3 min read

Pre-Employment Testing Can Save Your Hiring Process. Here’s How.

Large application pools make hiring tough. Some job openings have so many applicants that evaluating all of them individually can cost human resources and the hiring committee countless hours of work.

The traditional types of hiring processes still have their place. Résumé screens, interviews, and personality assessments can provide useful information, but they’re not without their flaws. Interviews, for example, are considered the cornerstone of hiring practices, yet the majority of candidates lie during their interviews.

A modern, effective hiring strategy is pre-employment testing. What is a pre-employment assessment? It is a process in which applicants perform a series of tests to determine whether they have the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to succeed in the position for which they’re applying. 

When they’re used correctly, these tests are an objective way to evaluate prospective hires. Rather than reading between the lines on a résumé or guessing at the truth in an interview, pre-employment tests use artificial intelligence and machine learning to gauge an applicant’s ability based on specific criteria.

The Benefits of Pre-Employment Testing

Keep in mind that pre-employment testing is a new field, so regulations are still being developed. Setting standards is essential in pre-employment testing; when misused, these tests can discriminate unfairly against certain applicants. It’s the responsibility of the employer to use tests that reliably evaluate candidates. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures spell out what constitutes acceptable testing.

When used correctly, however, a pre-employment assessment can significantly reduce cost and time. On top of that, it can lead to more accurate evaluations. Here are four benefits of pre-employment testing. 

1. Reduce the applicant pool. Applicant pools can be huge, and not all applicants merit attention. In fact, 52% of applicants are underqualified, according to an analysis by Lever. Why interview an applicant who does not possess the basic skills needed on day one?

Pre-employment testing brings the applicant pool down to a more manageable number of “prequalified” candidates who fit the job description. From there, recruiters can use more intensive and expensive selection techniques more effectively. 

To prequalify these candidates, focus on KSAOs: knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics. If applicants can prove they have these attributes before the interview, it will save everyone a lot of time. 

2. Focus your efforts. Bad hires can cause a lot of problems. Even if they’re nice people, mistakes and extended training time for unqualified new hires can cost a lot. Even worse, a hire who doesn’t fit the culture could spoil morale in the company and hinder productivity.

These mismatches of ability and attitude might be discovered during an interview. But interviews can waste time and resources. Imagine blocking off a few hours of time and flying in a candidate — only to discover that she isn’t a good fit in the first few minutes of the conversation. A well-designed pre-employment test can gather that same information without such a significant expenditure.

It’s worth it to be careful with your hiring decisions, but it’s also important to focus your efforts on the candidates who are right for your company. 

3. Verify claims. Let’s say a candidate charmed you during the interview and his résumé looks good. But once he starts working, he fails to perform the required tasks. The bullet point on the résumé and the assurance in the interview were poor predictors of actual ability.

Unfortunately, some candidates intentionally deceive hiring committees. In fact, 75% of HR managers find lies on résumés, per a survey by CareerBuilder. Pre-employment testing can ensure that candidates actually possess the skills they claim. Typing words per minute is one example. A typing test completed before the interview will provide that exact number.

4. Increase retention and satisfaction. A bad fit for the job is miserable for employers and employees. Even if an employer is willing to put up with extra training and poor performance from new hires, those employees might still leave on their own if they’re unhappy.

In this way, pre-employment testing is beneficial for applicants as well. If the test accurately replicates the duties of the job, applicants will know exactly what to expect in the role. If it’s not something that they’d be happy doing, they might back out of the hiring process themselves to avoid trouble down the line. 

Technology has saved time and money in several sectors, but most hiring is based on the old standards of the résumé and interview. Those two cornerstones still have their place: It’s important to see a list of qualifications and meet an applicant in person. But pre-employment testing is another tool that can make the whole process faster, easier, and more accurate.

Contact us to learn how TestGenius can help reduce your time to hire.