Updated: Sep 25, 2021
At a time of record unemployment, posting a job opening may very well result in your company being swamped by responses. Many of the responses you receive will belong to very competent, accomplished professionals who would be a great fit for your job, but these responses can be difficult to find if you have to wade through dozens of other job responses from people who aren’t such a good fit. Pre-employment testing can help sort through the applications you’ve received to find the best candidates for your job and ultimately, make better hires faster.
What are Pre-Employment Tests?
A pre-employment test is any test that objectively measures a job applicant's skills and abilities. Many of these tests can be administered as part of the application process when someone responds to your job opening. Testing allows employers to focus on the applicants who are more likely to be a good fit for your company. By asking the same questions of every candidate who applied to a specific job, pre-employment tests eliminate concerns about bias and favoritism while allowing a company to screen for the level of knowledge and experience that is needed for the position.
There’s a pre-employment test for every aspect of a job that you can think of, from typing tests to database architecture. Testing can also be used to measure the kinds of skills that aren’t so easily quantified, like integrity, communication, and logic skills. An employer is free to create and use pre-employment tests in whatever way makes sense for their company so long as they follow the law, and all applicants for a particular job are asked the same questions. Make sure you work with your HR department and your testing provider to remain in compliance with state and federal law.
The Advantages of Pre-Employment Testing
There are several advantages to pre-employment testing, for both employers and potential job candidates.
1. Testing shortens your hiring process
By using pre-employment tests you can shorten the length of your interview process. Pre-employment tests tell you which applicants have the skills and the personality traits that may make them a good fit for your company as well as the position they’ve applied to. Not only does this save time for your company, but it also allows you to notify job applicants about their status and if they’ve been selected to continue with the hiring process. Failure to keep job applicants informed about their interview status is a major source of candidate frustration. A more efficient hiring process has been shown to increase candidate engagement and will make it less likely that good candidates will disappear before your company can act on them.
2. Testing provides an objective measurement for your applicants
Pre-employment tests are truly objective. Tests aren’t impressed by a candidate’s academic background or where they’ve worked. They don’t see gender, race, religion, or any other personal characteristic that might be used unfairly against an applicant. This objectivity helps your hiring process remain compliant and shields your company from lawsuits.
3. Testing can increase employee retention
Some pre-employment tests, like customer simulation tests, can give candidates insight into what working for your company might be like on a day-to-day basis. This gives candidates the opportunity to opt-out of the interview process rather than accept an offer of employment and later quit because they’re dissatisfied.
By hiring people who are better suited to the position you’re trying to fill and who is a better fit for working for your company, you can decrease your rate of employee turnover, as well as decrease your time and cost to hire.
Types of Pre-Employment Tests
There are several different types of pre-employment tests that your company can use. However, in general, pre-employment tests come in five different types:
1. Job-specific tests
These tests measure the abilities of a job applicant in relation to the job description. While there are some skills that every employee should have, such as the ability to work well in a team environment, there are other skills that are more specific to the position they’ve applied to. For instance, if you’re looking to hire an accountant, your testing would likely involve math and questions on general accounting principles. If you’re hiring for a customer service representative, you’d likely look at typing ability and stress management.
2. Technical Skills
A recent study shows that nearly one in three US workers have very weak, or almost non-existent, computer skills. They may be able to use some computer applications well, such as those that are often found on phones and tablets, but they’re at a disadvantage when it comes to the kind of software that’s used in business. A lack of ability in these areas can cause significant disruption to your team.
3. Communication Skills
The importance of the ability to clearly communicate in business can’t be overstated. Whether that communication is written (in emails, white papers, and reports) or verbal (in phone calls, presentations, or everyday communication), business success often hinges on the ability of employees to make themselves understood and to understand other employees.
4. Cognitive ability tests
Cognitive ability tests, like the General Aptitude Test, measure a candidate’s thinking abilities. These tests look at a potential employee’s reading comprehension and math skills as well as their use of logic, perceptual speed, and situational judgment. A cognitive ability test could be considered a type of work-place IQ test.
5. Personality tests
A successful employee must have the ability to fit in and work well with your team. Meshing with a particular group of people doesn’t happen automatically, rather, it comes from things like adaptability, teamwork skills, stress management, and empathy. Personality tests measure a potential employee’s abilities in these areas, which can help you select candidates who are more likely to contribute to your team and be a successful employee.
Pre-employment testing can be a game-changer for your next hire. Being able to target candidates who are more likely to succeed with your company helps you save time and effort and results in employees who are more likely to be engaged with your company. How can you go wrong?
Optimum Staffing Solutions
Optimum Staffing Solutions can help both candidates, as well as employers, with placing accounting positions. For the best staffing agencies in Greensboro, NC, as well as for the best staffing agencies in Charlotte, NC, contact Optimum Staffing Solutions. A Greensboro temp agency, as well as a Charlotte temp agency, Optimum, can provide your company with a highly skilled contract, temporary, or direct hire professional along with HR Services. Of the temp agencies in Greensboro, NC,
and of the temp agencies in Charlotte, NC, Optimum offers small to medium-sized businesses a wealth of talent to fill their positions.
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