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If you are in the job market searching for a new position, be prepared! Your next employer may require that you take a battery of tests to help determine your eligibility for a new position. These tests generally are designed to assess job-related skills. The process may actually benefit you as well as your potential new employer as they are designed to match the employer’s needs with the candidate’s skills and interests.

Usually the pre-employment tests can be completed in less than an hour, but some may require 90 minutes. Most are Internet-based, but a few may still use pencil and paper.

Pre-testing, when used, is an important part of the hiring process. But John Saterfiel, a La Place, Lousiana-based consultant in the pre-employment testing industry, says, “We recommend that it comprise no more than 30% of the decision-making process.”

Further, Saterfiel points out that, “Employment personality assessments are used for purposes such as training and development, customer service testing, career assessment, reducing employee turnover, leadership development, applicant screening, and as a supplement to commercially provided background checks. Good pre-employment personality assessments and sales aptitude assessments are behaviorally based as opposed to the standard personality test or profile testing inventory which may only have face validity.”

Sateffiel also points out that personality testing may include areas of interest such as: “Energy, drive, ability to handle tension and stress, integrity, reliability, dependability, work ethic, ability to plan and use time wisely, interest in meeting and interfacing with other people, self-confidence, ability to handle pressure, assertiveness, competitiveness, mental toughness, ability to ask questions and motivation.”

“Behavioral testing provides for a more predictable outcome when used for screening applicants for employment. Many times the behaviors outlined in the employment testing report can be confirmed through background screening reports or subsequent reference checks. Structured interviews and behavioral interviewing are very subjective processes. By using validated employment tests and assessment tools, a company adds a much needed element of objectivity, especially regarding management evaluations.”

A personality test may use the same question asked in several ways to determine the truthfulness of the candidate’s answers.

Many employers have found that it is important to test basic skills when hiring for a particular position. A basic skills test can assure that a company hires a candidate that has the skills and abilities needed to perform the job, and perform it well. It’s a “win/win” for both the employer and candidate, as these tests reduce turnover rates, save money on training expenses, plus streamline the hiring process.

EmploymentSkillsOnlineTest.com points out that as a company’s retention rate increases, the costs associated with re-hiring and re-training a new employee are substantially reduced. The better the fit of the new employee to the position, the less likely they are to leave.

Although companies need to be careful of legal issues that could arise if the tests are not valid, reliable, or properly implemented, these tests can prove to be a valuable tool in assessing a potential new employee. These tests can test almost anything imaginable, from cognitive abilities, knowledge, work skills, motor abilities, personality, emotional intelligence, language proficiency and even integrity. Drug testing for many companies has become a part of the pre-employment process as well.

From the Pre-Employment Testing Process for MD Anderson Cancer Center, we find that “The testing process is designed to measure various skills and abilities that are important to performing clerical, secretarial and technical jobs.”

Testing areas include coding, computer literacy, alphanumeric number, medical spelling, corrective proofreading, and following written instruction. Many tests assess basic mathematics, punctuation, and English comprehension.

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