preemployment tests

According to a study, 78% of job seekers tend to or have at least considered misrepresenting their prowess in their resumes. This unsettling statistic emphasizes the need for staffing agencies to employ a more reliable and objective method of candidate assessment: pre-employment tests.

In this blog, we will look into the various benefits of pre-employment testing and the types of tests recruiters can administer, depending on the role.

What is pre-employment testing?

Pre-employment tests are a series of tests recruiters use on candidates to assess their skills and competency. These tests ascertain the test takers’ mental capacity, skill mastery, and how they will react to real-world situations. Pre-employment tests reveal whether a candidate is skilfully and culturally competent.

These tests are curated using talent assessment tools which automatically send the assessments to the candidates, grade them, and generate in-depth reports on their performance.

Why are pre-employment tests important in recruitment?

Pre-employment exams help staffing agencies ensure that candidates are suitable for the role.

Finding candidates with the required skills and expertise to perform crucial jobs is one of the top recruiting challenges every recruiter experiences. Recruiters invest hours in screening, interviewing candidates, and determining their fit. Or else they risk recruiting ineligible candidates.

Also, check 11 Best Software for Recruitment Agencies

However, with pre-employment exams, those concerns are thwarted away. These exams not only help shortlist candidates with relevant skills but also:

Expedites the recruitment process

One of the most apparent benefits of talent assessments is that it reduces recruitment time. These assessments evaluate the acumen of the candidate more effectively and efficiently. 

Thus reducing the substantial time and effort that is typically spent during the screening phase. 

Enhances quality of hire

Pre-employment assessments consist of questions accumulated from international sources. These questions test the intricate talents of the test takers and evaluate whether they are suitable for the job and the organization, helping nearly 62% of recruiters make better recruitment decisions.

Enables bias-free recruiting decisions

Unconscious bias is still an incessant issue in the recruiting landscape, with about 96% of recruiters admitting it. Though there are myriad ways to tackle it, talent assessments might be the most effective tactic.

These tests narrow down the candidates based on their skills and personality traits rather than their gender, background, or demographic. They ensure that talented individuals do not slip away.

Decrease employee turnover

Pre-hiring tests help recruiters provide insights into candidates’ work styles, communication approaches, and attitudes. 

Using these factors, recruiters can ensure the cultural fitment of the candidates. Veritably, companies that use pre-hire screenings report a 39% lower turnover rate.

Improve the candidate experience

Pre-recruitment tests are not only useful for recruiters but also for candidates. These tests are usually tailored based on the type of role, the expectations of the organization, and the work the candidate will be subjected to after recruitment.

The questions will give the candidate an idea of the job environment and help them understand whether the job suits them. 

Different types of pre-employment tests

Without a doubt, pre-employment tests play an essential role in modern recruiting processes. Almost every job now requires applicants to go through an assessment to assess their relevance and fit for the role.

However, is one test enough to validate a candidate’s competency for the role?

Depending on the role, level, and responsibility, recruiters usually have to evaluate the different facets of the candidate. Sometimes one assessment is enough. But sometimes, more than one test is crucial.  

About 65% of hiring managers use more than one test during the interview stage to meticulously assess the candidate.

So here is a list of pre-employment tests recruiters can use to gauge an applicant’s capabilities and personality traits:

Job-specific skills tests

The job-specific skills tests consist of questions related to the role. This type of assessment aims to test the savviness of the candidate in a specific subject matter relevant to the position. Nearly 52% of recruiters test for job-specific skills before considering the candidates for interviews.

Also, check Top Video Interview Software for Recruiters

The difficulty depends on the level of the role. For instance, for a junior developer position, the assessment will contain primary and intermediate-level questions. While for a senior software developer role, the questions will be even more challenging.

Personality questionnaires

Personality questionnaires gauge the candidate’s personality traits and paint a picture of their characteristics. These tests evaluate a person’s response to certain situations. In customer service roles, employees directly interact with customers. That’s especially true when recruiting someone to work in the DTC fulfillment system.

How they listen to customer queries and how conscientiously they resolve the troubles build a company’s reputation. For such consumer-centric roles, personality tests are such a help.

Culture fit assessments

Every organization has its own set of rules and culture which employers are expected to follow. Culture fit assessments are employed to ensure that the job seeker can abide by the company’s culture.

Culture fit assessments question the type of environment a candidate prefers to work in, their previous challenges, and how they overcame them. 

Staffing agencies can determine whether applicants can align with a company’s cultural values and contribute effectively through these questions.

Cognitive ability assessments

Cognitive ability assessments surpass job-specific skill tests as they delve into candidates’ cognitive processes and problem-solving abilities. 

These assessments hold particular importance for roles that demand creative thinking, with 37% of recruiters incorporating cognitive ability tests.

Soft and Hard skills assessments

Soft skill assessments evaluate candidates’ non-technical abilities, encompassing effective communication, willingness to learn, enthusiasm, and integrity. 

In contrast, hard skills assessments concentrate on specific technical competencies, such as language proficiency, typing skills, programming language expertise, and other role-relevant skills.

Speaking tests are employed in these assessments to gauge the clarity of individuals’ oral communication skills, while virtual coding tests are conducted to evaluate candidates’ coding proficiency when recruiting tech talent

The candidate’s responses are recorded and carefully assessed to determine their qualifications.

Situational judgment tests

Situational judgment tests offer candidates different scenarios they are likely to face in the job. These tests aim to comprehend how well the candidate will respond to real-world situations.

There are four types of situational judgment tests:

  • Fixed response where the test taker is offered options to choose from.
  • The interactive format follows a branching format in which subsequent scenarios and questions are presented based on the test taker’s responses to previous scenarios and questions.
  • An open response is where the candidate answers in an open comment field.
  • The linear format in which all test takers are presented with the same scenarios and questions in the same order

The Bottom Line

A top-notch candidate who checks every box of the requirements section achieves company goals, and surpasses every stakeholder’s expectations is a valuable asset for the organization and the staffing agency. 

The best approach to identifying such exceptional individuals is through pre-employment tests. These tests offer a reliable means of evaluating candidates’ skills, abilities, and compatibility with the desired role and company culture.

So leverage the effectiveness of pre-employment tests and filter out the ideal candidates before proceeding with other crucial steps.


What is the most common pre-employment test?

The most common pre-employment tests are IQ tests that measure a candidate’s mental ability and job-specific assessments that gauge whether a candidate possesses the necessary skills for the role.

Why do recruiters use pre-employment tests?

Recruiters use pre-employment tests to understand the skills and competencies of the candidate and make objective recruitment decisions.

What are the limitations of pre-employment tests?

Pre-employment assessments can be quite time-consuming and may not comprehensively capture a candidate’s inherent talents. These tools grade the tests based on specific criteria that may not apply to every candidate, even the most ideal ones.

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