What is Pre-employment Testing?

Learn everything you need to know about pre-employment testing with our comprehensive guide. From aptitude tests to background checks, unlock the secrets of successful hiring and find the perfect fit for your team.

As a hiring manager or HR professional, you know just how difficult it can be to find the right candidates for your team. The hiring process can be long and tedious, and even after you've narrowed down your pool of applicants, it can be tough to determine which ones are truly the best fit.

That's where pre-employment testing comes in. By using these assessments, you can get a more accurate picture of a candidate's skills, personality, and potential, allowing you to make smarter, more informed hiring decisions.

In this ultimate guide to pre-employment testing, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to start using this powerful tool effectively and efficiently. Whether you're new to pre-employment testing or simply looking to up your game, this guide has everything you need to unlock the hiring code and find your next star employee.

”The secret to my success is that we’ve gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world” — Steve Jobs

Defining Pre-employment Testing

Pre-employment testing has long been a topic shrouded in controversy. Is it the best way to select the right candidates?

They certainly aim to test the necessary aptitudes and assessments needed to succeed in a particular job, but is that enough?

How well do assessments actually measure a person's readiness for their job, beyond what would be reflected on their resume?

It seems as though more than ever, employers will want to err on the side of caution when developing assessments and really ensure that they are getting the best candidates for their teams.

By now, you definitely know what pre-employment testing is and what it entails, but for information's sake,

Defining pre-employment testing in layman’s language,

Pre-employment testing is a process used by employers to assess job candidates before they are hired. It typically involves various assessments and evaluations, such as aptitude tests, personality tests, and physical exams.

The goal is to help employers make informed hiring decisions and ensure that the candidate has the right skills, knowledge, and character traits for the job. Pre-employment testing can vary depending on the company and the position, but the ultimate aim is to find the best possible fit for the role.

What Makes Pre-Employment Testing a Vital Component of the Hiring Process?

The search for the perfect employee can be a long and expensive process. Employers shell out an average of $4000, plus 24 days to fill one position - that's nearly 1000 cups of coffee,! But after all the investment and hard work, what if your shiny new hire isn't quite as great as they seemed? Wouldn’t that be heartbreaking?

When it comes to hiring, there's a lot of pressure on hiring managers to find the right candidate as quickly and efficiently as possible. Sure, you can set up interviews and review resumes, but all of that takes time and effort.

Avoid the recruitment nightmare! Pre-employment testing is your ticket to finding amazing employees without all the fuss.

That’s why pre-employment testing has become such an invaluable tool for effective recruitment—it allows employers to gain valuable insights into a potential candidate without having to go through too much hassle or deep research. In this section, we'll explore exactly why pre-employment tests are so important when considering who will be joining your team in the near future!

1. Reduced Turnover

The Aberdeen Group reported a whopping 39% decrease in turnover rate in a survey where they vetted companies who are using pre-employment testing.

A turnover rate is the percentage of employees who have left the company in a certain period of time.

Reducing employee turnover is a significant concern for employers, who seek ways to retain top talent and minimize costs associated with recruitment and training. The most effective strategy for reducing turnover is to identify and hire individuals who are a good match for the job and the organization.

Pre-employment assessments play a crucial role in this regard by helping employers make informed hiring decisions and identify candidates who are a good fit for the job and the company culture.

2. Objective Evaluation

Imagine you are an employer trying to fill a position, and you have several candidates who all have similar resumes and experiences. How do you determine which candidate will be the best fit for the job?

This is where pre-employment testing comes in. By using objective, standardized assessments, you can gain a deeper understanding of each candidate's unique skills and traits, and compare them fairly and objectively.

This can help you make more informed hiring decisions, leading to a stronger, more engaged workforce and ultimately, increased success for your business. Objective evaluation can also help to reduce the risk of hiring based on unconscious bias and ensure that your hiring practices are fair and compliant with employment laws and regulations.

3. Better Hiring Decisions

A survey from Checkster showed that up to 78% of candidates lie on their resumes and surprisingly, 66% of hiring managers don’t even care.

With such heaps of candidates lying and hiring managers not noticing, the number of mishires is bound to increase. Pre-employment testing can be a savior here.

In today's job market, companies often receive a high volume of applications for every available position, making it difficult to identify the most qualified candidate. Pre-employment screening assessments provide a scalable and evidence-based solution for identifying the best-fit candidates and minimizing the risk of making a bad hiring decision.

Objective and scientifically validated pre-employment tests are the gold standard for evaluating the skills of job candidates, providing a standardized and fair method for measuring competencies across a large pool of applicants.

By using these assessments, companies can more effectively evaluate the skills and qualifications of candidates, and make informed decisions about who is the best match for the role. This can lead to a more productive, engaged, and successful workforce, and help ensure long-term business success.

Exploring the Various Categories of Pre-Employment Testing

While a first-glance application review and letter of introduction are great starting points for identifying an ideal fit for your organization, it’s important to dive deeper into their qualifications by taking advantage of some high-tech tools.

Pre-employment testing is one such tool that organizations use to gain an in-depth perspective on job applicants before bringing them aboard. In this section, we’ll talk about the various categories of pre-employment testing so you can better understand how they can benefit your interviewing process.

1. Cognitive Ability Tests

Cognitive ability tests are a type of pre-employment testing used to evaluate a candidate's mental abilities and problem-solving skills. These tests typically assess a candidate's verbal and numerical reasoning, spatial awareness, and memory capacity. They are often used to determine a candidate's potential to learn, make decisions, and solve complex problems.

Cognitive ability tests can be administered in various formats, including online assessments, standardized exams, or in-person interviews. While these tests are not foolproof, they can be an effective tool for predicting job performance and identifying top talent.

2. Skills-Based Assessments

Skill tests are a type of pre-employment testing used to assess a candidate's technical or job-specific skills. These tests evaluate a candidate's ability to perform tasks and solve problems related to the job. Skill tests can take many forms, such as coding exercises, writing samples, or practical demonstrations.

They are often used in industries where specific technical skills are required, such as IT, healthcare, or engineering. Skill tests can help employers to identify candidates who possess the necessary skills and competencies required to perform the job at a high level.

At HireQuotient, we provide an assessment library of 300+ assessments falling under different categories. Browse through our library to begin your journey of pre-employment testing.

3. Situational Judgment Tests

Situational judgment tests (SJTs) are a type of pre-employment testing that evaluate how well a candidate can handle real-life job scenarios. SJTs present candidates with job-related situations and ask them to choose from a set of possible responses. The responses are scored based on how effective they would be in addressing the situation.

SJTs are often used to assess a candidate's problem-solving ability, critical thinking skills, and decision-making capabilities. They are popular in customer service, healthcare, and management roles where employees must make quick and effective decisions.

You can also go through our expert-curated Situational Judgment tests to make your recruitment hassle-free.

4. Personality Tests

Personality tests are a type of pre-employment testing that evaluate a candidate's personality traits, values, and behaviors. These tests aim to identify how a candidate is likely to behave in a work environment, interact with colleagues and handle stress.

There are several types of personality tests, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Big Five Personality Traits, and the Hogan Personality Inventory. Personality tests are often used to assess cultural fit and job suitability, identify potential strengths and weaknesses, and improve team dynamics.

5. Physical Ability Tests

Physical ability tests are a type of pre-employment testing that evaluate a candidate's physical capabilities and fitness for a job. These tests are often used in physically demanding roles, such as construction, manufacturing, or emergency services. Physical ability tests can assess a candidate's strength, endurance, coordination, and flexibility.

They can take many forms, including lifting weights, climbing, or running. Physical ability tests help employers identify candidates who have the physical capabilities to perform essential job functions and prevent workplace injuries.

6. Emotional Intelligence Tests

Emotional intelligence tests are a type of pre-employment testing that evaluates a candidate's ability to recognize, understand and manage emotions effectively. Emotional intelligence tests are designed to assess a candidate's social and emotional competencies and how they may apply them in a work environment.

These tests can measure attributes such as empathy, self-awareness, social skills, and emotional regulation. Emotional intelligence tests can be useful in roles where employees must work collaboratively, manage conflict, and provide customer service. They can help employers identify candidates who have the interpersonal skills necessary to succeed in a role and improve team dynamics.

According to the Harvard Business Review, high performers are distinguished from their peers who possess similar technical and professional skills by nearly 90 percent based on their emotional intelligence. And for this reason, up to 75% of recruiters prefer emotional quotient over intelligence quotient.

7. Integrity Tests

Integrity tests are a type of pre-employment testing used to assess a candidate's honesty, reliability, and trustworthiness. These tests aim to identify candidates who may engage in counterproductive or unethical behavior in the workplace, such as stealing, fraud, or harassment.

Integrity tests can take many forms, including self-reported questionnaires, personality assessments, or situational judgment tests. They are often used in roles that require high levels of security or ethical standards, such as law enforcement, finance, or healthcare.

8. Background Checks

Background checks are a type of pre-employment screening that involves verifying a candidate's past education, employment, criminal records, and other personal information. Background checks aim to confirm that the information provided by the candidate is accurate and to identify any potential red flags or concerns that may impact their suitability for a role.

Benefits of Incorporating Pre-Employment Testing in Your Hiring Process

As the business landscape continues to evolve, so do the hiring practices of organizations. Hiring the right candidate for a role is essential for any organization to succeed.

Pre-employment testing is becoming an increasingly popular tool for employers to evaluate a candidate's skills, knowledge, and suitability for a role. Pre-employment testing offers numerous benefits to organizations, from improving the quality of hires to reducing employee turnover and increasing productivity.

Let us explore the benefits of infusing pre-employment testing in your organization.

1. A pre-employment test can help identify the best candidates for a job

Employers who are looking for the best of the best need look no further than implementing a pre-employment test. This valuable tool helps employers identify the most qualified candidates for any particular job.

By assessing a candidate's skill set and qualifications, an employer has a solid foundation on which to make their selection. Furthermore, the results from such tests can provide useful information on areas that could benefit from improvement or into which additional resources should be allocated.

Ultimately, any employer looking to ensure they select the most suitable candidate should strongly consider using a pre-employment test.

Related Read: How to increase the quality of hire?

2. Pre-employment testing can save you time and money in the long run

Pre-employment testing can be an invaluable tool for any business. Not only does it help weed out unqualified candidates, but it also saves time and money in the long run by reducing costly hiring mistakes. The tests provide employers with a comprehensive look at job applicants' skills, experience, and qualifications to ensure they have the right people for the right positions.

Additionally, pre-employment tests are incredibly cost-effective solutions that can reduce turnover rates, reduce onboarding time and optimize overall productivity. By investing in pre-employment testing upfront, businesses not only save money but also set themselves up for success with a strong group of qualified and capable employees on their team.

Read: Cost to Hire

3. Pre-employment testing can create a positive candidate experience

Employers who utilize pre-employment testing to assess a candidate's skills and expertise can create a positive experience for the individual by providing them with an opportunity to showcase their unique talents.

By clearly conveying expectations upfront, employers set the stage for a successful interview process as they are able to swiftly identify the best-fit candidates while increasing efficiencies at the same time.

Pre-employment testing provides employers with insight into how well an individual can do the job and implies that an employer is genuinely interested in finding the right person for the position.

Furthermore, it offers candidates a glimpse of how their duties may change over time and allows them to better gauge the company’s working environment and culture beforehand. All of these elements combined create a rewarding and satisfying recruiting experience.

4. Pre-employment tests can improve workplace safety

Pre-employment tests can play a crucial role in improving workplace safety. They provide employers with an objective and fair way to ensure that new hires have the necessary qualifications and skills for the job.

It is particularly important for those jobs that require regular interaction with colleagues and customers, as it helps ensure that only candidates who pose no risk to other employees or visitors are hired.

Furthermore, pre-employment tests offer employers a means of reducing their liability in the case of any accidents caused by employees hired despite lacking some necessary qualifications due to human error during hiring. Overall, these tests boost workplace safety by providing employers with comprehensive data on prospective employees’ qualifications and background check results.

5. Pre-employment tests give you an opportunity to see how potential employees think and work under pressure

Pre-employment tests offer job seekers and employers alike a unique chance to better understand one another before entering into any sort of agreement together. Used regularly by leading companies, they allow organizations to analyze an individual’s logic, attention to detail, and capacity for problem-solving.

Moreover, they are an ideal way to challenge prospective employees in a safe environment and accurately measure their abilities under pressure. As such, pre-employment tests play an important role in helping you assess the skills of your potential employees while making sure everyone involved finds the best possible candidate for the role.

Drawbacks to Consider When Using Pre-Employment Testing in Your Hiring Process

If you're considering using pre-employment testing as part of your hiring process, there are a few potential drawbacks to keep in mind. While these tests can provide valuable insights into a candidate's skills and abilities, they also have the potential to create some biases and distort the hiring process.

1. The potential for discrimination in the hiring process

Pre-employment testing has been around for some time and is often used for job applicants to show what knowledge, skills, and abilities they possess. Despite its advantages, pre-employment testing can lead to discrimination.

For example, in some cases, employers may leverage such tests to rule out candidates based on their unchangeable characteristics such as gender or race rather than their abilities.

Such practices are problematic because they deprive qualified people of the ability to demonstrate their potential during an interview. Discriminatory tactics run counter to our core values of fairness and justice and should therefore be tackled proactively in order to promote greater equality in the workplace.

2. The cost of administering pre-employment tests

Yes, as surprising as it may sound, administering pre-employment tests can be costly for employers. Depending on the type of test and the provider, costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per candidate. Additionally, developing and validating customized tests can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

Employers may also need to invest in specialized software or third-party services to manage and score the tests. While the expense of pre-employment testing may be justifiable for certain roles or industries, it's important to weigh the cost against the potential benefits before deciding to implement such tests in your hiring process.

3. Pre-employment tests are time taking

Pre-employment tests can be time-consuming for both employers and candidates. Depending on the type of test, candidates may need to spend several hours completing assessments, which can be a significant time commitment.

Employers also need to factor in the time it takes to develop and administer the tests, as well as the time required to analyze and interpret the results. This can add significant delays to the hiring process and potentially result in the loss of qualified candidates who are unwilling or unable to devote the time necessary to complete the testing process.

Employers should consider the impact of pre-employment testing on the overall hiring timeline and assess whether it is a feasible and effective use of time for their organization.

4. The potential for cheating on pre-employment tests

The potential for cheating on pre-employment tests is a significant drawback to consider. Candidates may be tempted to cheat on the test in order to achieve a better score and increase their chances of being hired. Cheating can take various forms, such as having someone else take the test on their behalf, searching for answers online, or collaborating with others to complete the test.

This can compromise the accuracy and validity of the test results and make it difficult for employers to make informed hiring decisions. To mitigate the risk of cheating, employers can use measures such as proctoring, randomized questions, or time limits to deter candidates from cheating.

However, these measures can add to the cost and complexity of the testing process. Employers should weigh the benefits of pre-employment testing against the risk of cheating and consider alternative methods for evaluating candidates if cheating is a significant concern.

Optimizing Your Hiring Strategy: Effective Practices for Utilizing Pre-Employment Testing

1. Know when to Implement Pre-employment Testing in your Hiring Process

After preparing a pre-employment test, it's important to determine the stage of the hiring process at which to administer it. Testing candidates at an early stage can efficiently gather objective data before making significant hiring decisions. According to a study, 40% of respondents conducted testing after the initial resume screening, although this can vary between companies.

For large volumes of candidates, pre-employment testing may even be integrated into the application process. While some companies may be hesitant to test early on in the hiring process, often due to software charges on a per-test basis, there are benefits to this approach.

Testing at an early stage allows recruiters to quickly shortlist candidates that meet maximum requirements, streamlining the interview process.

2. Select the Software only after Full Scrutiny

To initiate pre-employment testing at your organization, conducting research on the available vendors is crucial. Several vendors offer diverse pre-employment testing formats and types. It is essential to explore and evaluate these options before finalizing any vendor.

Get answers to questions such as:

  • Are the tests customizable?
  • What types of pre-employment tests does the software provide?
  • What is the customer service availability?
  • How is the software doing in the market?

3. Determine the Combination of Tests to Use for Specific Job Roles

The most effective approach to pre-employment testing is to use a combination of assessment tests, which should be selected based on the requirements of the role you are recruiting for.

Let’s say, you want to conduct pre-employment testing for a marketing manager role. After defining the specifics of the position, the next step is to determine the most suitable tests to identify the ideal candidates. The selected tests should effectively assess the candidate's skills, knowledge, and experience, in accordance with the requirements of a senior-level role.

A good mix of tests for the marketing manager role could be a skills assessment, a cognitive ability test, and a personality test. You can create similar combinations of tests for different job roles to vet your candidate effectively.

To What Extent Should You Rely on Pre-employment Testing in Your Hiring Decisions?

While pre-employment assessments can provide valuable insights into a candidate's abilities, knowledge, and potential fit for a role, they should not be the sole factor in making a hiring decision. Other criteria, such as experience, education, and personal qualities, should also be considered.

It is essential to use assessments as part of a comprehensive hiring process that includes multiple selection methods and tools. Ultimately, the goal is to make an informed decision based on a range of factors, rather than relying solely on pre-employment assessments.

Pre-employment tests are legal, but it is crucial to ensure that they comply with anti-discrimination laws and regulations. The tests must be fair and unbiased, and they should not discriminate against candidates based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, age, or disability.

Additionally, it is essential to obtain the candidate's informed consent and follow relevant data privacy laws when administering pre-employment tests. As long as pre-employment tests are conducted in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, they can be a useful tool for employers to make informed hiring decisions.

7 Effective Tips to conduct seamless pre-employment testing

  • Clearly define the skills and qualities you're testing for, and make sure they align with the requirements of the job.

  • Choose a test that is valid and reliable, and has been proven to accurately measure the skills and traits you're looking for.

  • Ensure the test is fair and unbiased and that it does not discriminate against any candidate based on race, gender, or other protected characteristics.

  • Administer the test consistently to all candidates, and follow the same procedures and protocols for each candidate to ensure fairness.

  • Be transparent with candidates about the testing process and its purpose, and provide them with any necessary instructions or support.

  • Analyze the test results in combination with other selection criteria, such as resumes and interviews, to make informed hiring decisions.

  • Continuously evaluate and refine your pre-employment testing process to ensure it remains effective and unbiased over time.

How can HireQuotient Help?

HireQuotient is a one-stop shop for all your talent sourcing and pre-employment testing needs. With our wide range of assessment library that is curated by experts, you get assessments that are 100% effective and accurate.

You can also leverage our free tools such as JD generator and ROI calculator to smoothen your recruitment process.

What are you waiting for? Book a demo with us today.