6 Types of Pre-Employment Screening

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Posted by: David Garcia

Topics: Background Check 101, Human Resources, Recruitment

When it comes to the recruitment process, there is nothing more critical to a company than finding the right candidate. However, this goes far beyond qualifications alone. You need to know that your new hire is fit for the task and the company culture before welcoming them into your team.

The best way to achieve this is through pre-employment screening. The process involves not only vetting a candidate using background checks but also testing them before hiring. These tests provide direct insight into how an employee operates in a professional setting, providing you with the information you need to confidently bring them into your business. 

So what types of pre-employment screening tests might improve the likelihood of your organization finding a stellar fit? Let's get into further detail. 

What Is Pre-Employment Screening?

Pre-employment screening occurs before you officially start your employment. What this screening consists of varies between employers, but they all share the common function of assessing a candidate's viability for the role.

The vetting involves either practical or theoretical tests or a mixture of the two. They evaluate the candidate's skill, personality, and behavior before employment. 

Pre-employment evaluations are more effective than interviews for assessing potential. It’s why so many organizations are incorporating them into their recruitment processes

Why Do Employers Use Pre-Employment Screening?

There are many reasons employers use pre-employment screening tests, but they all fall under the same umbrella: quality verification. 

These tests are similar to background checks in that they vet applicants. However, the tests aim to understand how a prospective employee may perform after hiring rather than what came before. 

We have listed some key benefits below to give you more insight into what motivates employers to conduct pre-employment screening.

Streamlines the Hiring Process

Say the term ‘hiring process' in front of any HR department, and you'll probably see a wince. It's a stressful time for everyone involved. You are reviewing seemingly endless applications trying to find the best possible candidate to fill the offered role. It can be overwhelming at the best of times.

By utilizing pre-employment screening tests, organizations can efficiently reduce their application numbers. Setting a minimum score that applicants must achieve ensures only a few advance to the next round. 

After the tests, you only interview the very best. A handful of applications won't be nearly as intimidating when you know that each one has proven their due diligence ahead of time. 

Ensures High-Quality Hires

You also improve the quality by reducing the number of applications coming through based on test performance. Any applicants that don't meet your exacting standards are removed from the process in advance, potentially before you even get to the interview stage.

While this may sound a little cutthroat, it's necessary for business. You can't hire every candidate, and even if you could, where does that leave the ones genuinely qualified for the position? 

Pre-employment screening enables you to hire the very best through unbiased testing. It's arguably the fairest way to complete the hiring process. 

Increased Productivity from Staff

When you are working with the best, you get the best results. By utilizing pre-employment screening tests, you can rest assured that the candidates you hire are up to the task. They should possess the skills to fulfill the role to the standard you deem appropriate. 

Many organizations believe that interviewing alone is enough to grant insight into a candidate's abilities. It should come as no surprise that this isn't the case. Some people are excellent at interviews and can present themselves as far more competent than they are. 

No amount of charisma can override test results from a screening process, making it an excellent way of evaluating ability. It will pay off further down the line by ensuring you bring on team members who boost productivity, not detract from it. 

Improved Employee Retention

Finally, you will likely notice improved employee retention using pre-employment screening tests. It may surprise you that your hiring process can affect how long your employees stick around, but it's true. Employees are far more likely to stick around when you focus on career progression rather than promotion. Pre-employment tests can extract that information in a way that you might not get in an interview from an applicant saying what they think you want to hear. 

It isn't just the new employee that will benefit from higher retention either. Whenever you introduce someone new into the work environment, your previous employees will respond. Whether this is a positive or negative reaction depends on the quality and professionalism of the new addition. 

When you ensure you only make quality hires who want to grow with the company, you also keep the rest of your team happy.

6 Types of Pre-Employment Tests

There are many pre-employment tests, all with specific applications and intentions. To give you some insight into this scope, we have identified six categories that tests may fall into and why organizations use them. 

Integrity Test 

These are some of the most common tests designed to measure how reliable a potential employee will be. One of the ways you can achieve this is via a questionnaire, encouraging the candidate to consider varying ethical viewpoints and share their thoughts on them. 

The questions featured in these tests highlight a candidate's moral compass and whether they may act unethically in a professional setting. 

There are two distinct kinds of integrity tests that companies may use. These are as follows:

  • Overt Integrity Tests: These questionnaires ask direct questions about a candidate's history, mainly focusing on how they behaved in previous roles. These questionnaires don’t attempt to hide their purpose.
  • Covert Integrity Tests: These tests conceal their true purpose by masquerading as harmless personality tests. The answers to the questions, however, can help to paint a picture of a candidate, providing insight into how they may respond to ethical quandaries.

Personality Test

As we mentioned above, any new introduction to a team will change the dynamic. Whether this is for better or worse is hard to predict, but the proper tests can help. 

While a personality test might sound like a bit of fun at first, we aren't talking about the kind you might complete online. Instead, these tests aim to assess the candidate's character and whether they are a fit for the company culture.

For instance, some employers always favor a rule-abiding, professional attitude, whereas others are a little more liberal and encourage free thinking. A personality test reveals how seamlessly your prospective candidate will fit into your current team. 

Some of the most popular personality tests used for this include:

  • The Myers-Briggs Indicator
  • The Caliper Profile
  • The Hogan Personality Inventory

Though the psychology behind these tests is debatable, they are still helpful for providing deeper insight into applicants' preferences and how they view themselves. 

Cognitive Test

The primary focus of a cognitive test is to adjudicate how effective a candidate is at problem-solving and verbal reasoning under pressure. These tests often assess applicants for managerial positions, where they will be required to make decisions quickly and effectively.

The General Aptitude Test (GAT) is a good example of a popular cognitive test. It measures how effectively a candidate can reason with various strategies. It includes verbal, logical, and numerical reasoning. 

Other cognitive tests may also consider spatial awareness and perceptual speed as part of their criteria. 

Job Knowledge Test

This test endeavors to discover how much a candidate understands the role. These tests are especially important for positions within a specific field. They evaluate an applicant’s deep theoretical and practical understanding. 

These tests are prevalent within the legal sector for this very reason. They test the candidate's knowledge of the law and its application to specific situations. 

Physical Ability Test

These are less common than other pre-employment screening tests but apply to roles requiring a particular fitness level. They usually evaluate an applicant's cardiovascular health, balance, muscle strength, stamina, and other relevant medical information. 

You will often find these kinds of tests for emergency services or military roles where physical aptitude could be a lifesaving skill.

Skill Assessment Test

Lastly, skill assessments reveal how effectively candidates can use their transferable skills. These skills should emerge from previous experience in educational and professional settings and can cover a broad basis. 

For example, the test may seek to evaluate non-specific skills such as communication and leadership. Alternatively, they may target something in particular such as sales tactics or computer coding. These tests are favorable as they provide direct insight into your candidate’s skillset. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Types of Pre-Employment Tests are There?

Too many to count accurately, and more are under development all the time. Employers are constantly looking for new ways to ensure the quality of their employees, so pre-employment tests continue to develop and increase!

What is the Most Popular Pre-Employment Test Given?

By quite a wide margin, the most popular pre-employment test is the personality test. It is the most accessible and easily understood while providing vital information to employers. It grants insight into how an applicant performs without seeming intimidating or off-putting, which is the last thing you want to put a valuable candidate through. 

The Importance of Pre-Employment Screening

Without pre-employment screening tests, it's hard to know whether your new employee is a rising star or a bad fit. If interviews are the only step in your recruitment process, you will inevitably miss crucial information. 

Beyond having qualifications and experience on paper, candidates need to prove that they are a cultural fit and can enact their skills in a professional setting. Pre-employment testing can deliver these insights.

For more on pre-employment screening, including the background check process, contact ScoutLogic. Our wide range of screening services ensures you find the right fit for your organization. 

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