A quick guide to pre-employment screening tests

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A quick guide to pre-employment screening tests

A quick guide to pre-employment screening tests

With 62% of recruiters saying it’s taking longer than usual to fill open positions and a long history of candidates abandoning lengthy, complex recruiting processes, it’s time for HR departments to overhaul their recruiting and hiring methods. 

Resume screening is one process that slows down the entire recruiting cycle. Pre-screening programs are one way in which hiring managers and HR departments can solve the issue of unfilled positions and reduce time to hire.

Want to know more about how pre-employment screening can help you with your recruitment goals? Here’s a quick guide to pre-employment screening tests to get you started. 

What are pre-employment screening tests?

Pre-employment screening tests are an objective, standardized method of determining a candidate’s skills, cognitive abilities, knowledge, personality, and emotional intelligence, all of which are relevant to determining candidates’ suitability for the role. 

Pre-employment assessments automatically rank each applicant according to the results of the tests, helping decision-makers make more informed, data-driven judgments on each applicant’s suitability for the role.

Pre-employment screening tests versus resume screening

Just one job opening can attract hundreds of applicants, which requires recruiters to screen each one to make sure they filter out unsuitable applicants and place the most promising applicants at the top of the pile. Although Applicant Tracking Systems reduce resume screening time, they can also be clunky and unintuitive to use. 

With the job applicant pool at an all-time high, pre-employment screening tests and assessments represent an easier, faster, and fairer way of narrowing down the list of potential candidates. As well as reducing resume screening time, they can also, when relevant, replace phone interviews. 

When to use pre-employment screening tests

Pre-employment screening tests can be used at any point before hiring a candidate. However, when applicants are asked to complete pre-employment screening tests at the top of the hiring funnel, this also helps sort the serious applicants from the “resume spammers”. It’s fair to assume that applicants who take the time to complete the tests are truly interested in the position. 

Moreover, you may discover that while a candidate has a strong resume, they don’t actually have the critical skills required for the position. 

7 types of pre-employment screening tests to use to hire great employees 

Not every open position nor company will require the same range of pre-employment screening testing. Here are seven types of pre-employment tests that can help you make more informed hiring decisions. 

types of pre-employment screening tests to use to hire great employees

Cognitive ability tests

Cognitive ability tests assess a candidate’s capacity for verbal and mathematical reasoning, perception skills, critical thinking abilities, level of attention to detail, and problem-solving skills

For example, for senior roles, these tests evaluate a candidate’s ability to make sound decisions in a fast-paced environment, accounting for multiple moving parts. 

Cognitive ability tests typically consist of short, multiple-choice tests in the form of logic puzzles, reading comprehension tests, or mathematical problems. 

Language tests

Language tests evaluate a candidate’s proficiency with a specific language (Spanish, French, German, etc). They are typically divided into the desired proficiency level, whether that be A1 (beginner), B1 (intermediate),  or native to bilingual (C2). 

Assessing language skills helps you check whether a candidate truly has the language skills written on their CVs. TestGorilla’s language tests have rigorous anti-cheating features built in to make sure test results are as accurate as possible. 

Role-specific tests

Role-specific tests do just what they say on the tin. They test for skills and abilities that are directly relevant to the role they’re applying for. 

From Technical SEO roles to Warehouse Supervisors, these tests evaluate specific skills and knowledge to help whittle down candidate pools. Since each role is so different, these tests can consist of multiple-choice questions, essays, video responses, file uploads, or custom coding questions. 

Situational judgment tests

Situational judgment tests consist of descriptions of a specific situation -- usually around risk, ethics, or stress -- and ask the candidate to answer how they would best handle the situation.  

These tests are aimed at testing a candidate’s theoretical knowledge against theoretical contexts, and help evaluate individuals for managerial and leadership roles. 

Programming skills tests

Programming skills tests assess a candidate’s skill level across specific programming languages and frameworks, such as Python, Ruby on Rails, and TypeScript

These tests help evaluate whether a candidate has the required skill level for the open role, and usually last longer than other types of pre-screening employment tests, and will consist of specific programming questions as well as other problem-solving questions.  

Software skills tests

Software skills tests assess your candidates’ knowledge of the software they will need to use in the role. Almost every role in the modern world requires some kind of software use, from Hubspot to Gmail, Microsoft Word to Shopify. Knowing how well your candidates can use the software they will come across in the role is crucial to understanding how well they will perform. Of course, not every role requires expert knowledge of certain software and the candidate could learn on the job.  

Personality and culture tests

Personality and culture tests offer insights into a candidate’s character and whether their personality fits with that of the wider team and company. These tests are often assigned before the first interview to help hiring teams gain a broader view of the candidate. The results help decision-makers get a better understanding of the candidate’s character, motivations, identity, and more. 

How to use the results of pre-employment screening tests

We answer this question in great detail in our guide to pre-employment testing, but there are two main things you should do once the results are in: 

  • Validate test results first: To check the validity and accuracy of test results, you can have your existing employees with a similar role or skillset take the test.  If your top performers don’t fare so well, then the test is unlikely to help you identify good candidates. 

  • Decide how much weight the test results carry: No hiring team makes hiring decisions on one factor alone. Test results help you identify suitable candidates, but interviews, trial projects, and other assessments will also form the basis of any hiring decision. 

Use pre-employment screening tests for faster, easier, and bias-free hiring decisions 

Relying on traditional resume screening takes far too long and presents too many opportunities to make hiring mistakes. 

It’s time to shake up recruiting and hiring processes. TestGorilla enables you to create highly customized assessments for candidates, that consist of different skills tests and custom questions to help you evaluate candidates and make data-driven hiring decisions. 

To start making faster, easier, and better hiring decisions, get started with TestGorilla for free today.

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