Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Should You Use Pre-Employment Tests?

The hiring process can be daunting, especially when so much of it has to do with subjective factors. Sure, years of experience and college degrees are measurable variables of employability. But measuring problem solving ability, communication skills, and even basic technical know-how can be tricky. This is where a variety of pre-employment tests can seem like a life-saver. Pre-employment tests come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are all designed to make your hiring process easier. So, do they? Let’s take a look at a few different types of pre-employment tests, and how they can help (or hinder) your hiring process.

Some of the most common types of aptitude tests are tests that measure abilities with technology. For example, a pre-employment test could measure a candidate’s ability to use a computer program like Word or Excel. These tests are great in that they give employers a concrete way of testing whether or not a candidate has the skills that he/she claims to have.

Pre-employment skills tests like this can also be adapted to your specific workplace. Will your new hire need to write well under a deadline? Give him/her a writing assignment to be completed in a certain amount of time (on-site or remote), and then use the writing sample to help in the hiring process. These types of pre-employment tests can be great ways to quantify a candidate’s skills, and to avoid discriminatory situations during the hiring process.

Speaking of discriminatory situations… when choosing which tests you might like to give, it is important to ensure that the tests come from a reputable company, and have been proven to produce consistent and valid results. Also be sure that all tests comply with Equal Employment Opportunity laws, and avoid any tests that seem offensive or overly personal in nature.

Some tests aim to determine personality types. While these tests can be useful, they are among the most criticized when it comes to discrimination in the hiring process. Many of these tests are also not designed for use in the hiring process. The Meyers-Briggs test, for instance, was developed for training and development; not hiring. Furthermore, the results of these personality tests may be difficult to apply to your needs for a particular position. As Business Insider points out, “if someone is applying for a firefighter position, the employer wants to know if that person has the potential of breaking down during an emergency. In other professions, however, it can be more difficult to determine the most efficient personality for the specific job. For example, what personality makes someone a good computer programmer? This is difficult to answer.”

Do you use pre-employment tests in your hiring process? Spark a conversation below.

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Kristin Anderson

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.