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Pre-Employment Tests – Why Employers Should Use Them

Pre-Employment Tests: Why Employers Should Use Them

Pre-Employment tests prove to be a successful standard for adequately screening potential employees in today’s workforce. According to the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures of 1978 issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, any employment requirements set by an employer is considered a “test.”

You can gain valuable information about a candidate’s personality and motivations through interviews. But implementing tests gives you measurable and objective information about an applicant, enabling you to make an educated hiring decision.


We examine the different types of pre-employment tests that get commonly administered today. Through detail-oriented research, we also provide reasons why these additional screening methods will allow your firm to hire quality people.

Different Types of Pre-Employment Tests

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) claims that a business can use one, or a combination, of these seven tests when screening potential candidates:


Cognitive Ability Tests

Tests for cognitive ability measure IQ and intelligence, mathematical skills, verbal ability, spatial perception, or inductive and deductive reasoning. Applicants will be forced to think abstractly, understand applicable concepts, learn from experience, as well as to adapt to new situations. If you are trying to evaluate how well a collection of candidates will perform tasks related to the job, this is a useful option for you to explore.


Physical Ability Tests

Physical ability tests measure strength, endurance, and muscular movement for jobs that require heavy lifting, moving, and other hard labor. Cardiovascular endurance tests can also be a reliable indicator of breathing capacity for climbing stairs or walking long distances. Flexibility and balance get implemented for jobs that require twisting and contorting your body, like mechanic jobs, electrician, or HVAC.


Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests determine a candidate’s ability and efficiency to learn and implement a new skill. This type of examination applies to a wide variety of jobs because of its analysis of logical reasoning and critical thinking. Training and development of a new employee take a lot of time and resources at the onset of starting a new position. Paying close attention to the results here can help you choose a candidate that will understand facts, data, and processes quickly.


Personality Tests

Personality tests analyze emotional stability and adjustment, attitudes, interests, motivation, and interpersonal relations. This examination is a reliable indicator of how well the candidate will fit in with your company culture.

The ability to work effectively with diverse personalities is crucial, and the personality test will clue you into valuable insights involving this. The results from this assessment paint a good picture of what psychologists like to call the Big Five Model. The BFM includes traits like extraversion, openness, agreeableness, neuroticism, and conscientiousness.

Some examples of personality tests include the Caliper Profile, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), the SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire, and the DISC Behavior Inventory.


Polygraph Tests

Polygraphs provide a diagnosis of a candidate’s honesty and self-awareness. Often called the lie-detector test, it analyzes differences in heartbeat and blood pressure, perspiration levels, and breathing patterns. The type of questions ranges from insurance history, drug and alcohol consumption, credit background, and driving record. The Employment Protection act of 1988 prevents employers from requesting or requiring pre-employment polygraphs in most instances.


Honesty and Integrity Tests

Honesty and integrity tests measure an applicant’s likelihood to exhibit undesirable behaviors like stealing, lying, participating in drugs, abusing alcohol, not being dependable, and disrespecting authority. This examination gets grouped with personality tests, and it asks the same questions as a polygraph (but in written form). The results are often a reliable indicator of job performance because being true to your word is a valuable success factor in any position.


Medical Examination

Medical examinations decide if a candidate can perform the essential tasks of a specific position, such as bending, walking, lifting, and sitting. These tests are different from physical tests because they involve the analysis of blood pressure, heart rate, and other physiological components.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, companies are not allowed to administer these tests before they offer a job to a potential candidate. Therefore, this examination gets done during the onboarding process in the first couple of weeks of employment with the company.

By administering these examinations as a standard for all potential employees, there are a variety of benefits that organizations will see.


Tests are More Objective than Other Forms of Screening

Nikoletta Bika at Workable explains that disorganized interviews, resume screening, pre-interview phone calls can all be inadequate representations of a candidate because of subjective judgment. Each conversation between applicants will always be different, which can lead to inconsistent results. These varying conversations lead to the formation of opinions, so the evaluation and comparison between candidates will be distorted and determined by emotion.

By using tests and examinations, you take the emotional component out of the selection process. Pre-employment checks are catered to be valid and measure specific indicators. They are also reliable and produce consistent results for the hiring team.


Pre-Employment Tests are the Same for Everyone

Multiple factors cause interviews to produce inconsistent results. Because these are 2-way discussions, the questions will be different and create conflicting measuring elements. The candidate might talk to a different interviewer than another person. The time of day that the interview takes place can cause different moods of the person conducting it. The stage of the interview process might cause bias amongst the hiring team.

Pre-employment tests are always standardized and administered consistently across the board for all candidates. Applicants get the same amount of time to complete each assessment. The quality and number of questions are identical across the board. Because these factors align, you can easily compare the results from one person to another.


Pre-Employment Tests Can Save You Time on Interviews

Analyzing a wide variety and amount of trains in interviews can take a lot of time. Each member of the hiring team might also have a different read or perception of the person. This issue can cause inconsistency in the evaluation of a person’s personality for the job.

Pre-employment tests can aid in assessing these traits in a fraction of the time. These assessments can determine the appropriate job knowledge, so you can prevent your team from scheduling time with candidates who are unable to perform in the role. Cognitive ability and aptitude tests are perfect in analyzing things like typing speed, written communication, and problem-solving.


Pre-Employment Tests Can Save You the Cost of Turnover

Replacing employees that leave your company is a long, costly process. A significant benefit of pre-employment tests is that they accurately identify the reliable, solidified candidates. Resumes, interviews, and reference checks do not always tell the whole story here.

The aptitude tests that measure job-specific skills and attributes will enable you to identify potential employees at low-risk for turnover. For physically demanding jobs, the test for physical ability will show you which applicants will be able to endure the tough conditions and stay at your company for longer.


Tests Can Help You Trust Data and Quantifiable Insight

Pre-employments tests are reliable in giving you metrics that can be validated. It is easy for employers to compare data between applicants and provide honest insight. In a lot of cases, gut feeling may not be the most accurate indicator of hiring a candidate. The numbers often tell a story, and you can be confident in your decisions with quantitative indicators from across the board.

While you should not base your final decision on data 100%, it will guide you in the right direction when making a tough decision between the last few candidates. For personality traits, confirm with the data then discuss the findings with the rest of the hiring team.


Tests Can Be Strictly Job-Related

If you define your specific goals and vision for the job, you can cater or choose a test that focuses on what truly matters for the role. You can set the ideal characteristics suitable for the position and conduct a personality test. Another strategy is to identify the necessary skills and administer an aptitude test. Examinations like the Gallup’s StrengthsFinder and 16PF are both excellent options.


Conclusion: Find a Healthy Balance Between Qualitative and Quantitative

Statistics and data paint an accurate story about how well a candidate matches your job description. But make sure to not use all tests as a final indicator for your decision. These methods should instead get used as a guide and aid in your decision-making process. Some examinations are great for filtering out large amounts of applicants, while others are perfect for ranking final candidates in the later stages.

It is crucial to use your quantitative findings as support and evidence for a qualitative point of view. In the meetings and dialogue of the hiring team, your examination results will allow the conversations to be efficient. It will enable you to bring insight to the table and facilitate intelligent discussion. But most importantly, pre-employment tests will serve as a consistent benchmark for the selection of optimal team members for your organization.