Clients often tell me that it can be difficult to accurately assess the competencies of job candidates during the selection process.  It is not until new hires are ‘tested’ on the job, that the new hire’s true strengths and weaknesses emerge. An employer’s risk of making a “wrong” decision can be lowered by testing applicants before extending a job offer.  Without conducting proper due diligence, employers waste valuable time and money, and also risk losing high potential candidates who may be wrongly assessed during the selection process due to individual rater biases, or lack of recruitment knowledge.

Once employers have narrowed the pool of candidates, they can gather objective data through employment testing.  A trained HR professional can administer these tests to support employers in making a more informed new hire decision.  Employee assessment tests include:

  • Aptitude: Tests a candidate’s ability to learn or become skilled.  This allows an employer to predict an applicant’s job performance in areas such as customer service, sales potential, managing people, etc.
  • Personality: Tests personality traits that are often associated with successful job performance.  For example, assessments may measure traits such as attention to detail, social extroversion, emotional intelligence, motivation, integrity, leadership potential, ability to handle stress, tendency to follow rules, analytical thinking, energy, flexibility, teamwork, initiative, etc.
  • Cognitive: Tests verbal (writing and speaking), quantitative (working with numbers), and reasoning (critical thinking and problem solving) abilities.
  • Work samples: Job candidates may be requested to submit previous work products as examples of their work quality.  This is sometimes challenging due to intellectual ownership of work products by previous employers; however, sometimes school work products are used; or the employee receives permission from their previous employer to provide a work sample.
  • Job simulation: Tests ability to perform specific job tasks by creating a “mock” task modeled on the day-to-day responsibilities of the job.  For example, a data analyst may be given some fabricated data to analyze and identify trends and key findings.  This can be used to assess their analysis skills, ability to use certain software applications, and also a candidate’s ability to work effectively under time constraints and under pressure.

While tests can be very helpful in making an informed hire decision, it is important that applicants be informed as to how testing is used in the selection process.  Applicants must agree to be tested by providing written consent.  They must also be allowed to access test results and receive feedback as to how decisions were made based on tests used.

To find out more information on employee assessments available, you may contact a Certified Human Resources Professional.