Pre-employment testing: a selection of popular tests

Many companies use graphology (handwriting analysis) when hiring. But graphology hasn’t been proven to predict job performance any more than crystal balls or star signs. So long as companies don’t rely in pseudoscience, pre-employment testing can help them make better hiring decisions.
Of course, you should use pre-employment screening with caution. A well-developed test can shed ample light on candidate fit and suitability. But the wrong test can hurt candidate experience and impede your decision-making.
Here are seven common pre-employment tests that can help you make better hiring decisions:

pre-employment screening

Why Good Candidates Fail: Beware the 90 Percent Job Fit ?

Looking at the 80 or 90 percent fit without looking at what triggered the 10 to 20 percent miss can be a grave error.  How many high potentials have you hired who just can’t keep their mouth shut?  Or have a temper that is tolerated because they excel at what they do … until one day they flip out at a customer or co-worker? Or they tend to juggle so many balls that eventually they drown in missed deadlines and overpromises? Or the scope of work and pace of change catches up to them and you find them looking like a deer in your headlights?

Everyone has an Achilles heel. No one is a perfect match. Circumstances change. Coworkers and team members change. Competitors change. We all reach a point that takes us out of or beyond our comfort zone and natural talent. What was once a perfect match becomes a bit imperfect. Job fit scores tell us how likely it is that the job applicant will succeed when compared to other employees in similar roles. The not-such-a-good-fit component — the gap between the score and 100 percent match — reveals why they might not work out. Most everyone ignores the gap, however small it is. And that’s a big mistake.

A 90 percent fit or “recommended for hire” is nothing to sneeze at. But ignoring what might trip up the candidate in a new role, in a new environment, or how he manages more responsibilities may be short sighted.

When reading the results of pre-employment tests, R-E-A-D the report or at least the executive summary. Managers and recruiters must look beyond the score. Seek out outlying traits, styles, values, and skills that might eventually raise their ugly head. Not only is this a good hiring practice, but it opens up opportunities for the high-potential candidate to recognize potential performance hiccups in advance and develop the skills and ability to mask or overcome them.

Assuming a candidate passes through the resume check, recruiter’s screen, a face-to-face interview, and an employee test, it is reasonable to expect that the candidate has some potential. (If not, your screening process and recruiters skills may need serious help!)  Through my research and reviewing thousands of employee test results with clients, it is common to see final candidates with job fit scores of 80 percent or higher. To get more information about our Pre-employment test, contact us for a free consultation.


Job knowledge tests

Job knowledge tests measure a candidate’s technical or theoretical expertise in a particular field. For example, an accountant may be asked about basic accounting principles. These kinds of tests are most useful for jobs that require specialized knowledge or high levels of expertise


Integrity tests

The story of pre-employment testing began with integrity tests. They can help companies avoid hiring dishonest, unreliable or undisciplined people. Overt integrity tests ask direct questions about integrity and ethics. Covert tests assess personality traits connected with integrity, like conscientiousness.


Cognitive ability tests

Cognitive ability tests measure a candidate’s general mental capacity which is strongly correlated to job performance. These kinds of tests are much more accurate predictors of job performance than interviews or experience. Workable uses a General Aptitude Test (GAT) which measures logical, verbal and numerical reasoning.


Personality tests

Personality assessments can offer insight into candidates’ cultural fit and whether their personality can translate into job success. Personality traits have been shown to correlate to job performance in different roles. For example, salespeople who score high on extraversion and assertiveness tend to do better. The Big five model is popular. Motivation tests are also personality assessment tests, used more frequently by career guidance counsellors in schools.


Skills assessment tests

Skills assessments don’t focus on knowledge or abstract personality traits. They measure actual skills, either soft skills (e.g. attention to detail) or hard skills (e.g. computer literacy). For example, a secretarial candidate may take a typing test to show how fast and accurately they can type. Other examples include data checking tests, leaderships tests, presentations or writing assignments.