Fifth Annual Screening and Assessment Usage Survey

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 my articles know that I have a keen interest in the pre-employment assessment industry, and write quite a bit about its trends and happenings within. My 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 I 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.

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 (for a more in-depth look, please see last year’s results).

One hundred and thirty-six professionals completed the survey, representing an increase of 51% over the previous year. Respondents represented a wide range of company sizes.

Summary of Findings

  • Most medium-sized and large organizations have adopted or will adopt an applicant tracking system, but the use of an applicant tracking system does not relate to perceptions of hiring effectiveness.
  • Some hiring tools, like qualifications screening, skills testing/certification, and personality tests, are becoming standard features of a strategic hiring process. The use of some methods (e.g., online interviewing) is rare.
  • Few companies formally assess their prescreening tools or use metrics of any kind as a decision-making aid. Those who do tend to be aware of the effectiveness of their hiring systems and perceive greater value in them.
  • People professionals 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.

Overall, the results of our fourth annual survey are the most encouraging yet. These results clearly show a growing interest in the use of assessment tools. Valid, Web-based approaches to recruiting, screening, and placing job candidates are fast becoming the norm at leading-edge, people-focused organizations.

This trend is encouraging and, in our experience, not surprising. We feel these numbers will continue to grow as more organizations understand the value in properly evaluating the impact of screening and assessment tools.

Unfortunately, there is still a very widespread failure to adopt the business intelligence mindset required to evaluate the effectiveness of screening and assessment tools. Primary obstacles include a lack of understanding of the value of these tools, as well as budgeting issues.

As long as this deficiency exists, it is not surprising that skepticism about the value of these tools remains strong. We will continue to champion the use of evaluation to “close the loop” and help ensure an increase in the understanding of how properly implemented screening and assessment tools can impact the bottom line.

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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 essentially the same as last year’s, with a few minor changes to help account for trends that have developed since last year. Specifically, this year we have added additional questions on budgeting and 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 on “take the survey,” 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 me at

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.

Dr. Charles Handler is a thought leader, analyst, and practitioner in the talent assessment and human capital space. Throughout his career Dr. Handler has specialized in developing effective, legally defensible employee selection systems. 

Since 2001 Dr. Handler has served as the president and founder of Rocket-Hire, a vendor neutral consultancy dedicated to creating and driving innovation in talent assessment.  Dr. Handler has helped companies such as Intuit, Wells Fargo, KPMG, Scotia Bank, Hilton Worldwide, and Humana to design, implement, and measure impactful employee selection processes.

Through his prolific writing for media outlets such as, his work as a pre-hire assessment analyst for Bersin by Deloitte, and worldwide public speaking, Dr. Handler is a highly visible futurist and evangelist for the talent assessment space. Throughout his career, Dr. Handler has been on the forefront of innovation in the talent assessment space, applying his sound foundation in psychometrics to helping drive innovation in assessments through the use of gaming, social media, big data, and other advanced technologies.

Dr. Handler holds a M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Louisiana State University.







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