that you’re looking for.  There are tests for basic skills like math, mechanical aptitude, and reading comprehension, and for specific jobs like customer service, waitering, managers, finance, policing, welding, nannies, and more.

Organizations that rely exclusively on interviews, resumes, and etc. but who don’t include assessments in their hiring process are leaving themselves in a deficit position, and running the very real risk of hiring someone else’s reject or worse.

If you or someone you know is having problems with high turnover, teams that are dysfunctional, terrible applicant work ethic, skills that are touted in resumes but which are totally absent from work performance, or employees who need coaching and development before they can be successfully promoted… guess what?


Tests aren’t necessarily a big investment either.  In fact, they are cheap insurance.  It’s well known that replacing a bad hire will cost you at least 25% of an individual’s annual earnings, along with the cost and lost time repeating the entire recruiting, onboarding, and training process all over again.  Getting it right the first time will save you a ton of time and money.

If you’re new to testing or unsure of what your options are, download Searching For Superstars our free eBook for employers by signing up for our newsletter.

Creative Organizational Design offers over 4000 assessment titles and brings 45 years of experience and expertise in testing to the table.  We can help you find the solutions that you’ve been missing out on, and help you improve the quality of your new hires.  Visit us online and have a look at the cornucopia of options that you could be tapping into.

The biggest mistake that you can make when evaluating job applicants is to not test them!


American Express – 4 Hiring Mistakes And How To Prevent Them –

Business Insider – The 5 Hiring Mistakes You Need To Stop Making Right Now –

CBS News – The 5 Biggest Hiring Mistakes –

CEO World Magazine – These 3 Common Hiring Mistakes Can Damage a Company’s Reputation –

DCM Corporate Staffing – 10 Common Recruitment And Hiring Mistakes To Avoid –

Development Bank of Canada – 6 Mistakes To Avoid When Recruiting Employees – – The 3 Most Common — and Costly — Hiring Mistakes –

Forbes – Common Hiring Mistakes To Avoid And Strategies To Build A Great Team –

Gateway Recruiting – 3 Common Hiring Mistakes & How To Avoid Them –

Great Recruiters – 6 Hiring Mistakes Recruiters Should Avoid –

Harvard Business Review – 3 Common Hiring Mistakes New Managers Should Avoid –

Headhunters – 9 Recruitment Mistakes Made By Hiring Managers –

Herzing University – 5 Hiring Mistakes HR Professionals Should Avoid –

Hire-EZ – Common Hiring Mistakes Talent Acquisition Executives Should Avoid In 2023 –

HR Zone – Recruitment: Four Common Hiring Mistakes And How To Avoid Them –

Human Resources Director Canada – Struggling with the talent crisis? Here are the top 3 hiring mistakes of 2023 –

Inc. Magazine – The 5 Most Common Hiring Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them) Hiring the wrong candidate is more detrimental to your business than not hiring one at all. –

Indeed – 8 Common Hiring Mistakes and How To Avoid Making Them –

IQ Talent – Hiring Mistakes You Don’t Want To Repeat In 2023 –

Liberty Staffing Services – How to Deal with Preventable Hiring Mistakes –

LinkedIn – 7 Common Recruiting Mistakes (and How to Avoid Making Them) – – The Top Ten Hiring Mistakes for Big Business –

NESC Staffing – 7 Common Hiring Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them) –

Nova Staffing – 6 Major Recruitment Mistakes Employers Commonly Make –

Predictive Success – Hiring Mistakes to Avoid in 2022 –

QuickBooks Blog – 10 Mistakes to Avoid in the Hiring Process of Employees –

RecruitCRM – Recruiters Must Avoid These 7 Hiring Mistakes at All Costs –

Recruitee Blog – How To Avoid These 11 Common Hiring Mistakes – – 13 Common Hiring Mistakes and How to Avoid Them – – 7 Big Recruitment Mistakes to Avoid –

SHRM Blog – 5 Hiring Mistakes to Avoid –

Smart Recruiters Blog – 9 Hiring Mistakes of Yesterday –

Talent Lab – 7 Common Hiring Mistakes (And Strategies To Avoid Them) –

Test Gorilla – 7 Common Hiring Mistakes And How To Avoid Them –

The Recruitment Network – 20 Hiring Mistakes and How to Avoid Them –

Undercover Recruiter – The 6 Most Common Hiring Mistakes –

University of California, Davis – Top Hiring Mistakes and How to Avoid Them –

Wall Street Journal – The Biggest Mistakes Companies Make With Hiring –

Washington Post – The Worst Hiring Mistakes We’ve Seen – – How to Avoid the Biggest Hiring Mistakes –

David Towler is President of Creative Organizational Design, a firm offering nearly 40 years of expertise specializing in employee assessments and which has over 2000 different product titles available. Creative Organizational Design has 100s of assessment tools designed to help employers screen out other people’s rejects, assess skills, aptitude, attitude and ‘fit’ within an organization. For more information about the options available and help selecting the best tools for your needs please contact us.  Please send comments about this article to

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