section one

Bespoke vs. Off-the-Shelf Assessments

Lead consultant at Test Partnership, Ben Schwencke, takes us the difference between Bespoke and Off-the-Shelf Assessments in employee selection.

2:35 What are the main differences between bespoke assessments and pre-built assessments?
section two


Bespoke versus Off-the-shelf assessments.

Now, when using psychometrics in recruitment, you're presented with two options.

  • One: you can use an existing tool, one that is out there and one that is widely used across the industry.
  • Or two: you could get something developed bespoke specific to your organisation maybe tailored to particular roles teams or departments.

Deciding between these two can be tricky and there are relative advantages of one and the other so I'll discuss a little bit about when you would want to use something off-the-shelf and when you would want to use something bespoke. For off-the-shelf testing there's a number of times when this would be a better option than a bespoke assessment.

So when the volumes of candidates are small generally speaking it wouldn't be cost-effective to get something designed bespoke to the organisation it's usually cheaper and therefore more cost effective just to use something that's out there.

Another instance would be when the role requires fairly generic skills, traits, and abilities, for example: sales roles.

Many off-the-shelf personality questionnaires are very easily adapted to sales because it's a large market and lots of the sales professionals are being hired.

As a result, it's quite easy to find an assessment that would be very useful for their particular role.

Bespoke assessments on the other hand are more useful when the volume of candidates is high, particularly if it's a very specific role.

For example, the UK Fire Rescue Service uses bespoke ability tests, ones that have been designed specifically for firefighter recruitment.

All of the questions are very contextually relevant to that role which very much helps with candidate experience.

Now it's cost effective to do that because tens of thousands of prospective firefighters that are being hired every year.

That makes it far more cost-effective to use a bespoke assessment.

The other time it might be useful when the requirements or the profiles of particular roles are very specific or difficult to match with something that is off the shelf for example many companies, particularly large multinationals, have very specific competency or values frameworks; ones that are not easily married with something that is off-the-shelf.

As a result, it may be worth developing something bespoke, targeted to that particular values framework allowing you to align all of your talent management efforts.