Is Pre-Employment Testing Really Needed?

Julie Shenkman
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Many employers conduct pre-employment testing that includes an evaluation of emotional intelligence, skill-based knowledge, personality and cognitive abilities. Companies use testing to screen applicants to ensure they fit with the company culture and to decrease the need for an excessive amount of supplemental training. Utilize pre-employment evaluations during the hiring screening process to increase the odds that potential employees will be successful.

Employers cite pre-employment testing as a cost-effective strategy during the hiring screening process, according to Career Coach Lisa Quast with Forbes. Personality tests and emotional intelligence evaluations pinpoint how candidates respond to stress, problem solve and work with teams, which reduces the risk of conflicts in the workplace that may lead to costly terminations. Skill-based testing can uncover areas where the candidate excels and needs additional training. Employees with basic skills can save the company funds that are often used for workshops, seminars and one-on-one training. For example, a business hiring an administrative assistant may administer typing tests and software application modules to determine if the candidate has the speed and skills to succeed in a fast-paced office environment without the need for supplemental training.

Pre-employment testing also helps to decrease turnover in the workplace. Employees who have the basic skills necessary to excel with daily tasks are more likely to achieve goals and accomplish tasks that enhance employee morale. Companies may find it costly and time consuming to incorporate pre-employment testing into the hiring process. However, by utilizing the results of these tests to determine the best fit for the position, training and hiring costs are often decreased, providing a more cost-efficient return on investment.

Pre-employment evaluations also eliminate unqualified candidates who may look like an ideal fit on paper, but in reality, lack the skills necessary to perform the job. Skill and knowledge-based assessments also help human resource departments scale down the pool of candidates in an efficient manner, especially when testing is conducted prior to the interview process.

Pre-employment testing is only successful if hiring managers choose reliable tests that certify validity. For example, the assessments given to candidates must meet Equal Employment Opportunity laws to eliminate any discrimination and avoid offensive or overly personal questions. Employers should also avoid using the test results as the only means to evaluate candidates. A comprehensive overview of the candidate's skills and accomplishments as noted on resumes, cover letters and testing results should be evaluated before a final decision is made.

A comprehensive plan to incorporate pre-employment testing into hiring practices is necessary when seeking qualified candidates. Employers who can measure the validity of assessments yet still seek out soft skills that are not always able to be tested can ensure an ideal pool of candidates when hiring.

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