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What Job Seekers Need to Know about Pre-employment Testing
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What Job Seekers Need to Know about Pre-employment Testing
February 3, 2021 at 3:34:14 PM EST   By Marques Coleman

man using a computer

–Guest blog author, Marques Coleman, is a blog writer and specializes in marketing and copywriting. Moreover, he is an avid traveler and always tries to learn something new.

It's nerve-wracking enough to get through a job interview. Learning that you have to complete pre-employment testing can really send your anxiety through the roof. Shouldn't your resume and personality prove that you are capable of doing the job? Not necessarily! That is why so many companies rely on a variety of assessments to ensure they make the right hiring choices.

Why do companies use pre-employment testing?

It costs a company quite a bit of money to hire someone. Every step involved, such as creating a job listing, working with a staffing company, or interviewing candidates, involves an expense or human resources. Then there's the cost of training and onboarding. When a company makes the wrong choice in hiring someone, they end up having to repeat the entire expensive process over again. To put it succinctly, assessment tests help make up for poor judgment on the part of hiring managers. They are designed to thoroughly vet candidates and uncover things that may otherwise be missed.

What kind of things do pre-employment tests uncover?

Every employer uses these tests differently. However, many are trying to learn similar things about applicants.

Can you do the job?

It is quite difficult to truly assess technical competencies in an interview. Even after a lengthy and in-depth interview, a hiring Authority could be left with lots of gaps about your capabilities. On the other hand, if they give you a thorough assessment test that has been designed to measure your technical abilities completely, they will better understand your qualifications.

Are you being honest?

Unfortunately, it isn't entirely uncommon for people to lie on their resumes. Many people can also fake it through an interview. Yes, reference-checking can help, but there are limits. In many cases, previous employers are hesitant to share negative information. Employers may give you an assessment test to be sure you've given valid information about your background and experience.

Will you fit in with your coworkers?

You may be asked to take a test that will assess your personality, work style, and other items to determine whether you will be a cultural fit. These tests are specifically designed to ask questions in ways that reveal things about you that would not be revealed in the course of a normal job interview.

When will you be giving a pre-employment test?

That depends. In some cases, you may be given a skills assessment before you are invited to an interview. This is to screen out any applicants that simply don't meet the qualifications. It's also fairly common for assessments to be given after the first interview. This is often when the hiring process is handed off from Human Resources to members of the department where you will actually work.

As far as personality assessments that are meant to determine cultural fit, these are often given towards the end of the hiring process. At that point, the employer has determined you are capable of doing the job, and you meet the requirements. Now they want to be sure that their instincts about your personality and your ability to work in the team are correct.

Can you prepare for these tests?

This depends. If you think you will be giving a skills test, it is a good idea to refresh your knowledge on a few things. For example, there may be a skill that you don't use on a daily basis. You could try to find some study materials or flashcards on that topic. Start by finding an online resource that you can use to read and possibly assess your own knowledge. When it comes to tests that measure your personality, your best preparation is to simply be well rested and ready to give honest answers. These tests are very well-designed, and the average person cannot fake their way through them.

What do these tests look like?

You may be asked to sit to take a variety of different tests depending on the needs of your employer. One of these is a psychometric test that will measure your personality and behavior. It may also determine your ability to deal with stress or conflict. In the simulation assessment, you will be presented with a relevant scenario and asked to describe how you would respond. There are also aptitude tests. These measure things like your problem-solving skills.

Finally, there are skills tests. These are often designed by subject-matter experts to measure your abilities in your area of expertise.

What should I do if I'm given a pre-employment test?

First, don't be upset or offended. Employers give these tests to be sure they hire the right people. Remember, it's helpful for you to be sure you are hired into a job you are capable of doing and that you will fit into the company culture.

One thing you can do is ask questions. First, ask the interviewer what the test is meant to measure. You can also ask how much time you will have. If they are giving you a skills test or an aptitude test, you may ask if you can have a calculator or extra paper. With some tests, you are better off skipping a question if you don't know the answer. In other instances, it is more beneficial to guess. Get clarification on this. Consider asking if they are keeping the results of the test and how those will be used in the future. For example, they may hold onto the results to see if you qualify for a different position in the near future. Just be aware that HR may not be able to tell you the results of your tests, no matter the outcome.

Final Thoughts

Don't panic if you are told you will need to take a pre-employment test. They are simply tools that employers use to protect their interests and yours. Instead, relax, work carefully, and answer questions as honestly and accurately as possible. You will likely find that you had nothing to worry about.

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