Recruiting the right person for the job and company has always been one of the biggest challenges that all employers face. As skills become more technical and roles become more specialised, it is no longer sufficient for employers to simply rely on resumes, cover letters and interviews to make an informed decision on who is the right candidate to hire. This is why more candidates are asked to take pre-employment assessments tests as part of the interview process.

Employers and recruiters ask applicants to take pre-employment tests during the interview process to identify candidates who have the highest potential and screen out those who are not qualified for the role. While most of these tests are conducted online, some may be carried out at the employer’s office under close supervision to ensure independence.

The objective nature of pre-employment tests allows employers to authenticate the information provided by candidates. These pre-employment tests provide employers with validated means in assessing the overall behaviour, character and skills of their prospective employees.

These assessment tests have made it easier for HR departments to single out potential candidates from a large pool of job applicants. When organisations can validate the candidates’ ability to perform the job well, it can lead to lower turnover, reduced hiring costs and higher productivity for the company.

3 most common types of pre-employment tests

With a rising reliance on the data-driven hiring process, recruiters and interviewers may ask potential candidates to take some assessments during the interview process to help them make a better decision. There are three main types of assessments - personality evaluation, cognitive test and technical capability.

1. personality tests

One of the most common forms of pre-employment tests is the personality test. Employers want to hire employees who can bring something more than just work-related skills. Personality assessments offer valuable insights into the candidates’ cultural fit with the team and company. For instance, the role of a manager will require someone with great leadership qualities such as the ability to listen, coach and command.

2. cognitive tests

Cognitive ability tests are generally deemed as the most accurate predictor of job performance. Candidates are assessed on their ability to think well and solve problems effectively. It is known that people with high levels of cognition have the ability to come up with better solutions that can be effectively applied in a rapidly-changing environment.

3. aptitude tests or skills assessment test

While a person’s aptitude and character are crucial in the evaluation process, it is equally critical to ascertain if the candidate is equipped with the relevant skills required to get the job done through technical assessments.

There is an increasing trend for employers to test the technical competencies of the candidates, especially for roles that require the methodological application of skills. Some examples of these roles include software developers, content writers and software engineers. These skills assessments can help employers determine the real capabilities of the candidates and identify high-performing talent who will be a good fit for the job, team or company.

why should you care about pre-employment tests?

Pre-employment tests can be time-consuming and stressful. You may question the need to put yourself through this tedious process, especially when you have not even been hired for the role.

However, these tests are important in driving higher standards in recruitment and as a job applicant, you can benefit from taking them too. Not only will you find out what your key expertise areas are, you will also gain to understand what employers are looking for in the talent market. Furthermore, if you do pass the test and are hired for the role, you may find it easier to integrate into the new working environment. This is because you would have already passed the thorough evaluation by the company in their search for the candidate who has the right fit with the required competency, values and personality.

3 tips to prepare yourself for pre-employment screening

1. have confidence in your own capabilities

Relax. Pre-employment tests are only one of the methods companies use to figure out if you are suitable for the job. You have come a long way in attaining the skills that you have today. There is no reason to be discouraged if you have what it takes for that position that you have been eyeing for a long time.

2. know your organisation well

Although there are no right or wrong answers in personality and cognitive tests, companies want to identify candidates who have the attributes and traits that are aligned with the firm’s values. Do a thorough research of the ideal employer you want to work for so that you can be acquainted with the way they do things and what are the values they stand for.

3. be aware of the time, instructions and environment

Do not jump straight into the tests without fully comprehending the situation or instructions. Place yourself in a room free from distractions, read the instructions thoroughly and pace yourself properly to prevent yourself from being stressed by the time constraint. Double check your answers for potential mistakes before you hit submit. And lastly, do not over-analyse as most assessments are not designed to trick you.

While these assessments are important in determining a candidate’s skills, job and boss fit, it is important to note they have a limitation of overlooking the human touch that differs for every individual. Instead of replacing traditional hiring practices, these pre-employment screenings are designed to enhance the recruitment process by effectively identifying the right candidate for the job to reduce any fallout potential.

Indeed, pre-employment tests are fast becoming the norm. Having said that, the best hiring decision often takes into consideration various aspects of a candidate’s profile as talent cannot be defined or judged by assessments alone. There are other important qualities that employers look for during the interview process that can only be uncovered after speaking with you, such as an eagerness to learn and develop, a willingness to push boundaries and having a gung-ho attitude to drive the business forward.

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