What Are The Different Types of Pre-Employment Tests?

Applicant going through a panel interview

What Are The Different Types of Pre-Employment Tests?

Hiring the right person for the job is like finding the diamond in the rough. The tedious screening process requires a meticulous eye and keen observation. If you want to find the perfect person for the job, you’ll have to determine if the candidate’s skills and values match your company’s unique culture.

With hundreds of applicants vying for one job, the search isn’t always easy.

Traditional methods of getting to know candidates — interviews and resumes — often don’t guarantee the best insights. Interviews (especially unstructured ones) are subjective, while resumes can contain misleading statements or lies.  

Fortunately, there is a better way: pre-employment tests.

Pre-Employment Tests Defined

These screening exams provide a more objective and standardized way of gathering information on applicants during the hiring process. Well-validated and professionally developed pre-employment tests give businesses and skill testing companies better insight into the traits and skills of a prospective employee.

Businesses that use pre-employment testing can avoid common hiring-related problems, such as:

  • Spending too much time on hiring
  • Still hiring the wrong people

Pre-employment test address these concerns by drastically reducing the time spent on interviewing candidates and reading resumes, as well as reduce the costs associated with hiring. By providing objective and reliable data, companies can easily predict job performance and reduce the number of bad hires.

Here at Aptitude.ph, we recommend adding pre-employment tests to the hiring process to guarantee a more productive workforce and fewer turnovers. Businesses of all sizes will also get a better grasp of the vast pool of applicants.

What Are The Different Types of Pre-Employment Tests?

Pre-employment tests generally fall into the following categories:

Integrity tests are the foundation of pre-employment testing. These standardized assessments steer employers away from undisciplined or dishonest applicants. Common integrity exams ask direct questions about ethics and integrity. Other tests also assess personality traits linked with integrity, such as conscientiousness. If properly constructed, these tests can be good predictors of an individual’s job performance.

Integrity tests are commonly used:

  • To sort out candidates for positions where employees will be working in customers’ homes (e.g., field service technicians, caregivers, and healthcare aides)
  • To reduce the risk of employee theft
  • To assess the risk of safety violations in manufacturing settings

Background checks are the traditional counterparts of integrity tests. While these checks are helpful, they can be expensive. Background checks only target individuals with previous criminal records. Integrity tests focus more on weeding out people with unproductive behaviors.

One of the few concerns surrounding this pre-employment test is the reliability of the candidates’ answers. Potential applicants can always fake their responses. How likely is a candidate to answer yes if an employer asks them if they have ever stolen anything? If they have, they’d be honest enough to tell the truth. For their part, employers should consider the fact that people can change.

Skill tests don’t focus on a candidate’s knowledge or personality. This assessment exam measures actual skills — both hard skills (e.g., computer programming, accounting, and writing) and soft skills (e.g., time management, attention to detail, and creative problem solving).

Skill tests measure the skills candidates have learned through their education and career histories. These tests reflect acquired knowledge — aka what an applicant already knows based on their previous experience.   

General skills tests determine a candidate’s readiness in taking the job. These tests measure their numeracy and literacy levels to predict an applicant’s job performance (particularly for entry-level positions). Other skill tests, however, measure more specific acquired skills such as software application knowledge or typing speed. These “micro-skills” tests are designed to measure a candidate’s capacity to handle all of their future responsibilities, not to predict their long-term job performance.

Skills tests can be time-consuming. Job applicants must give presentations or submit their written work. HR managers need more time to evaluate the results carefully. Make the most of your time by using the skills test during the final stages of your hiring process or when you have a smaller applicant pool.

Personality tests give you an idea on whether a candidate will suit the company’s culture or if their personality will translate into job success. For example, extroverted candidates who practice assertiveness will make great additions to your sales team.

The “Five Factor Model” (also known as the “Big Five”) is the most prominent personality framework HR personnel use to explore an individual’s personality. Employers can see how an applicant stacks up on five major dimensions of personality: agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness, neuroticism, and extraversion.

The Big Five traits are crucial in helping employers finding candidates perfect for the job. For example, conscientiousness measures how organized, reliable, and persistent an individual is. Candidates with low scores in conscientiousness may be unreliable and more impulsive. Determining an applicant’s level in this personality trait can moderately predict their success in jobs that value reliability more than creativity.

Similar to the other pre-employment tests, personality tests also have limitations. Some candidates tend to answer based on what they think a potential employer would want to hear. As a result, they misrepresent themselves. Prevent misrepresentations by choosing tests designed to catch them.

Some applicants might also find personality tests invasive, which could negatively impact their experience.

Apart from the initial employment tests mentioned above, employers and HR personnel may also learn more about the candidate with the following assessments:

  • Job knowledge test. This assessment measures an applicant’s theoretical or technical knowledge in a particular field. For example, HR personnel can ask a potential nurse about the basic first aid techniques.
  • Emotional intelligence test. Emotional intelligence (EI) tests determine how candidates understand their emotions and how well they build relationships with others. Emotional abilities are essential in jobs that require leadership and interpersonal relationships.
  • Physical ability test. This test measures stamina and strength, which are critical for professions like first responders. Also, physical ability tests can reduce the likelihood of workplace accidents, which means fewer compensation claims. Candidates are unable to fake the results of this test.
  • Cognitive testing. Cognitive tests measure an applicant’s memory, reasoning, perceptual accuracy and speed, and skills in reading comprehension and arithmetic.

Testing Simplifies the Hiring Process

Pre-employment tests doesn’t just streamline the hiring process; it also strengthens the business by increasing the likelihood of employing productive individuals. Pre-employment testing also helps companies achieve their desired business outcomes, such as increased sales, lower turnover, and higher customer satisfaction.

The most significant benefits businesses can experience by implementing effective pre-employment test solutions include:

  • Increased productivity. Tests can determine the extent to which an applicant has the talent, knowledge, and determination to perform well. If a candidate perfectly fits the job, they will certainly excel. When they excel, so will the company.
  • Better employee retention. Hiring the right candidate is just as important as reducing turnover and retaining talent. Pre-employment testing enables businesses to screen applicants more efficiently, particularly in their personality and whether they will stay in a role for long.
  • More efficient hiring process. Time is of the essence. You can’t get back every minute you spend sifting through resumes, interviewing, or phone screening. Pre-employment tests enable you to determine the applicants you wish to spend time first.
  • Increase legal defensibility. The use of pre-employment tests requires following hiring selection guidelines set by the government. These prove that all tests and assessments are legal to use as long as they are job-related. Pre-employment tests also provide businesses with objective predictors of job success. It allows employers to be legally equipped in case an applicant challenges the legality of the assessment.

Potential Issues with Pre-Employment Tests

While pre-testing guarantees plenty of benefits in the employee selection process, there are still challenges along the way.

Validity is the first issue, whether or not an assessment can accurately measure the specific criteria it’s supposed to measure, as well as its accuracy in predicting future performance. HR personnel and employers should be able to prove that candidates who did well on the test will do well on their job.

Reliability is another concern. For a test to be reliable, the candidate’s test results should be the same every time they undergo an assessment. If an applicant takes the test one day and scores high, then they take the same test a week later and receive lower scored, the test is not reliable.

To ensure employment tests deliver desired results, consider the following:

  • Choose tests that are reliable and valid
  • Learn more about potential pre-employment tests before you purchase them from other companies
  • Refrain from adding questions that are too personal or offensive
  • Don’t rely solely on the test results to determine if an employee is a perfect fit for the company

A pre-employment test is necessary to help you hire the best ASAP. But if you’re still struggling with finding the right test, worry not. Aptitude is at your service.

We’ll help you find the diamond in the rough by identifying candidates who possess values that match your company’s unique culture.

Streamline your hiring process with us today.

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