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Pre-Employment Testing In 2022: The Ultimate Guide

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Companies that use pre-employment tests are 36% more satisfied with their final hiring decision. Pre-employment assessment tests are becoming increasingly common.

They seek the natural meeting point between companies and people looking for jobs. No employee or company wants to go through the hiring process only to realize that they aren’t the best fit for one another.

Pre-employment tests save you the trouble by matching people and organizations that will be the perfect fit for one another.

We have put together the complete guide to acing the pre-employment testing process and hiring the best for your company.

Pre-Employment Testing in 2022: the ultimate guide

Pre-employment assessments refer to the process of collecting relevant information about job applicants and matching it with their hands-on skills to make informed hiring decisions. They test out how the employees will perform the job before hiring.

In simple words, the pre-employment tests are auditions for jobs that test a candidate’s skills in relation to the role the company needs them to perform. They are a more effective measure than resume screening.

Resumes are an assessment of the candidate as a whole, while pre-employment tests are an assessment of them pertaining to performing a specific role. Moreover, they save both the employees and employees the time and resources that would come with a mismatch.

Without further ado, let’s walk through the pre-employment testing guide to help you hire better.

1. The need for pre-employment testing

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The cost of each bad hire is estimated to be over $14,000 on average.

Pre-employment testing is an effective process that brings down the cost per hire of a company. Cost per hire is an important metric that calculates the resources spent on acquiring every new employee.

Here is how to calculate cost per hire. The goal of conducting pre-employment tests is to reduce hiring costs per every new hire. It standardizes the process and weeds out unsuitable employees to save their time as well.

All employees can be compared on the same scale, something that is not possible with resume screening. You can also catch employees that misrepresent themselves on their resumes and job applications.

2. Pre-employment testing as the part of the screening process

As a company, you need to decide when is the best time to test candidates. Usually, a candidate is tested after they have been recruited by the company. They may be tested on the job in a general sense or in a definite probation period.

Pre-employment testing puts the test before or during the recruitment process to allow you to test the candidate’s skills before they are hired. When you do it depends on your needs and circumstances.

The higher the volume of applicants the later you should put the pre-employment test in the process. Testing every single applicant at the beginning of the process will lead to a wastage of resources.

3. Types of pre-employment tests

Over 70% of employees perform some sort of skill testing of their employees, whether it is through video solutions, written tests, or group discussions. Pre-employment testing can be classified into seven broad categories:

  • Personality tests — A personality test is not meant to measure job performance, but rather the characteristics exhibited by the individual in general. It notes their behavior and if they will be a good fit in the company culture.
  • You want to hire people who thrive in the workplace rather than struggle to keep up. This isn’t something you can necessarily assess from the resume. A personality test helps you measure attributes like general nature, communication skills, ambition, and work ethic.
  • Language proficiency tests — A rather simple test on its own, a language test is meant to measure the proficiency of the candidate in a specific language. It is based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  • The framework originated in Europe but is now used worldwide. These tests are custom-made for candidate-to-candidate, based on the languages they need to be assessed for.
  • Cognitive ability (aptitude) tests — A cognitive ability test measures the thinking capabilities of a candidate, such as numerical reasoning, problem-solving, attention to detail, and critical thinking.
  • They are quite standard in nature and their goal is to assess how the candidate will deal with challenges while working.
  • Judgment tests — These are subjective tests that measure the situational judgment of a candidate by giving them specific situations to respond to.
  • Two common examples of situational judgment tests are business ethics & compliance and negotiation test that evaluate the candidate’s awareness and knowledge of the specific business settings.
  • Job knowledge tests — A job knowledge test assesses a candidate’s theoretical knowledge of their job field. The questions are meant to test the role-specific skills and see if the candidate can get the job done.
  • Examples include customer service, bookkeeping, and data entry. A major benefit of a job test is that it identifies candidates who have work experience.
  • Technological tests — A technical test measures the technical skills of a candidate. It was originally used for job roles that involved heavy use of technology.
  • However, the shift in the working landscape today has made this test quite a staple in pre-employment tests. Candidates can be asked to prove their proficiency with programming and different software.
  • Physical ability tests — Job roles that require frequent physical activity require physical tests to see whether the candidate is physically fit to perform tasks for prolonged periods of time.

These tests are rather essential to hiring decisions as hiring the wrong candidate can often be of harm to both the candidate and the people around them.

4. Choosing the right test

The tests you choose for pre-employment screening depend on your hiring needs. If you are hiring for a low or standard position, say data entry, you need only the basic tests such as the skill and language tests.

If you are hiring for a high or creative position, you may need to use a more diverse set of tests, such as personality, aptitude, and judgment. The tests will also have to be more tailored to test the employees correctly.

As explained above, if the volume of the applicants is high, put the screening tests later in the hiring process to save time and resources. You can also create tires of tests instead of springing all the tests at once on the candidate.

5. Using the results

The results of the pre-employment tests will help you eliminate unsuitable candidates. They will also help you manage and negotiate with the chosen candidates better. For example, in the interview you can simply cut to the chase, so to speak.

Use the test results as the base to negotiate with the candidates in a direct manner. Highlight where they excel as well as the areas that need work on. You can also use the results to create a targeted training plan for the candidates right away.

6. Mind the limitations of pre-employment testing

While pre-employment tests make hiring easy and cost-effective, it is important to know their limitations and not treat them as a definitive marker for anything. Given below are some aspects of pre-employment tests that you should remember while conducting them:

  • Tests only reveal aspects of a candidate’s personality and skill and not who they are as people. Humans are constantly learning and evolving.
  • A test should not be treated as a metric of an employee’s worth as an individual. It only attempts to quantify their skills in specific aspects.
  • Tests cannot measure everything, such as the willingness to learn a skill they may be lacking in.
  • Tests can often intimidate candidates so make sure your tests are candidate-friendly.
  • Candidates can cheat on tests to achieve the desired score.
  • Tests cannot replace the personal interaction that an interview provides. Both tests and interviews should go hand in hand to assess a candidate.

7. Conducting pre-employment tests efficiently

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Here are some tips and tricks that will help you conduct pre-employment tests efficiently:

  • Choose the vendor of the pre-employment tests wisely. It should be accommodating of your company size, requirements, and should provide robust analysis tools to assess the results of the tests efficiently.
  • Create separate test cycles for separate jobs, so that they are locked and loaded, so to speak, for when a vacancy arises.
  • That being said, always manually monitor the tests to be used for each candidate to make sure each candidate receives a fair opportunity to represent themself.
  • Make sure the tests you create meet the standards set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP). They make sure that no employee discrimination occurs during the recruitment process.
  • Make sure all the tests are conducted under 40 minutes as tests above that timeframe don’t have a good completion rate. The 21-30 minute window has the highest completion rate (80%).


While it takes time and effort to set up a pre-employment testing structure in your company, it eventually helps to reduce the humongous expense of cost per hire in the long run.

They provide an equal opportunity for candidates to prove their skills for a job role and allow you to test them on the same scale.

You can then go on to use the test results to train the chosen candidates better and help them improve both in the scope of the job role they perform and individually.

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