Pre-employment testing can help hiring managers save time and find the right candidate for the job. There are a number of things to consider, however, to get the best results when administering pre-employment tests. 

Making sure candidates are matched with a test that accurately measures their fit for the job and ensures they have a personality suited for the position are obvious considerations. In addition, there are a number of more subtle factors to think about when evaluating candidates with pre-employment tests.  

Which Test is Best? 

It is important to ensure that the most appropriate test is matched with each job opportunity. Key considerations here include researching the position to make sure the skills and traits the test measures are related to the job’s requirements. Equally, it is essential to be sure the assessment evaluates personality traits that relate closely to the behaviors required for successful performance. 

Some broadly applicable skill sets, such as basic administrative skills or general reasoning ability, will apply to many positions and can be incorporated in a number of different tests. More specialized personality traits, such as sales skills or attention to detail, are specialized and only applicable to specific positions. 

Test Early, Test Often 

Testing many candidates early in the hiring process can be expensive if employers are paying a fee per test administered. But front-end evaluations—ideally administered after the first screening interview—are productive for both hiring managers and candidates.  

Managers can cull mismatched candidates right away, rather than taking the time to sort through applications and resumes, which often contain subjective or embellished information. 

Candidates often find out immediately whether they have the skills or personality for a particular position and don’t waste time on continuing the hiring process if they are not a good fit. 

There are exceptions in which testing is valuable after the number of candidates has been narrowed down to a few finalists. In these cases, the tests help hiring managers compare candidates. 

Include Incumbents 

Testing people who already have the same or similar positions in the company is a fundamental component of data gathering. It helps establish a baseline for the job skills and personality traits needed to perform well in the position.  

For the best quality data, consider testing all employees who work in the position, not just the top performers. This process allows hiring managers the opportunity to correlate test scores to performance ratings or other internal metrics and use that information to inform minimum or cut-off scores for new hire screening.  


Think Before You Test 

While pre-employment testing is an essential component of a sound hiring process, some thought is required to ensure the best result. Considering which test is best, when to administer it, and testing current employees help augment the data obtained from pre-employment tests. Such additional considerations are highly recommended.