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Can Pre-Employment Tests Help Candidate Selection?

- Feb 24, 2014

Companies live and die by the quality of workers they recruit. For this reason, companies over the years have sought out ways to screen applicants in order to select the right candidate(s) for the job.


One way of selecting employees is by the use of pre-employment tests such as skills tests, psychological tests, aptitude tests and personality tests.

Are there benefits in administering tests to applicants? What are the pitfalls involved in pre-employment testing?

Generally, employers use testing to find candidates that are most likely to succeed in a position. To do this, they may test the cognitive abilities and the knowledge of candidates. However, testing presents a variety of issues that the employer must deal with.

Do not include aptitude or skills test as part of your recruitment process on default. Testing usually helps you when you have many applicants or you are recruiting for an organization like a call center. Before administering a test, you should seek legal advice so you don’t run afoul of equal opportunity laws.

Your tests should be reliable and valid. A reliable tests would give the same or similar results each time it is administered while a valid test would actually measure what it is meant to measure. Your test should be both valid and reliable and should be related to a job function. For example, is there a need to give a multiple choice numerical test while recruiting a customer service personnel?

If you want to avoid law suits, you must take proper care to make sure your tests are necessary. You should have a documented recruitment policy that outlines the need for the pre-employment tests and the skills, attitudes or requirements those tests measure.

In administering the test, you should ensure that you comply with labor laws. Accommodate people with disabilities by making the tests neutral to their disability. It must be repeated that whatever tests you are administering must test skills relevant for the job.

Tests can help you reduce the number of candidates if you use them as an initial step in the recruitment process. To get the great benefits from pre-employment testing, you should combine them with other assessment methods such as interviews, role plays and assessment centers.

If you want to increase the number of high quality employees in your company, consider using pre-employment tests as an initial screen/selection technique. Pre-employment tests also help you save time and costs. However, you should consult an expert in employment law to help you ensure that your tests are not biased against minority groups.

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