An Introduction to Pre-employment Assessments

Hiring Jun 23, 2019

Why should hiring managers use pre-employment testing or assessments? The answer is simple — organizations can significantly increase the likelihood of hiring high-quality candidates by using assessments to help screen and select the best candidates for jobs. Administered correctly, pre-employment testing can help organizations save time and cost in the selection process, decrease employee turnover, increase productivity, and improve morale.

What are pre-employment assessments?

Pre-employment assessments are used to screen job applicants and can include testing of cognitive abilities, knowledge, work skills, physical and motor abilities, personality, emotional intelligence, language proficiency, and even integrity. Organizations use assessments to find the candidates most likely to succeed in the open positions and to screen out those who are unqualified.

Why are they used?

By helping companies identify the “right” candidates — those most likely to perform well on the job — pre-employment testing can lead to additional benefits, such as saving time and cost in the selection process, decreasing turnover, and even improving morale.

Image Source : HollandParlette

What are the key issues in using pre-employment assessments?

While there can be dramatic benefits gained from using testing in the employee selection process, there are two potential issues organizations need to understand prior to implementing any assessments.

The first issue is validity, i.e., whether or not the test measures the specific criterion it is supposed to measure and can predict future job performance or success. Validity should be proven prior to the assessment being implemented. This is usually done by calculating the validity coefficient — i.e., the correlation between the test scores and predicted job performance. The higher the number the greater the likelihood that those who do well on the test do well in performing the job and those who score poorly on the test perform poorly on the job.

The second issue is reliability, i.e., the consistency with which a test measures an item. For a test to be reliable, an individual’s score should be about the same every time the individual takes it. If someone takes the test on one day and scores high, then takes the test a week later and receives a low score, the test is probably not very reliable. A test should consistently measure traits; otherwise, it will be of little value in predicting a candidate’s future job performance. As with validation, test reliability should be proven prior to the test is implemented.

Image Source: Measurement and Measurement Scales

Tips for using pre-employment assessment:

Here are four tips to help ensure pre-employment testing delivers the desired business outcomes:

1. Conduct thorough research when purchasing tests from vendors

2. Choose the right tests and ensure they are valid and reliable

3. Avoid tests that have questions of an overly personal nature or that may be considered offensive

4. Do not rely solely on test results to choose candidates

PerspectAI is a powerful game-based assessment tool for data-driven talent decisions. The tool helps organizations increase the likelihood of hiring high-quality candidates through efficient and cost-effective game-based assessments.

To know more on how you can bring an in-depth data-driven assessment to your talent management processes, click here.

Assessments for Work is a 4-part series written by Dr. Puranjaya Singh, Chief Strategy Officer, at PerspectAI. The series takes a deep dive into how assessments can help organizations make better talent decisions. Look out for the next edition of the series on 30th June.


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