What is Benchmarking?

Definition of Benchmarking:

Benchmarking as a general process involves establishing a standard of comparison and then evaluating or measuring something else against that standard.

What does Benchmarking mean in hiring?

In the context of pre-employment testing, benchmarking most commonly refers to establishing certain score ranges or profiles as "benchmarks" to compare against the test scores of applicants.

By benchmarking, you give yourself a frame of reference that can help you identify candidates whose performance is comparable to the top performers who are already on your team. These benchmarks can also ground your candidate evaluations in reality and reduce unnecessary turnover (both voluntary and involuntary).  

Why is Benchmarking important for evaluating candidates?

Let’s consider an example. If a company hiring computer engineers decides to administer an aptitude test to all of its applicants, setting benchmarks will allow the company to make more informed decisions for establishing cutoff scores and filtering out unqualified candidates.

How are hiring benchmarks created?

Benchmarks for testing can be established in a variety of ways. A company can conduct a local validity study internally by testing its current employees in a particular position to determine what score standards already exist within the company. This method also helps to determine which data points provided by tests are most predictive of performance at a specific organization.

But for companies that don’t already have enough employees in the position they are hiring for, there are alternatives. Testing companies can provide job-specific score ranges based on much more expansive data sets. Criteria references the ONET database and has score ranges and test suggestions based on either position or industry that employers can reference to make informed hiring decisions.