Pre-employment testing seems par for the course for many recruiters or employers seeking to fill positions. These tests often involve technical assessments that gauge skills specific to the advertised role. As part of the recruiting process, pre-employment assessment sounds like a great idea – in theory. But there are cracks in the recruiting process when tests are a foundational deciding factor to a successful application. 

In this article, we uncover the truth about pre-employment testing and assess when and if they should play a role in the recruiting process. 

Are Pre-Employment Tests Worth It?

Firstly, are creating tests worth your company’s time and resources? To create a robust and comprehensive examination, you need staff to design well-constructed, unbiased and relevant evaluations. Are the team assigned to develop these tests including questions that reach the scope of expertise required? Unfortunately, this is only sometimes the case. 

Finding an online solution with pre-designed tests can also take time, and you risk dispatching tests that do not suit your hiring needs and goals. 

Are They Genuine Reflections of The Applicant?

Pre-employment assessment can help in testing some skills. But they are in no way capable of providing details. Skill tests will never compare to a face-to-face interview and conversation where instinctive feelings and sociability play a role. 

Sure, you want someone who has job-specific knowledge. But when the first step in the recruiting process is to automate a compulsory assessment, you can sideline someone who shows initiative, wants to improve their skill and technical expertise, shows grit, responds to constructive feedback and is genuinely personable. A skills-based assessment risks neglecting these desirable soft skills and personality traits.

A conversation with an applicant can more honestly judge personal and genuine representation.

Is Pre-employment Testing Inclusive?

Do assessments consider the capable expert with years of experience but scoring poorly in your test because they have dyslexia? 

GEM Recruiting AI

Neurodivergent individuals use their brains differently from others who do not have these differences. It’s estimated that 15-20 percent of the world’s population displays some form of neurodivergence. 

While neurodivergent individuals may encounter some challenges socially and in the workplace, they possess strengths that can make them highly apt at specific job roles. Some strengths include incomparable memory and information retention, the ability to mentally picture objects easily, impressive problem-solving skills and other highly specialized skills. 

Conditions most common among neurodivergent applicants include:

Level the playing field and debias your recruitment process by deciding whether pre-employment assessments are fair for everyone – neurodivergent individuals and bad test-takers included. 

Can Pre-Employment Assessments Help?

Dean Kulaweera, an IT and Tech Recruiter in Canada, suggests a few ways pre-employment testing can aid in searching for the perfect match. His advice is to those who insist that pre-employment assessments need to be a part of their recruitment process. 

  • Prioritize interviews. When you meet applicants as a first step, they can sell themselves in a conversation and ask questions about the role.
  • How long is the test? Lengthy pre-employment assessments can deter top-tier candidates. Or ambiguous and rushed answers can cause them to fail.
  • Tests can come later once the candidate has more knowledge about your business. An interview can motivate them and help them realize whether they’d be a good fit or not. This can make them more inclined to put effort into a test that assesses their skill within a reasonable amount of time. 
  • Consider your complete recruitment process. If potential candidates have to jump through multiple hoops, this can delay hiring a great person for the job. Exercise efficient and quick recruitments and improve the candidate experience by considering whether pre-assessment tests are a worthy use of your and their time. 

Should Tests be Vital to Your Hiring Decisions?

Finding the right person for your team who will work hard, possess the required skill and fit into the culture of your workspace is a challenge. We get it. Pre-employment testing might have its place when it’s not the main determining factor between a hire or no hire. Along with personality tests, you can roll out skill testing after hiring someone to assess gaps for learning opportunities or to understand their character traits. But when these skill tests are more valuable than an interview, you risk excluding capable and brilliant candidates for various reasons. 

Practicing unbiased, inclusive recruitment processes that consider the candidate’s experience is in your hands. This will make for more successful hires and happier applicants from day one. 

Jenna-lea Kelland

Jenna-lea is a freelance content editor, writer, and master multi-tasker based in the wonderful city of Cape Town. She has written about various topics, both in print and online. When the laptop shuts, she enjoys dips in the ocean, thrilling novels, or exploring the coastal towns and foodie hubs with her family.