Pre-Employment Test: What’s In It for You?

Have you applied for a job and been asked to take a pre-employment test? Did you ever question why you have to undergo such process? What’s In It for You and the company you wish to work with?

Pre-employment tests are an objective and standardized way of collecting relevant and reliable job-related information on applicants during the selection phase. They are used to filter job candidates and can include assessment of cognitive abilities, personality, knowledge, work skills, language and numerical proficiencies, physical and motor abilities, emotional intelligence and even integrity. 

There are several types of pre-employment tests that fall into three (3) general categories:

  1. Aptitude Tests. They measure an applicant’s general intelligence or brainpower. According to LinkedIn study, the two most significant abilities that companies seek are problem-solving and the ability to learn new concepts. These are difficult to assess based solely on interviews and CV’s, and this is where aptitude tests can be of great value. Aptitude tests include abstract/logical, verbal, numerical and mechanical reasoning abilities. Based on research, aptitude tests are the single most accurate predictor of job performance.
  1. Personality Tests. They are designed to measure the behavioral traits such as stress tolerance, sociability, conscientiousness, etc., that are associated with successful performance of a certain role. Unlike with aptitude tests, there is no right or wrong answer on personality tests, but in specific jobs certain traits are known to predict “job fit”. They help employers determine if you would be happy and comfortable in a job. Measuring these behavioral characteristics could likewise help employers predict a good match between your personality and the company culture. When taking a personality test, be sure you don’t fake it or you would end up looking for a job endlessly!
  1. Skills Tests. They measure job-related competencies and let employers figure out what you already know. Some tests check your basic math, verbal and communication skills, while others confirm that you know how to use a computer, how well you know a particular Microsoft Office program, or how good you are in presenting a certain product. I remember taking a typing test to evaluate how fast and accurate I can finish a business correspondence and encode a long list of prices. These skills do not necessarily reflect basic aptitude but instead check on your acquired knowledge through education, training and work experience.

Pre-employment tests offer wide-ranging benefits that include:

  1. Streamlining the Hiring Process.  Pre-employment tests offer the most time-saving value when administered at the onset of the hiring process. Companies can weed out a lot of the “resume spammers” who send out their resumes with minimal thought or effort by giving them said tests early on. These tests can likewise narrow down the number of applicants to select for interview and reduce the overall time spent in other selection activities by being able to discover the right candidates with the greatest potential for success on the job. Moreover, most pre-employment tests can now be administered to candidates online and do not require a face to face meeting, thereby reducing the time and costs associated with the screening process.
  1. Higher Productivity.  Professionally developed and well-validated pre-employment tests can successfully predict employee productivity across a wide range of job types and industries. Tests are among the most accurate tools for predicting performance because they can objectively determine the extent to which a candidate has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform adequately at any given job. As expected, best-fit employees can be productive, provide quality product and service, thereby leading to increased sales and higher customer satisfaction.
  1. Increased Employee Retention and Reduced Turnover Costs.  Pre-employment testing can increase employee retention by ensuring that the newly-hired employees have the right aptitude required for the job along with the appropriate personality to feel comfortable and happy performing their role. These factors may reduce the likelihood of employees being terminated for poor behavior and performance, and the likelihood that employees will resign quickly. Moreover, lower turnover rates can boost employee morale and enhance your company’s reputation, which in turn makes it easier for you to attract and hire better quality candidates. Reducing turnover can also improve your bottom line. Some of the expenses associated with replacing an employee include recruitment, selection and training. These can be minimized by including pre-employment tests in your hiring funnel.

Today, companies are spicing up their hiring process by administering pre-employment tests— both online and offline. While no single factor or selection method can help you spot the most qualified candidate, pre-employment tests can add objective input to making an informed decision faster. More importantly, you will ensure the high quality of your hires.

About the author

Lita Buendia-Aguila
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