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Is candidate testing still a thing?

Hands up who remembers what they were doing in 1994? Maybe you were already working in recruitment, maybe you were a job seeker, perhaps you were still at school or perhaps you hadn’t even been born!


If you were a job seeker or a recruiter back in 1994, you will remember taking recruitment tests on a big boxy computer. It was likely a hulking great PC sitting in the corner or on a spare desk in a high street branch of a recruitment agency. You may have taken a typing test or some kind of computer literacy assessment, possibly an Excel test for a more advanced role.


Candidate testing was very much ‘a thing’ in 1994. ISV had been established for a couple of years by then and we were growing at a pacey rate. So, what’s changed?



The Cost of Bad Hire


Recruitment has most definitely changed. Like us, it’s changed shape a lot in 25 years and has weathered a few storms. There are less high street recruitment agencies, more online recruiters but we still have many of the same challenges.


Candidates – good, quality skilled candidates are in short supply. Providing a true service and consultation to your client or hiring manager is still a priority. Plus, the cost of getting recruitment wrong is getting higher.


Estimates show the cost of a bad hire at being anything between 3 and 5 times salary. This research shows that, when thinking about a bad hire, HR managers identify that it is going wrong because skills and reference checks aren’t being carried out thoroughly.


That’s worth dwelling on….


The second most popular reason identified (behind the pool of candidates being too small) as to why a hire doesn’t work out is that ‘skills and reference checks weren’t carried out thoroughly’.


As recruiters, surely, we have a duty to get this right… so why are we cutting corners?


Choices in Recruitment Testing


There is plenty of choice on the market when it comes to recruitment testing. Naturally the style of testing you choose should reflect the type and level of role you are recruiting for. Testing that suits a more junior office admin role would be inappropriate for a mid to senior level management accountant.


You can choose from:



Why should you use testing at all?


Aside from the obvious, verifying skill level and checking that your candidates have the skills and qualities to do the job in question, there are many reasons to use recruitment testing.


Here are some of the most popular:


  • For shortlisting when you are working with volume recruitment or popular roles
  • To ensure health and safety, particularly with temporary recruitment or to ensure people will be safe on site and in their job
  • To provide a thorough service to your client or hiring manager
  • For finding the perfect match
  • To reduce unconscious bias


We are all biased


Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all biased to some degree. You may try and be as open minded and inclusive as possible, but we have pre-programmed unconscious biases working away inside us.


Even something as simple as face shape can dictate whether we trust someone or not. Essentially though, if you are blessed with an open face and features, a shallow indentation around your eyes, a wide chin and pronounced cheekbones – you’re considered more trustworthy.


Using recruitment testing helps you reduce unconscious bias. By using it, you can truly state that you are selecting candidates based on their skills, knowledge, attitude and/ or working preferences.

There are many golden rules and guidelines around using recruitment testing to add value, to guard against cheating and to truly find the best candidates.


Candidate testing is still very much present in today’s recruitment industry. It’s changed since 1994 of course, but as a way of finding the best individuals to hire, it’s an invaluable tool.


Contact us today to discuss your testing requirements and try out some assessments yourself.






ISV.Online is the leading supplier of skills testing software and services to the UK Recruitment Industry.  Used by 9 of the top 10 UK agencies, by number of offices, and 7 of the top 10, by revenue, ISV.Online offers candidate skills assessment and evaluation software and online training tools, allowing agencies and in-house HR/recruitment teams to validate the skills of potential candidates and existing employees across a wide range of areas.


"ISV offers us a great capacity to conduct online skills & psychometric assessments" for our #candidates, and offers a great variety of tests in various categories." #recruitment #psychometricassessments #skillstesting


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      Please note that we only provide access and service to recruiters and employers with a valid business email address. If you represent such an organisation and do not have a suitable email address, please contact us via

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      © ISV.Online is a brand of Ikiru People Ltd, a subsidiary of Dillistone Group Plc. All rights reserved. The group is a leading global provider of software and services that enable recruitment agencies and in-house recruiters to better manage their selection process and address the training needs of individuals. Across its brands – which include Voyager Software (recruitment software UK & Australia),  Dillistone FileFinder executive search software, GatedTalent, the global database of the world’s leading executives, Talentis.Global - the next generation of recruitment software and also ISV.Online, provider of online pre-employment skills testing and training tools. Dillistone Group serves thousands of clients worldwide. Ikiru People Ltd: Registration Number 02043300. Registered in England & Wales.