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Different Types of Pre-employment Tests to Boost Remote Hiring

We categorize different pre-employment tests to aid your company's remote hiring efforts.

Chris Hatler
HR tech researcher, writer and editor
October 26, 2020
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Job interviews have gone completely virtual because of the pandemic. As a result, it’s become difficult to see how well a candidate fits with your company. While video interviewing software has stepped up its game to make the hiring process easier for both hiring managers and talent, you might still miss a few key predictors about potential employees that aren’t always noticeable on video.

Pre-employment assessments are designed to measure off-the-resume intangibles and pre-evaluate job performance. How well does this person’s values really align with your company culture? Do they have the right competencies to excel quickly? Are they actually proficient in the hard skills you require, or are they fluffing their resume?

Software solutions have popped up to answer these questions, from coding interview platforms to cognitive ability tests. We thought we’d break down the different common types of pre-employment screening out there so you can decide what best suits your company and the talent you’re assessing.

Types of Pre-Employment Tests

Skills Assessments

Skills assessments are made to test a job candidate's general work abilities, job-related skills and some soft skills. With a skills tests platform (such as VidCruiter, pictured above), you can administer aptitude tests with text, multiple choice or video questions. In addition, you could test candidates on abilities such as typing speed and document editing.

Job knowledge tests are particularly important in industries that require technical knowledge, such as accounting. Testing a candidate for an open position beforehand saves your hiring team from time-consuming interviews with unqualified applicants.

Using a skills assessment platform allows you to make better hiring decisions. By focusing specifically on skills, your hiring team is automatically left with candidates who have the aptitude and culture fit for job success. In the long run, these assessment tools translate to increased productivity and retention and decreased turnover.

Coding Assessments

Coding tests are full-blown technical assessments for potential developer hires. With these assessments, you can test a candidate’s coding ability and technical skills well before a video interview to ensure they’re actually qualified for the position. Some coding assessments mimic on-the-job work as much as possible, while others gamify the process (including CodeinGame, pictured above).

Certain coding assessment vendors market to specific niches as well. TripleByte for example acts as a marketplace for tech talent, where job seekers take tests and based on their results they may be contacted by potential employers. Another example is Turing, who supplies rigorous coding tests to vet the top 1% of software engineers globally.

Cognitive Ability Tests

Cognitive ability tests attempt to quantify a candidate's ability to learn and apply new knowledge. Unlike an IQ test, they don't measure intelligence but instead measure problem solving ability. Since problem solving is indicative of performance across a diverse range of roles and industries, it can be an incredibly useful tool for almost any company.

Most cognitive ability test platforms offer a few different types of assessments to measure general intelligence:

  • Logical Reasoning: Assesses non-verbal abilities including pattern recognition and detail observation.
  • Spatial Awareness: Evaluates the ability to visualize space and manipulate objects within that space (shown above from Harver’s platform).
  • Verbal Reasoning: Measures aptitude at recognizing verbal patterns and abstract thinking.
  • Numerical Reasoning: Tests insight on numerical patterns and problem solving.
  • Perceptual Speed and Accuracy: Measures ability to efficiently process visual information.

While cognitive ability tests can be incredibly useful, they also have a noticeable pitfall. Candidates can easily google practice tests to prepare for an interview, undermining the whole goal of testing general intelligence and instead becoming a game of test preparation.

Personality Screening

Personality tests give your company insights into a candidate’s values, interests, attitudes, motivation and emotional intelligence. Their purpose is to give you a stronger idea of whether or not they fit into the culture of your company.

Numerous companies have filled this niche with specific solutions. Three of the most well-known are the Myers-Briggs test, the Caliper Profile and the Predictive Index (pictured above). Each have a different way of measuring personality. But all try to achieve the same outcome, which is to identify a candidate’s personality traits and line them up against what is ideal for the role.

These personality tests are meant to guide your decisions, not become the end-all-be-all. Just as no human being is exactly what their resume says, no one is strictly their personality assessment outcome.

Wrapping Up

Pre-employment assessments are a great way to feel out job applicants. However, you shouldn’t rely on pre-employment tests alone to determine the right person for the job. Instead, use test results as a tool to narrow down your talent pool to the potential best fits. By doing so, your hiring team can focus time and energy onto the right applicants, creating a better candidate experience in the process.

We hope you find this guide to pre-employment testing helpful. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send us a note!

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Chris Hatler

Chris was the content marketing manager at SSR between 2020 and 2021 during which time he researched and published in-depth buyer guides to help HR professionals source and buy the best software solutions for their business. He's now a highly sought-after writer and editor based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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