Update: Sixth Annual Screening and Assessment Usage Survey

Dec 19, 2008

This article has been updated with a corrected link to the survey at the end.

by Dr. Charles Handler and Mark C. Healy, M.A.

We I/O psychologist-types tend to be real data hounds. Much of the work we do for our employers/clients involves the use of data to investigate specific hypotheses in order to illuminate the underlying truth in a situation. The outcome of this work often has tremendous value to organizations because it provides them with hard data on which strategic decisions can be based. Additionally, the collection and analyses of data often helps us to identify new trends that we haven’t yet thought about.

Many of you who follow our articles know that we have a keen interest in the pre-employment assessment industry, and write quite a bit about its trends and happenings within. Our interest in data and trends has led to an annual online screening and assessment usage survey.

The idea for this survey was born back in 2002, when we became frustrated over the lack of available information about the usage of pre-employment screening and assessment tools. This lack of information has been a challenge because though everyone seems to be saying that screening is becoming a hot area, there’s little actual data available to confirm this statement or to tell us how hot it really is. This lack of information also makes it hard for those of us who follow this industry closely to provide factual information about how companies are using online screening and assessment tools, and what the results of this usage have been. This year we have made a few changes to the survey questions to help us be sure we are staying up to date with some of the major trends and issues that pertain to assessment and the manner in which it is integrated into the hiring process.

At the end of this article, you’ll find a link to this year’s survey. Take a few minutes to help other members of our community by providing information about your company’s screening and assessment practices. The more data that’s collected, the clearer existing and emerging trends will become. Last year, we had a record number of responses, a fact that seems to indicate the increased interest level in screening and assessment. Given the steady increase in interest and the lack of information about this industry, we feel the results will continue to have value for the ERE community. We look forward to reporting our findings right here on ERE sometime this coming Spring.

In order to provide some extra motivation, here’s a quick summary of the trends identified in last year’s results.

Summary of Findings

One hundred and forty one professionals completed the survey, representing a very small increase of over the previous year. Respondents represented a wide range of company sizes. The results confirmed what most of our previous surveys have found:

  • Having an ATS installed is now nothing particularly innovative, especially if you work in a medium or large organization. For some, it’s hard to even imagine the old stacks of resumes and bulging file folders of applicant information.
  • Prescreening and assessment are continuing their gradual penetration into the mainstream of recruitment and hiring.
  • Qualifications screening, personality inventories, and skill and technical certifications continue to be the most popular online assessment tools. Assessments of cognitive abilities as well as fit with the company culture have expanded their footprint as well.
  • Respondents report a lack of understanding, weak budgets, or a general lack of support for online tools as their primary obstacles to adoption or greater use of modern prescreening and assessment technology.
  • Those organizations that formally evaluate their hiring practices tend to support the use of prescreening and assessment, but a large number of organizations are still failing to evaluate the effectiveness of their screening and assessment tools.

There clearly is a growing interest in scientifically derived hiring tools. This trend is encouraging but not particularly surprising; these numbers will continue to grow as more organizations understand the value in properly evaluating the impact of screening and assessment tools, seeing for themselves how quality hiring tools can improve a workforce.

This Year’s Survey

The goal of this year’s survey is to continue building on the information gathered from past surveys and to verify the fact that usage rates for online screening and assessment are increasing.

In order to help provide the ability to track changes in usage rates, this year’s survey is similar to last year’s, with a few minor changes to help account for trends that have developed since last year. Specifically, this year we have reduced the focus on screening systems and added additional questions about the impact of the economy on assessment programs, legal issues related to assessment, and budgeting/ROI for the use of screening and assessment tools.

While this is hardly a scientific survey, and its length limits the depth of the information that we are able to collect, there is tremendous value in the information your survey responses will provide. For instance:

  • This survey will help to provide some reality to speculation regarding increases in the use of both online screening tools and online assessment tools.
  • Your survey responses will provide information that is extremely useful for gaining a broader perspective on the evolution of the entire staffing process.
  • The results of this survey will help provide companies with some basic benchmark information about how online screening and assessment are being deployed.
  • The data from this survey will confirm our speculation that while many companies are using online screening and assessment tools, few are collecting the metrics needed to help them understand the true value they are providing. This is a problem that must be addressed, and we hope that verifying its existence will help to serve as a wake-up call.

All survey responses are confidential and individual responses will not be shared with anyone. By participating, you will help provide yourself and other members of the ERE community with up-to-date, accurate information about trends in the use of online screening and assessment tools.

We are interested in collecting information from anyone who is involved in the staffing process for his or her organization. This includes recruiters, hiring managers, staffing and HR executives, consultants, etc. We welcome participants from companies of all locations, sizes, and industries. We are not able to use information from individual vendors of screening and assessment tools or persons who may consult to multiple organizations.

Just click here and you’ll be taken to the survey page. This page has all the information you will need to complete the survey. Please feel free to forward the survey to anyone you feel might be interested in participating. If you have any questions, just contact

The results of the survey will be featured in an ERE article sometime this coming Spring. We look forward to sharing our results with you.

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