Pre-Employment Tests: Pros and Cons That You Should Know

If you hire or recruit job candidates, then your primary responsibilities involve ensuring that your organization hires the right candidates. This is why it’s important to leverage all of the necessary resources when filling vacant positions.

Perhaps you work in human resources at a growing tech startup. There will likely come a time when you will need to recruit people for managerial roles. If you’re relatively new to the field, then you might not have sufficient experience in hiring people to fill these types of positions. In this case, you might need to consider working with an executive search firm. Enlisting outside help could to make your job easier in these situations.

In addition, it’s a good idea to examine how you can modify or optimize your hiring processes in order to better determine if a candidate is a good fit. One way to do so is to ask applicants to take a pre-employment test before you make a job offer. However, it’s important to understand that this tactic might not be suitable for all organizations and positions. You should consider certain factors when deciding whether or not it will help you achieve your goals.

Here are a few pros and cons of pre-employment screening tests that can enable to you better understand whether or not to incorporate them into your processes:

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While this might be among the most obvious benefits of pre-employment testing, it’s still worth mentioning. When applying for a job, people aren’t always honest about their abilities and qualifications. Some people also overestimate their skills. This can cause problems if you hire someone who doesn’t actually have those skills that are essential to your company’s success.

For example, a job seeker might claim to be proficient in Excel. However, they might not realize that they don’t know nearly as much about Excel as they think that they do. They could be unfamiliar with certain functions that someone who is more experienced in using the software would know.

Therefore, testing job candidates for desirable and necessary skills will provide you with an objective evaluation of their strengths. This is valuable when a position requires specific technical knowledge and abilities.

While there are instances when it’s necessary for a candidate to possess certain skills, you could overlook other ones that might prove more valuable in the long run if you focus solely on those qualifications when administering a pre-employment test.

For example, it’s not uncommon for the strongest employees at a company to be the ones who are willing and able to learn. When they start at a job, some individuals might not possess all the skills and knowledge that would generally prove necessary to thrive in the long term. However, their willingness to keep learning can help them to overcome any deficiencies.

This is important to keep in mind when assessing a candidate’s pre-employment test performance. The results might not provide a complete picture of their capabilities.

As a human being, it’s possible for assumptions and unconscious biases to sometimes affect your decisions. Unconscious bias refers to subconscious and unintentional attitudes about people based on irrelevant factors or learned stereotypes. This can carry over to the recruitment and hiring process. You might unintentionally disregard a candidate because subjective and irrelevant factors made the wrong impression on you, for example.

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When implemented responsibly, pre-employment tests can reduce unconscious bias and subjective factors. As a result, they can prove to be more objective and help to ensure that all qualified candidates have a fair chance of being hired.

Moreover, ensuring objectivity is another reason to coordinate with outside parties like executive search firms when seeking candidates. Working with others can help to minimize the effects of unconscious bias.

A pre-employment test with specific proficiency requirements can help you to develop a better sense of whether or not a candidate is qualified to take a position. Therefore, it would be rare to have a situation in which you would need to use the same assessment test for all candidates.

Perhaps your company is relatively large. You probably have numerous departments and employees, and the odds are good that some staff perform various tasks specific to their area. For example, the work that your marketing department handles most likely does not overlap with the responsibilities of your programmers.

Therefore, it’s important to ensure that pre-employment tests measure the specific skills that candidates need to succeed in the positions for which they’re applying. To do so, it’s a good idea to coordinate with all of the managers in order to develop tests that are unique to each role. This requires an investment of time and resources. However, the more time that you focus on creating effective tests, the less time you will have for other core duties.

Keep in mind that none of these points is intended to either encourage or dissuade you from use pre-employment tests. They’re designed to help you appreciate both the value and potential drawbacks that they provide, which could make it easier for you to decide whether or not to use them in the future.

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