Testing job applicants’ abilities is one of the best recruiting decisions you can make. After all, it's not enough to rely on their resumes, education or work experience. This article explores the different types of pre-employment testing.
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Pre-employment testing gives employers a thorough understanding of candidates' suitability for specific jobs. Testing potential employees confirms their skills, aptitude and personality traits necessary, so it’s no wonder 64 percent of hiring managers consider pre-employment testing vital for faster candidate screening.
Tests help to prevent opinion based, uninformed decisions. That's why employers using pre-hire assessment tests report a 39 percent lower turnover rate. But which tests should you use?
Types of pre-employment tests

Types of Pre-Employment Assessments

During the hiring process, employers use pre-employment testing to identify which candidates have the most compatible attributes for a particular job. Each type of pre-employment assessment has its strengths and weaknesses, so recruiters and the HR team must consider which will add value to the process.
Using different types of assessments can increase the odds of success in a hiring process. The following are the most common types of pre-employment tests you should know:
Behavioral assessments or personality testing shows if a candidate would be a good fit for your organization by asking questions about their attitudes towards topics such as customer service or sales. They also measure traits like leadership qualities or communication styles, both of which are beneficial to those positions.
These tests are ideal when trying to identify a candidate who matches your business's standards and objectives. They're more effective than traditional hiring tools, such as interviews, because they provide an independent data point, not based solely on opinions.
Cognitive ability assessments measure problem-solving skills and analytical thinking, which give employers insight into how quickly applicants may learn new tasks or handle complex problems on the job.
Aptitude testing evaluates mental aptitude levels, such as the applicant's ability to learn and inclinations toward particular subjects. For instance, a candidate might be interested in working with auto mechanics but have low levels of manual dexterity, resulting in a lack of aptitude. Because of that, their odds of succeeding in this field wouldn't be high.
Industry knowledge testing measures knowledge about specific topics in their field of expertise. Examples may include accounting, medical, industrial warehouse or other knowledge areas which are related to the employer’s industry.
Skills testing helps check an individual's proficiency in specific job-related skills. Because they measure the ability to complete on-the-job activities, skills tests often include complex tasks, such as assessing a candidate's attention to detail or software skills. But they can also help evaluate basic employment skills (ex: reading, grammar, spelling, math and typing skills).

Choosing Which Tests To Give Your Job Candidates

When employers need to identify key personality traits that predict high job performance potential and identify areas where a job applicant may need development, a behavioral assessment (personality testing) is the right choice. Situational judgment tests, emotional intelligence tests, and behavioral tests can also be helpful predictors.
Choosing employment tests for applicantsWhen evaluating a candidate's potential to learn, adapt, and perform well in a job, cognitive ability assessments should be used. High cognitive ability is a predictor of success across many jobs. Aptitude assessments can be similar to cognitive tests and recruiters options including mechanical, numerical, verbal, spatial, and clerical aptitude tests.
On the flip side, there are industry knowledge and skills tests to see if candidates can manage the actual requirements the job. There are a wide range of knowledge and skills tests, from Excel to grammar to attention to detail, to measure if your candidate has the skills for your position.

4 Steps for Pre-employment Testing Success

Here are the steps when giving pre-employment tests to candidates:
· Review the job description and prioritize the job requirements.
· Choose the type of test based on the competencies you prioritized (behavioral, cognitive aptitude, industry knowledge and/or skills tests).
· Pre-hire tests are administered online or in person. Give clear instructions so candidates know to complete the tests, including any time limits or other requirements. Explain how tests are used in the hiring process and what the results will mean for their application.
· Follow up with candidates after the tests about next steps, if any, in the hiring process.


A pre-employment assessment is an essential part of the recruitment process, providing employers with valuable insight into potential hires. It also helps employers understand how compatible job applicants are with the company's values and job description.
Starting pre-employment testing allows companies to spot the best match for their jobs and improve team performance. Understanding the different types of assessments and how to administer them allows companies to quickly start implementing them to job applicants confidently and accurately.
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