Pre-employment testing: what is it and why is it important?

The idea of implementing a pre-employment testing process may seem like a daunting task for hiring managers.  After all, they...
9 August 2022

The idea of implementing a pre-employment testing process may seem like a daunting task for hiring managers.  After all, they are already tasked with reviewing (lots of) resumes, interviewing candidates, and providing recommendations for new hires. 

However, pre-employment testing can save the hiring manager valuable time when used correctly. Also, it can reduce the chances of hiring the wrong candidate, saving the company’s most important financial resources.

Saving time and money for your company sounds good, huh?

Let’s see how this kind of test can help you with it!

What is pre-employment testing?

Pre-employment testing (also known as pre-employment aptitude tests) are standardized tests that companies can use to screen candidates in their hiring process.

Pre-employment tests come in various formats (including online). They help Hiring Managers learn about their candidates’ skills and capabilities and allow them to make valid, data-driven projections about candidates with the most significant potential to succeed in a new position.

Why is pre-employment testing so important?

As a Hiring Manager or the person in charge of new hires, determining what pre-employment assessments your company needs requires some research and thought. The key is establishing a list of preferred core competencies for your potential hires

For example, a cognitive test is in order if you are looking for someone who can learn new skills quickly. 

what is a pre-employment test

Similarly, you may choose to administer an assessment of a person’s writing skills if that is a primary requirement for the job. Regardless of what pre-employment checks your company needs, experts recommend a total testing time of less than an hour.

Types of pre-employment testing

Depending on your company’s industry, there may be different types of pre-employment testing assessments. For example, the hiring manager will likely want to perform a technical pre-employment aptitude test on the new developer’s software if a company is in the IT sector. 

In any case, other more generic tests are available to all companies, and their use is highly recommended.

Here is a list of some of these types of pre-employment testing tools:

Professional tests or knowledge tests

These tests aim to assess the candidate’s professional knowledge and training for the position they are applying for. Recruiters want to check whether the candidate has the necessary technical knowledge to perform the tasks required for the job. It is common to be asked to complete a practical exercise.

This kind of pre-employment testing can include:

  • Language test: if knowledge of a second language is a prerequisite, in addition to interviewing in this second language, the hiring managers could ask the candidate to write an article or something similar. 
  • Candidates could also be asked to solve some problem or situation related to the tasks they would have to develop.
  • Practical exercise: The process could also include writing a document directly related to the job. 
  • Computer test: If the position is relevant to handling a computer program, candidates could also be asked to do an exercise to demonstrate their knowledge of the program.

Integrity tests

This test is perhaps the most feared by candidates as it is seen as the most intrusive. This test aims to determine how candidates react to specific situations, their interests, expectations, and whether they fit in with the team.

The key to answering this type of test is honesty, as it is effortless to detect inconsistencies.

At this point, the company should remember that they should not be looking for the “perfect” candidate but the one capable of performing the tasks assigned. These tests could be: 

  • Introspective. These are tests with closed questions. They include usually repeated questions posed in different ways to check for contradictions. Here, managers force the candidate to choose between the options presented.
  • Projective. They pose situations with open responses to analyze the ability to propose solutions.

Physical ability tests

A pre-employment physical ability test is a medical examination that employers may require of new hires to ensure that they are physically or mentally (let’s remember mental health) capable of performing a job. It is a common step in the onboarding process for many companies, especially if they want to ensure that the employee is physically capable of performing the job-related responsibilities. 

Depending on the nature of the position (whether it is more physical or requires more skills), the pre-employment physical may be a short or lengthy process.

why is pre-employment testing important

Cognitive ability tests

The objective of the cognitive ability tests is to evaluate the general intellectual abilities of the candidates in areas such as memory, perception, and attention. These tests also evaluate verbal and numerical aptitude, abstract and logical thinking skills, etc. They are also known as psycho-technical tests.

In these tests, the correctness of the execution and the speed are evaluated since they usually have a limited time.

Types of cognitive ability tests:

  • Intelligence test.
  • Aptitude test.
  • Personality test.
  • Projective test.

Pre-employment test online: is it effective?

Now that a high percentage of the selection processes are online and remote, pre-employment tests can also be online. A relatively simple test can be generated through different LMS such as Moodle or Blackboard and then incorporated into one of the stages of your company’s selection process.

For this purpose, SMOWL can be a powerful ally for your company in identifying your candidates and ensuring the security of your online tests. Ask us for information, and let us help you secure this process!


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