As an HR manager, you need to know the differences between a pre-employment assessment and other employee aptitude tests. By choosing the correct pre-employment assessment before hiring an individual for an open position, you can ensure the candidate is worthy of the job and can fulfill the role's duties.
What’s the Difference Between a Pre-Employment Test and a Pre-Employment Assessment?
Pre-employment skill testing is a standardized exam that HR staff can give to candidates for a job position in a business. The purpose of this employment test is to determine the level of the applicant’s knowledge, skills, and personality traits, determining if they are well-suited for the open job. These pre-employment tests can help HR managers determine if the candidate in question has the necessary background, skills, and characteristics required for the job.
There are typically three types of pre-employment tests that HR managers can use for an applicant:
- Integrity test — This type of objective test set is used to determine the applicant’s reliability, questioning honesty, viewpoint in the workplace, and characteristics that may make them not the best candidate for specific circumstances.
- Job knowledge test — The job knowledge test determines an applicant’s theory or field knowledge in a particular subject.
- Personality test — Getting along with someone is part of the job. Using a personality test can help employers determine if a candidate is easy to work with.
On the other hand, a pre-employment assessment test is a method that is used to determine if the candidate is on par with the consistency required by the job role. For example, suppose an employee has to consistently perform math off the top of their head. In that case, the assessment test will evaluate the person’s ability to repeatedly perform hard skill testing and on-demand assessments, including math equations.
A pre-employment assessment can help HR managers in a variety of ways. Instead of just reading someone’s resume to see if they have the black-and-white criteria necessary to fill a job role, the pre-employment candidate test can help the hiring staff determine qualitative characteristics (personality, thinking on their feet, character, integrity, etc.) for the job position.
Why Should You Use Pre-Employment Assessments?
There are numerous reasons why an HR manager should use a pre-employment assessment instead of just interviewing a person or reading their pre-written CV. Assessments are a helpful way to measure if a candidate is likely to succeed in a particular job role, evaluating other non-qualitative characteristics during the process.
Some of the main benefits of using a pre-employment assessment include:
- Employee retention — Performing a full vetting beforehand ensures that you can choose the correct candidate on the first try. This way, employee retention rates will be much higher. Instead of having to go through training repeatedly for new employees, you can work with the people you already have and help them move up in the ranks.
- Enhanced productivity — The second perk of using pre-employment assessment tests is that you can boost your productivity in the workplace. By choosing qualified people to do the job, less time is spent hovering over their every move. Plus, completing the assessments is quick and easy — avoid lengthy questionnaires, and use this time-sensitive assessment format.
- Understand the candidate — The third reason to use a pre-employment assessment is so you can get a comprehensive picture in your mind of who the best candidates are for the job position after the assessment. After reading CVs and resumes, you may find that many candidates have similar backgrounds. However, with the assessment, there will be clear leaders in the pack.
- Reduced bias — By using standardized measures, you can eliminate workplace and hiring bias in the HR department by choosing the best person for the job (not based on personal preference, unconscious bias, discrimination, etc.).
- Increased diversity — Selecting the best person for the job, regardless of sexual orientation, background, race, or religious preference can help diversify the workplace by choosing only the most qualified individuals.
- Decreased hiring time — Along with increasing productivity, pre-employment assessments reduce the hiring time and make it easier to hire someone in just a few days.
- Engage candidates — The last benefit of using pre-employment assessments is keeping candidates engaged and interested in the hiring process during the waiting period.
Pre-Employment Test Types To Consider for Your Next Assessment
As an HR manager, you need to know the specific pre-employment tests to use for your following assessment. This way, you can get a comprehensive idea of who the best candidates are in terms of personality, cognitive ability, aptitude, soft skills, and hard skills.
Personality Types & Company Culture Tests
A personality test is used to measure an applicant's characteristics and personality to see if they will fit well within the existing company culture and work well with others who already work in the business. By using emotional intelligence tests, HR can choose a candidate who can seamlessly mesh into the pre-existing workplace, there is less worry about lack of cohesion or disharmony in the workplace.
One example of an assessment tool that an HR manager can use is the 16 Types Test, which provides insight into how the applicant processes and interprets information, how they go through their decision-making process, and their lifestyle preferences. Another common predictor of personality type includes the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test to screen candidates.
The purpose of the personality test is to ensure the overarching profile of the candidate can match the company culture and provide a predictor of job performance.
In addition to personality types, pre-employment tests for your next assessment include company culture and integrity tests. Integrity tests are objective tests set forth by the hiring manager to measure the applicant's reliability. By seeing if the person will fit well with company culture, uphold the business’ ethos, and match the company’s ethical viewpoints, the hiring team can see if the candidate will be a trustworthy hire.
There are two main types of company culture and integrity tests:
- Overt integrity test — This is a blatant test that questions the person’s ability to tell right from wrong with an upfront question. This clear-purpose test evaluates if the applicant has a trend of lying or risky behaviors in the workplace.
- Covert integrity test — This personality-based test determines if the applicant has integrity issues by using an indirect approach to see their decision-making skills.
Cognitive Ability Tests
Cognitive ability tests are slightly different from personality tests, because they measure the candidate’s ability to solve problems, verbalize issues, go through the decision-making process, and deal with issues in the workplace. Some HR managers may think this test is even more important than the personality test, as it helps give a good idea of how the candidate will perform when problems or obstacles arise.
Two examples of cognitive ability tests that are helpful to use are the problem-solving test and the numerical reasoning test. The problem-solving test helps determine if the candidate has the skills and mindset to solve critical thinking problems on the fly. The numerical reasoning test evaluates the candidate’s ability to use logical reasoning to solve problems applicable to the real world.
The language test is helpful in determining if the candidate in question has the communication skills required to successfully communicate tasks, delegations, questions, and answers during the job. This international framework is used to determine if the candidate has proficiency in the language used during the workplace or if they need more help with the required language skills.
The framework used by most businesses includes ranking candidates from beginner levels (A1) to bilingual abilities (C2). Although a person may not have to be a native speaker to work a specific job role, they must be able to communicate the necessary information while on the job in a clear and concise manner.
Soft skills are required to work effectively in a new job role. Although The year is often overlooked in favor of job-specific or hard skills, soft skills are essential to being successful on the job.
Soft skills are considered to be personal attributes, characteristics, and skills that are required for the job. The most important soft skills that the ideal candidate should possess include teamwork capabilities, networking, time management skills, creative thinking, and conflict resolution.
Soft skills are essential to the cohesiveness of the workplace. These transferable skills can be used in any professional setting and make the individual adaptable, easy to work with, and likable in the workplace.
A soft skill assessment can help you highlight the candidate’s ability to use their problem-solving skills to get along with their other team members, boost their likelihood of success, and show their competency in the specific job role. HR managers should focus on soft skills assessments that test the person’s communication, leadership, problems-voling, time management, teamwork, negotiation skills, and remote work capabilities.
Job Specific & Hard Skills
The last type of test that an HR manager can use in the workplace is a job knowledge test and hard skills test. The job knowledge test is a specific test that aims to identify the applicant’s proficiency in the job role in question. Employes will use this test to see if the candidate has the proper background knowledge and training to perform well in the role without any additional training or coaching.
The hard skills test focuses on testing the applicant’s job-related skills. By testing a person’s learned competencies in a specific area, this test can use the soft skills results (interpersonal capabilities) and see how they will match with the candidate’s learned skills (job-specific tasks and knowledge).
Hard skills testing is used in specific niches or industries, such as math, software, or bookkeeping. These types of tests provide the manager or employer with enough information to see if the candidate is qualified enough for the job role. In addition, work sample tests can help the HR manager see if the applicant has enough knowledge to perform the activities they would be required to do on the job.
Key Benefits of Pre-Employment Testing
There are key benefits of pre-hire assessments that can help HR managers streamline the recruiting process, choose the ideal candidate, and keep current employees for longer periods of time.
Streamlining the Recruitment Process
By facilitating the recruitment process and getting rid of any time-consuming fluff, HR managers can quicken the process, find the ideal candidate sooner, and avoid any erroneous hires.
Improving Your Quality of Hire
Performing skill assessment tests, soft skill tests, personality assessments, and integrity tests before hiring a person can ensure they are the right fit for the workplace and the role. Determining if a person’s characteristics, integrity, and skills are the right fit for the job can help prevent a bad hire or problematic person in the workplace.
Eliminating Common Hiring Bias
Common hiring bias is common in the HR department — even if you don’t think so. Everyone has a subconscious bias against a group of people or a specific type of person that may make it hard to see each candidate with fresh eyes. Using skills tests and personality tests can help eliminate hiring bias and choose the best job candidates for their skills and personality, not because of another unrelated reason.
Stop Guessing by Using a Data-Driven Hiring Process
Instead of just assuming someone is qualified, going by a resume, and falling for a charming personality in the hiring interview, use a data-driven hiring process that takes a multitude of factors into account. Consider the job applicant's integrity, character, skills, and other job-related skills to ensure you choose a person with a track record of high job performance who can perform the actual skills.
Decreasing Employee Turnover
Employee retention rates are essential to developing a cohesive and high-morale workplace. Hire the right people who want to stay in the company by using a comprehensive pre-employment assessment test.
Improving The Candidate Experience
You don’t want your top candidates to give up on the hiring process because they’re tired of the drawn-out process or do not enjoy the lengthy interviews. Pre-employment assessments and pre-employment tests are ideal for keeping it interesting and concise.
Pre-Employment Testing Best Practices
The HR staff needs to use pre-employment testing best practices to avoid complaints from job seekers and remain ethical.
Implement Pre-Employment Assessment Responsibly
HR managers and employers should ensure they use responsible measures to implement tests. You should follow best practices to make the best hiring decisions with a greater efficiency level, asking yourself the tests to administer, when the tests should be used, and how much testing is suitable.
Align Your Testing With Your Brand
If your brand focuses on eco-friendly practices and saving the environment, make sure you direct your candidate’s personality testing towards eco-conscious lifestyles, views on the planet, and other relevant questions to get an idea if they are passionate about the specific job role.
Use Your Tests at the Right Stage of the Recruitment Process
There is no point in doing intense job skills at the beginning of the hiring process. This can weed out candidates too quickly. Make sure you implement the right tests at the correct stage during recruitment to avoid a candidacy pool that is too big or too small.
Make sure you use “job-relatedness” to determine which tests are necessary for the job role taking into account pre-hire tests that measure skills, job requirements analysis, and critical thinking skills.
Lastly, administer the tests at the correct time. Choosing the type of test to administer off the bat can help you gather objective data, weed out the unqualified candidates, and streamline the hiring process.
Track Your Completion Rate
In general, candidates will not complete an assessment test if it is longer than 40 minutes. Therefore, track your completion rate to see why the candidate is stopping the test, why they are finishing, or where in the test they are dropping off. Try and shorten your candidacy test if you find the completion rate is below 75%.
Knowing the correct pre-employment assessment before committing to hiring an individual, you are ensuring that you are saving your company time and resources in the long run and only getting the cream of the crop.
Whether you need someone who will be performing more critical thinking activities in a fast-paced manner or an individual who will be working with customers day to day, finding a test that can measure some of these skills is paramount to success.