Recruitment News

HR Directors Wasting Time and Money by not Using Online Testing, Says SHL

shl-logoHR directors are missing a trick in speeding up and cutting costs of recruitment. So says world leader in workplace assessment, SHL Group.

The company, which has undertaken research with HR directors from across the UK as well as with the general public, found that as few as 18% of HR directors currently use online assessment testing as part of their recruitment process. Despite the huge growth in the use of the Internet, around 43% of HR directors do not administer or deliver any HR functions online. Only 38% use the Internet in any part of the recruitment process.

Managing director of SHL UK, Kevin Kerrigan, said: “HR directors are constantly demanding a seat on the board but until they start to think more strategically about recruitment and show senior executives the effectiveness and cost savings achieved with the use of online assessment tools, they can expect the boardroom door to remain firmly shut.

“The average cost to recruit someone is £4,500*. If HR directors and their staff are not sifting and selecting people online as well as via CV analysis then they are potentially wasting time and money in interviewing inappropriate people without the addition of any scientific, unbiased and balanced tests.”

This is even more important when you consider that the research also revealed that 94% of HR directors think prospective employees will “occasionally” or “often” bend the truth in interviews. The UK population agrees, with more than half (57%) of people thinking it is acceptable to tell a few white lies when chasing a job. The top lie was around skills and qualifications, whilst others either omit essential information or exaggerate their current salary. Astonishingly even one in ten HR directors admit they exaggerated to get a job!

Lying, it seems, is something of a minefield for HR directors with almost half (43%) admitting it is impossible to tell whether candidates are bending the truth in interviews. 74% said they would try to identify those being economical with the truth through questioning whilst two thirds said they rely on intuition and body language!

“With around every second job candidate deliberately misleading the interviewer, HR professionals need to realise they cannot rely on intuition and interviewing alone when recruiting. This research shows that CVs are not to be trusted so is it time to turn the recruitment process on its head and consider alternatives to CVs and interviews alone? It’s time to embrace technology and use it as an enabler in the recruitment process. Take online testing, for example. It not only helps to cut down on the number of people called for interview but it can ensure that those interviewed are likely to be more appropriate for the job,” said Kerrigan.

“Despite the lack of take up, the research shows that most HR directors think online tests provide an accurate reflection of a candidate’s appropriateness for the job. Not surprisingly, they are put off by the possibility of fraud in undertaking the test but this can be overcome with sensible authentication techniques,” he added.

Among the perceived key barriers to online testing, HR directors mentioned the remoteness of the test and the lack of interaction with company personnel. This was an issue for over half (53%) of the HR directors interviewed. HR directors surveyed also listed security/fraud and cost as barriers to using online testing.

“No one would suggest that a candidate should be offered a job based solely on an online test. But this research should also warn against appointing someone based on an interview alone. It’s time that technology is combined with more traditional modes of recruitment to ensure a more professional, unbiased and smarter recruitment process,” said Kerrigan.

Other key results included:

• Half of HR directors placed time saving in selection and sifting candidates as the top benefit of online testing. 38% also said it would improve the likelihood of selecting the right candidate
• 86% of HR directors using online testing believe that it provides an accurate reflection of a candidate’s appropriateness for the job ‘some’ or ‘most’ of the time

“There is a proven link between an organisation’s productivity and its use of psychometric and other assessment tests. HR directors are potentially letting their companies down by failing to invest in online assessment capabilities that would assist them in making the right choice for the job and saving time and money. Any HR professional trying to impress the board could start here and prove that they can add real value to the business.”

The research was undertaken by TickBox in April 2006 and included responses from 1,873 UK adults and 137 HR directors.

• CIPD figure

About SHL Group PLC
SHL is the world-leading provider of psychometric assessment and development solutions. The company supports organisations in the selection, recruitment, promotion, succession planning and development of talented people at all levels and across all sectors. Operating in 40 countries and more than 30 languages, the SHL Group devises innovative approaches to help organisations increase productivity and gain competitive advantage through the more effective use of their human capital. SHL has over 5,500 organisations as clients, including many of the Global and Times Top 1000, and is recognised as the foremost provider of objective assessment products in the world. For more information please visit

For more information please contact:

Phillipa Jose / Caroline Sweeney
Flagship Consulting
Tel: 0207 886 8442 / 8451
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