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How to Start Using Pre-Employment Tests Quickly
February 16, 2015 7:00:00 PM EST   By Shoa Appelman
Pre-employment testing work samples

It's exciting to hire, but the thought of hiring the wrong person can be daunting. And expensive. And time-consuming. Fortunately, there is an effective, fast way to make the right hiring decisions: pre-employment tests.

Tests are the Best Predictors of Performance

Google's Senior Vice President of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, writes, "Work sample tests are actually the best predictor of performance, followed by tests of cognitive ability, which are best assessed using structured interviews."

What is a work sample test? A work sample test, or a job simulation, is a test that measures how well you complete tasks you would do on the job.

Applicants complete tasks that are similar to tasks they would complete when actually working in the position on a day to day basis. For example, for a secretary position, a job simulation might involve typing a passage and completing forms accurately. For a waitress position, a simulation may involve taking a fake customer’s order correctly, or processing a check. Job simulations can also evaluate interpersonal skills, such as resolving an agitated customer’s complaint.

By using job simulations, employers can evaluate whether a job candidate can do the job, rather than guess based on interview answers and personality questionnaires.

When to Use a Pre-Employment Test

Pre-employment tests can be used as screening tools, before the interview, or they can be used after the interview, as a final step before issuing the offer.

Before the Interview: Pre-employment Tests for Screening

If you have a lot of applicants, congratulations! Having a lot of applicants suggests you have done a good job posting your job and establishing your company as a desirable place to work. Well done. The more applicants you have to choose from, the more likely you are to find an applicant who will be a good addition to your team.

However, having a lot of applicants also means that you have a lot of resumes to sort through. And resumes are not a great predictor of success. Resumes may help you weed out some candidates that are not a good fit. However, for the most part, resumes do not help you identify the top candidates.

If you have a lot of applicants, use pre-employment tests early in the application process. Insert a link to the pre-employment test in your job posting. That way, you can sort the candidates in order of score and decide which resumes to review first.

Pre-employment test results

Additionally, the test scores can help you identify candidates that might be a good fit, but who lack the five years of experience you suspect the role requires. Candidates who perform well are candidates that can learn quickly and can be a valuable contribution to the team who might not otherwise be noticed in the hiring process.

If you have already narrowed down your applicant pool, use a pre-employment test to learn more about your applicants, quickly. Once you know who you want to bring in, give the candidates a call and email them a link to the assessment. A good pre-employment test will tell you about the candidate and even provide an interview guide that helps you probe during the interview process.

Before the Final Offer: Pre-employment Tests for Selection

You can also use a pre-employment test after you have interviewed your candidates. Some candidates do not interview well. And that's okay for a lot of positions, because an applicant does not have to be good in high pressure interviews to be a good employee. An employment test helps them demonstrate their job-related skills.

Some hiring managers have a tendency to like everyone they interview. That's not okay, because that's how bad hiring decisions are made. Additionally, gut instincts are the worst predictors of success on the role, because everyone has biases.

To be safe, or even to confirm your gut instincts, send your top applicants an employment test as a final step in the process. This way you can have objective data to confirm your important hiring decision.

How to Use Pre-Employment Tests, Quickly

There are several types of pre-employment tests available. And some companies have a lengthy set-up procedure that can takes months to implement. Between the job analysis phase, test-writing, and administrator training on how to use the platform to administer tests and review results, implementing a pre-employment test into the hiring process can take 3-4 months, and oftentimes even longer.

HR Avatar makes it possible to start testing in minutes. I'm going to write that again, using bigger font:

HR Avatar Makes it Easy to Start Testing In Minutes

Step 1: Register for a free account.
You can register by using this link: https://www.hravatar.com/ta/user/freetrial.xhtml
You'll only be asked to provide your name, company, and company email address and log in information to send tests and receive reports.

Step 2: Confirm your email address.
We need to make sure you are a real person, who can receive test results. One simple click will confirm your email address.

Step 3: Log in, and select your test by selecting the job title.
You can access our test catalog here or click on the Tests button at the top of the screen.
Simply enter in the job title you are hiring for in the Search field, or peruse our catalog at a leisurely pace.

Pre-employment Test Catalog Screen

Other testing companies offer a combination of different tests for evaluating your applicants. Having to determine which test to use can be confusing. By using O*Net's extensive database of job analysis HR Avatar makes the process of selecting the test easier. Simply pick your job title, and the test will include all of the competencies that will help you determine whether the candidate will be a good fit for the position.

Step 4: Administer the Test
Click Administer the Test to enter in your job applicant's name and email address. We offer more bells and whistles, but you don't need them.

Send a test screen

After you've filled in the required information and clicked "Send," your applicant will be emailed a test link. Once the test is complete, you will be emailed a detailed report with the results.

Step 5: Read the Report
A report will be emailed to you upon test completion. The reports are designed to be easy-to-read, so you don't need training to understand the results. Also, structured interview questions are provided based on the candidate's scores so that you can probe in any trouble areas during the interview process.

To see a sample report from one of our tests, click on the image below. (Click to view the full detailed sample report.)

Employment-test-report

Want to Time It Yourself?

If you've read this far, and you're skeptical, that's fine! Sign up for a Free Trial on HR Avatar and take a test! Try a test for yourself and see how quickly you can start testing applicants. Also, evaluate the test and the results. And please let us know what you think. You can let us know in the comments here, contact us, or give us a call at (703) 349-3070. We would love to hear from you.

Shoa Appelman

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