What are Pre-Employment Tests ? (And Why Companies Use Them for Hiring)
Pre-employment tests, or job assessments, are standardized methods to evaluate the candidacy of job applications in regard to the position applied. Most corporate companies, especially multinational ones , use pre-employment tests in their hiring process.
In recent years, pre-employment tests have become widely utilized to eliminate a large number of applicants to simplify the hiring process. Big companies often receive thousands of applications for each job opening. The HR manager can’t go through each application manually.
The online job assessments take the role of automatically screening out unfit candidates. In most cases, you will have to pass the benchmarks to get promoted further in the interview rounds.
In this article, different aspects of pre-employment tests will be discussed. It serves as a guide for you to prepare for any upcoming assessment like Crossover CCAT Test .
Table of Contents
What can pre-employment tests check for?
- Hard skills like knowledge directly related to work
- Soft skills like team spirit, communication, emotional stability, and creativity
Multiple tests are usually given to candidates. Each test aims to evaluate the performance of a certain aspect. Each test given is related to the role you are applying for. Some tests measure your hard skills while others measure your soft skills.
The tests you will take reflect the ability you have for the job. For example, if you are applying to be an accountant, you will likely be asked to do tests that assess your mathematic skills, accounting knowledge, numerical reasoning, accounting laws, and personal characteristics. Obviously, the company wants to see your hard skills directly used in the job.
However, soft skills are also important. Personalities play a huge part in whether you will do well in the role. An accountant would need to be strong-willed and can work independently under a tight deadline. Those who fail the personality test will not be invited to the next interview stage.
Common pre-employment tests
The following tests are some of the most common ones used.
Aptitude tests measure your proficiency in skill sets essential for the job. It can include theoretical questions based on the terminology or basic knowledge. Real-life situations can also be included to see how the candidate can apply theories to work.
Work sample sets are often part of the test. These sets are tasks similar to the daily work at the firm. It evaluates your performance to see where your standards are.
You can practice aptitude tests designed for specific jobs on Job Test Prep to enhance your knowledge in tackling different question words and formats.
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Personal traits can have a huge impact on your job. Someone who is cold and shy should not take up a role in customer service as you are required to socialize with clients. Finding a job that suits your personality is a win-win situation for the firm and your personal growth as well.
There is often a mismatch in the position and manpower because of the misalignment between personal characteristics and job responsibilities. Whether you want to ace a personality test or are simply curious about your qualities and traits, you should take one for practice.
To learn how to pass a personality test, click here.
Staff conduct is a key component that makes up a brand reputation. Therefore, companies would want to know your criminal records and any key behavior that could affect your work performance. It takes into account if you are an alcoholic, drug addict, or have any other form of addiction.
For foreign workers or those applying for a multinational company, a language test may be required. You have to communicate effectively with your team, clients, and investors. Language skills are essential.
Cognitive ability test
Designed to measure a candidate’s logical and numerical reasoning skills, cognitive ability tests can be done either in word format or with graphics and illustrations. Creative workers can be given illustrations to rank or choose from.
Cognitive ability tests are different from aptitude tests. Aptitude tests ask questions about the textbook version of work situations while cognitive ability tests check your ability when dealing with unexpected situations which may not fall on your regular job duties. The results show how likely you will perform and handle yourself under situations that can be stressful and intimidating.
Video response test
Video response tests assess your presentation skills and are widely used in jobs in the service industry. If you are a confident person with no problem speaking to the public, you will likely get a high score. You can show a lot about your personality when you answer questions in a video format.
How are pre-employment tests designed?
Knowing how the assessments are designed increases your chance of acing them. The most common form seen is the close-end questions where you are asked the “true or false,” “agree or disagree” questions. Close-end questions can be processed by the system and save manpower. Each answer has an accompanying score. The score is added towards your final count.
Open-end questions are common in the creative industry. For these questions, your answer will either be evaluated with the use of AI or by a staff member. You may be asked to create an illustration or write down a description for something. These questions test your language and communication skills as well as your creativity.
Most of the time, the weight of the scores is calculated by actuaries after taking into consideration various factors that would affect your performance and the company’s benefits. Each section of the test can constitute a different ratio towards the final score.
How to pass the pre-employment tests?
The first step you need is to understand the structure of each company and take practice exams. Every company formulates its own testing process and can vary tremendously. Search for the company you are looking for on Job Test Prep and start your test.
Besides taking practice exams, there are some tips and tricks to keep in mind when you prepare for your pre-employment tests.
- Note down the key features of the company culture. Is it a traditional company that values conformity or a young and innovative firm that encourages debates and the exchange of ideas?
– Understanding the company culture is the key to foreseeing what is expected in the assessments. If the company values the traditional hierarchy structure, personality traits like being prone to freely speak up your mind and challenge your superiors will not be appreciated.
– Finding a job that suits you cultivates a happy work environment for both you and the team you work with. Find out more about your personality by taking the free personality test on Job Test Prep.
- Check out the test structure and content for the company. List out the type of tests that will be included and the duration of the test. Draw out a detailed plan on how to study for each test and divide your time for them.
- Study for each test. If it is an aptitude test, revise the knowledge and the necessary answer keys. If it is a personality test, find out the traits the company is looking for and see if they match with yours.
- Avoid any last-minute revision or studying overnight as it rarely helps. Preparation should be done earlier. Do not stress yourself or get fixated on passing the test as it will only have a detrimental effect on your performance.
- Get plenty of quality sleep the night before. A fresh mind always generates the best answers and you will be at your smartest stage when you are energetic.
- Only start the pre-employment tests when you have a stable internet connection. You are not allowed to pause once you start the test. A drop in signal means a direct cut in your time allowance, or worse, an end to your test if the system mistakenly thinks you have completed it.
- Find a quiet environment. Noisy surroundings lower your concentration level and distract you from focusing on the questions.
- Set a timer for each section. Some tests consist of more than 100 questions. You do not want to waste time on questions that you cannot figure out. Set a time allowance for each question and move on if you cannot pick the right answer after the maximum allocated time. Make sure you have time to at least go over all the questions so you can finish the ones that you know you will get the highest scores on.
- If it is a personality test, take it honesty. Do not cheat because you think the system likes certain answers better. Most of these systems are set to fail contradictory answers. So any inconsistency can be considered cheating. On top of all that, being stuck in a job you are unfit for is misery on its own.
How common are pre-employment tests?
According to the Talent Board Candidate Experience Research Report, over 90% of companies use some form of pre-employment tests to filter out candidates. Among all the types of testing, skill tests are the most popular with about 70% of employers adopting some form of hard skill tests in their assessments.
Personality or psychological tests are the second-most popular tests with about 46% of employers using them. Basic skills including language tests, computer knowledge, and common paperwork processing are tested, particularly in office roles, with about 40% of employers including them.
Pre-employment tests are growing in popularity. The way of hiring talents is shifting with the rise of technology. What was done historically by humans is now being computerized and digitalized? It decreases room for errors or subjective biased.
You will find multinational companies or industry giants to be fond of online pre-employment tests. These firms have the resources to develop their unique testing process and system to ensure the new hires meet the company standards.
The bigger the company, the longer the pre-employment test process. You are facing a lot of competition from around the world. So you can expect to take many rounds of tests before you secure a contract. Aside from developing their own testing systems, some firms prefer to outsource the testing step to prove an unbiased judgment.
Not only the rich companies take advantage of online pre-employment tests. More and more small businesses or online firms utilize this in their hiring process. Since most of them lack the capital to develop a proper testing system themselves, so they outsource it to a reputable third-party provider.
These test providers have ready-made tests for companies or test builders so the HR department can tailor-make any test. The presence of a test provider avoids any direct complaint to firms that the test is rigged in any way and protects the integrity and accuracy of the pre-employment tests.
Why do companies use pre-employment tests?
Pre-employment tests assess the competence level of candidates. From hard skills to soft skills, the series of tests is an automated sequence to narrow down the list of candidates moving on to the next hiring stage. There are various benefits to using pre-employment tests, including:
The hiring process is faster and more cost-effective
The tests are computerized to be taken online. For companies with thousands of applications coming in every day, these tests are the front gate to filter out spam applications and perform a preliminary check on candidates.
It is not efficient or feasible to have the HR apartment read through all the applications. The online tests allow the hiring process to be smoother. It also saves costs for the company. Once the system is set up, there is not much extra cost needed to maintain it. And the system can be used for a long time.
Improving the quality of new hires by standardizing the process
Every firm has its distinct work culture. The same job role may entail different duties and tasks. Since humans cannot be fully unbiased, the quality of new hires can vary drastically without the use of online pre-employment tests.
By using a systematic test, the quality of new hires can be improved. It is good for team building for those sharing similar qualities to be working in the same team.
Candidates’ core skills are tested
Instead of asking candidates to come in for a physical exam, online exams are the quickest way to measure the core skills applicants have. Certain hard skills required for the job can be time-consuming to be physically tested. The online assessments can be an indicator to let in candidates with the skills necessary to perform well.
Candidates can take the tests whenever they want, within the time frame given. The hiring process can span months. More flexibility for candidates usually rewards better quality in the hire.
The turnover rate is lower
Some of these tests are challenging and take time. The presence of pre-employment tests eliminates applicants that spam-apply to jobs. Only the ones truly interested in the position will go through with the whole process. It lowers the turnover rate for companies and increases loyalty.
What is the traditional hiring process?
Before you submit your application, take a personality test to discover the type of jobs you will likely excel in. A personality test analyzes your behaviors and psychological traits to determine the nature of work that is suitable for you.
Take your free personality test on Job Test Prep now.
- Submit your online application and your CV. Attach any supporting documentation, such as proof of language proficiency, education qualification, or reference letter, that is relevant to the role you are applying for.
- Submit any missing document or fill out any missing form.
- You are invited to take several rounds of pre-employment tests. Complete the assessments on time and wait for the results.
- Attend any over-the-phone or physical interview. You will likely first meet with the HR manager then the head of your respective department.
- A background check is conducted to confirm the information you have provided is correct and up to date. Expect a call or an email to your previous supervisor or the contact you have put on your reference letter.
- An initial contract is sent to you with a deadline to accept. You can choose to accept the offer or negotiate for better terms. If you accept the offer, sign it and return it to the office for processing. If you choose to negotiate, do so with the HR manager with your desired benefits and salary.
- A new contract is sent to you. Sign it and send it back to the office and just wait for your job commemoration date.
Pre-employment tests are undoubtedly the most crucial step in your job-hunting journey. You will not get the chance to physically present your charisma to the board to hiring managers if you cannot pass the assessments. Therefore, it is essential to prepare yourself for it.
Study well about the company you are applying to and prepare for the assessments so you are one step closer to securing your dream position.
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Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.