Web-Based Screening and Assessment Usage: Third Annual Survey

Anyone who follows online screening and assessment knows that there just isn’t much information available about general trends related to its use. This can be a bit frustrating because, while everyone seems to be saying that screening is becoming a “hot” area, there is little actual data available to confirm this statement or to tell us “how hot” hot 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. I found the general lack of information about the use of online screening and assessment tools so frustrating that in 2002 I decided to do something to help find some answers. The result was my first screening and assessment usage survey. The results were very useful and encouraged me to make this survey an annual event. (Thank you to everyone who has participated in the survey process over the past two years! The data you have provided has had great value for many of us.) I have really high expectations for this year’s survey and am really excited about building on the past two years’ results. The more data I can collect, the clearer existing and emerging trends will become. While the results of these surveys were far from being scientifically rigorous, they did provide good high-level information about usage trends for online screening and assessment. Specifically, my surveys have focused on providing information about the current usage of online screening and assessment tools, obstacles to the adoption of online screening and assessment tools, and respondent’s opinions about future usage rates for these tools. Here is a quick summary of the trends identified in last year’s results (for a more in-depth look please see my article covering last year’s survey results): Respondents:

  • 78 persons responded.
  • The most common job title for respondents was recruiter.
  • Respondents represented a wide range of company sizes.

Screening and ATS:

  • Almost all organizations are using the web as a part of their staffing process.
  • Hiring trends reveal that fewer hires are being made by companies of all sizes, but the slowdown is especially prevalent among mid-sized companies.
  • ATS usage has become widespread among companies of all sizes. Almost all medium and large companies are using some form of ATS.
  • There is little to no relationship between ATS usage and success of hires.
  • Metrics are a critical for understanding the ROI associated with your hiring process, but few companies are using them. Those that are using them seem to feel more positive about the effectiveness of their hiring processes.
  • Screening tools are used by many organizations, but their usage is still not as widespread as that of other technology-based staffing tools such as ATSs and employment portals.
  • Many organizations report that the screening tools they are using are not effective. Screening tools that provide a more in-depth look at a candidate relative to job requirements are more effective than “on the surface” tools such as resume reviews.
  • People are still passing over dollars to pick up pennies by refusing to expend the effort needed to properly configure and analyze the effectiveness of their screening tools.


  • A majority of respondents indicated that their organizations use some form of assessment tool.
  • Most organizations that use assessment tools use more then one type of tool.
  • Background checks, personality measures, measures of “fit,” and cognitive measures were the most commonly used types of assessment tools.
  • The heaviest usage of assessment tools was among organizations with over 5,000 employees.
  • Almost every organization uses assessment in a localized, tactical manner as opposed to a more widespread, strategic one.
  • Only a handful of respondents indicated that their organizations have integrated assessment results into their ATS.

Obstacles to usage:

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  • A majority of respondents indicated the presence of obstacles to the adoption of online screening and assessment.
  • The most common obstacles cited were cost issues, skepticism about results, and a lack of understanding about online screening and assessment.

Future usage:

  • Almost all respondents felt there will be an increase in the usage rate of online screening and assessment.
  • The most common type of screening or assessment to be adopted by respondents in the near future will be high-level qualifications screening and skills assessments.

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. 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.
  • This survey 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 is being deployed.
  • The data from this survey will confirm my speculation that, while many companies are using online screening and assessment, few are collecting the metrics needed to help them understand the true value it is providing. This is a problem that must be addressed and I hope that verifying its existence will help to serve as a wake up call.

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. I’m interested in collecting information from anyone who is involved in the staffing process for their organization. This includes recruiters, hiring managers, staffing and HR executives, consultants, etc. I welcome participants from companies of all locations, sizes and industries. I’m not able to use information from individual vendors of screening and assessment tools or persons who may consult to multiple organizations. Just click “take the survey” and you will 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 on to anyone whom you feel might be interested in participating. If you have any questions, just contact me at info@rocket-hire.com. The results of the survey will be featured in an upcoming article that ERE will publish sometime in early 2005. I look forward to sharing the 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 ERE.net, 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.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drcharleshandler






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