What is pre employment testing?

Pre employment testing, also known as talent assessment, is a form of evaluation that employers use to assess the compatibility of job applicants with a particular role or position. Candidate assessments are used to examine an applicant’s competencies and ability to perform the job, resulting in a better hiring decision. Many employers use a variety of pre employment testing, including cognitive, behavioral, and other competency assessments.

Pre employment testing has become more popular in recent years as an effective way to screen and manage high volumes of applicants. In fact, one study cited by Inc. Magazine estimates that there is an average of 250 resumes submitted for every corporate job opening. In addition, applicants spend an average of 76.7 seconds reading each job description, according to The Ladders, so it isn’t surprising that recruiters say more than half of job applicants do not meet the basic requirements of the job.

pre employment testing

Pre employment testing or talent assessments are an objective, data-backed method of measuring candidates during the screening and hiring process.

In this type of landscape, pre employment testing can offer great value for companies seeking a way to quickly, easily, and effectively identify the right-fit talent, particularly for high volume hiring needs.

Pre employment testing is a common practice performed by employers to assess potential job candidates prior to offering employment. In the past, pre employment testing was used to assess job-related abilities such as typing speed, computer skills, and math proficiency. However, due to the advancement of technology and I/O psychology, more sophisticated pre employment testing has emerged to assess candidate’s cognitive, behavioral, and values to better predict a potential hires’ ability to perform the job successfully.

It is important to understand that in the United States, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has developed guidelines to ensure that pre employment testing processes are legal and do not unlawfully discriminate against any applicants on the basis of race, age, gender, religion, and disability.

Pre employment testing that is delivered correctly and in accordance with best practices, actually reduce discrimination and bias that can often be inherent in screening and hiring practices.

Best-in-class pre employment testing providers follow industry guidelines and utilize I/O psychologists and scientists to ensure the assessment is valid and reliable, as well as non-discriminatory, include:

Identifying the competencies and skills that are necessary for the specific job. For example, the XBL High Volume Assessment Platform creates validated and tested Job Profiles for every role and industry to ensure the assessment is directly related to the job.

Utilizing the same pre employment testing for all applicants who apply for the same position, ensuring that the assessment is consistent and fair for all candidates. For example, the XBL High Volume Assessment Platform is used to measure groups of candidates applying for the same job.

Providing sufficient instructions and support for all candidates completing pre employment testing. Detailed directions and explanations should be offered to assist candidates as they complete the assessments.

Using the assessment results as one factor, based on objective data and science, in the overall hiring process and decision-making. Pre employment testing should be considered alongside other relevant information, such as references and interview performance.

Complying with all applicable laws and regulations. Best-in-class pre employment testing providers ensure the assessments and process comply with all relevant laws and regulations, particularly with those relating to disability and discrimination.

What are the types of pre employment testing?

It is important to understand the different types of pre-employment testing available to organizations and how these can be used to help them hire the best candidates for positions, as well as what to consider when choosing the most effective talent assessment.

There are several types of pre-employment testing, including: cognitive assessments, personality tests, job knowledge tests, integrity tests, emotional intelligence tests, skills assessments, and physical ability tests.

Cognitive ability assessments, which measure a candidate’s critical thinking skills, are strongly correlated to job performance. These types of pre employment testing are much more accurate predictors of job success than interviews or experience, and even when compared to other types of pre-employment testing.

As pre employment testing or talent assessments have become more mainstream as more companies experience the tremendous benefits of using data and science to inform how they hire new talent, there are more pre-employment testing providers. But, as we know, more isn’t always better. There are five characteristics of pre-employment testing or assessment partners you need to consider in order to identify credible, quality vendors.

There are five characteristics of pre-employment testing or assessment partners you need to consider in order to identify credible, quality vendors:

1 Quality of Assessments.

There are a few things to look for when evaluating assessment tools and solutions. Is their solution based on sound, proven theories in partnership with I/O psychologists? Does the vendor offer proven content and data to show it works? Is the assessment platform user friendly and easy to navigate? Look for a partner whose pre employment testing or assessments accurately measure hundreds of foundational and functional competencies.

2 Are the Assessments Science-Backed?

Credible and quality assessment providers have invested time and resources into developing scientifically-sound tools and solutions. This is typically accomplished by partnering with Industrial or Organizational Psychologists whose discipline is to develop effective and proven tests and assessments. As you look for an assessment partner, be sure to determine if their solutions are valid and scientifically backed by I/O psychology principles and practices.

3 Are they Easily Customized, without a Steep Price Tag?

Be cautious of the two extremes of the spectrum when it comes to talent assessment providers – the “off-the-shelf” assessment that offers no customization for your position or organization, and the provider that offers extensive customization but with lengthy timeframes at a high cost. For pre-employment testing or talent assessments to be effective and more accurate, they should be customized in some way to the position you are hiring for, the industry, and your specific organization. Ideal pre-employment testing or assessment partners utilize a technology platform that allows for easy configuration and will offer this customization as part of their typical pricing and deliverables.

4 Is the System and its Reports Easy to Use and Interpret?

No matter how great a technology system may be, if it is challenging to use and the reporting may as well be in Latin, what use will it be? Be sure to ask for a demo of the assessment providers’ system in order to determine how easy it is to navigate, and if the reports are understandable. Best-in-class pre-employment testing providers have embedded business and HR experience and knowledge and have created reports with business-people in mind.

5 What Level of Service Do They Offer?

Service and support are important when choosing any vendor, and talent assessment partnerships are no different. You want a pre-employment testing provider that is responsive to your needs, available when you need them, and flexible. Talent management is crucial to any company’s bottom line, and a partner who understands that and responds timely to any issues is important. Is the assessment company too large to provide personal, rapid support? Ask potential assessment partners to provide references from current clients to gain a first-hand account as to their level of customer service.

What does pre employment testing look for?

The fact is, not all pre employment testing or talent assessment solutions are equal. Many business and HR leaders believe assessing knowledge, skills and abilities is sufficient. Others believe in measuring personal attributes such as behavior, values, and motivation. And there are plenty of talent assessment solutions that sufficiently measure one of those aspects. Yet, when aiming to hire or develop the most equipped, best-fit person for a role, don’t they need to have the skills needed to do the job AND the motivation to do it well in your specific environment?

Considering the vital nature of hiring the right talent in today’s labor market, hiring managers should consider pre-employment testing or talent assessments that are more comprehensive and sophisticated, measuring multiple competencies in one assessment.

Best-in-class pre-employment testing or talent assessment solutions should measure four fundamental aspects that determine performance and satisfaction in the job – competencies, values, behaviors, and critical thinking.

A competency assessment is designed to understand what competencies an individual performs at “below average,” “average,” and “above average” levels, and is useful for both selecting capable employees who can do the job successfully today. It addresses the skills that enable a person to perform job-related tasks and uncovers underlying characteristics that predict behavior and performance on the job.

Assessing the values of an individual provides deep insight into the strongest influences on that person’s decisions and actions. As important, pre-employment testing or values assessments allow managers to gain important insight into the type of work and the culture that motivates an individual to engage in, or move away from, job-related tasks. This understanding of a person’s values also provides insight into what drives thought and behavior.

To gain even more insight into a person’s behavior style, pre employment testing can measure behavioral aspects, such as how individuals will approach problems and challenges. This model is used to teach employees at all levels how to recognize another person’s communication style and to communicate with others more effectively.

Finally, the critical thinking assessment measures the ability to solve problems, be innovative and analyze information. It assesses the extent to which various aspects of critical thinking are important for the specific job and provides insight into an individual’s thinking style. Furthermore, the best-in-class critical thinking assessments measure items that are business-related and job relevant.

What are the benefits of pre employment testing?

The fact is businesses have never done as much hiring as they do today or spent as much money doing it. Yet, most aren’t doing as good of a job hiring the right candidates the first time. Companies that continue to rely on resumes as the primary hiring tool will likely continue to struggle with effective hiring and retention, especially when it comes to high volume hiring.

While many companies have used talent assessments when hiring high-level executives within the organization, automated technology has made it possible to apply the same critical assessments or pre employment testing in a high-volume hiring environment as well.

Most companies with high-volume recruiting needs have several challenges in common – higher than average turnover rates for high-volume positions, a large number of applicants and difficult requisition to recruiter ratios. In that environment, companies can’t afford to have recruiters waste time on poor fit candidates.

Modern day hiring needs requires a pre employment testing solution such as the XBL High Volume Assessment Platform that is automated, affordable, and designed specifically to assess cognitive and critical thinking skills pertinent to best-fit hiring. In fact, according to a study by Aberdeen, companies using pre-employment testing solutions are 22% more likely than companies not using these tests to value assessments as having a medium to high impact on improved revenue per Full-Time Employee.

Pre employment testing delivers better HR outcomes, including:

  • Quickly and effectively identify top candidates for the job. Pre employment testing helps recruiters and HR teams reduce the time spent on manual screening or interviewing poor-fit candidates.
  • Benchmark a candidate’s ability to do the job against the required knowledge, skills, and abilities for a specific role, company, and industry.
  • Improve job interviews with targeted, customized interview questions based on a candidate’s pre-employment testing results, allowing interviewers to zero in on important areas or traits pertinent to the job.
  • Ensure diverse and equitable hiring processes using objective, science-backed data that removes inherent biases when simply reviewing a resume.
  • Improve best-fit hiring and reduce turnover through better selection of candidates who are equipped to do the job based on the predictive power of pre-employment testing and science.
  • Eliminate inconsistent screening and hiring and ensure recruiters and hiring managers are working towards the same goals with objective, science-based criteria for each role.
  • Drive exceptional candidate experiences through engaging and user-friendly pre employment testing platforms, reinforce your commitment to hiring and onboarding best practices and promoting ongoing engagement with high-potential candidates.