Talk to Us: (877) 225-8978
Talent Acquisition

A Guide to Pre-Employment Testing: Top Tests for Screening Candidates

Explore the world of pre-employment assessment to find the right candidates.

With the job market more competitive than ever, it might come as no surprise that 72% of people have admitted to lying on their resumes. One excellent tool to help hiring managers combat this unfortunate truth is pre-employment assessment tests. These are a powerful way to help evaluate candidates — rather than making hiring decisions based on resumes and cover letters alone. 

To help you find the best candidates, let’s take a deep dive into the types of pre-employment tests and how you can use them to improve your business’s hiring process.

Understanding pre-employment testing

It’s impossible to fully know what an employee’s job performance will be like until they actually begin the job. But, screening candidates to determine if they’re a good fit for the job and business is still a vital part of the hiring process.

From one-on-one job interviews to resume parsing, businesses use plenty of tools and methods to assess potential candidates and get an accurate idea of their skills and qualifications. Pre-employment tests are one candidate assessment tool that can provide many valuable insights.

Popular types of pre-employment tests

There are many types of pre-employment tests that you can use to gauge everything from a candidate’s skills and industry knowledge to their cognitive abilities to their personality type. These test results help businesses gain a much deeper understanding of the job candidates and make informed hiring decisions.

In the sections below, we’ll break down a few of the most popular types of pre-employment tests.

Cognitive ability tests

Cognitive ability assessments test candidates on their mental aptitude and problem-solving skills. These tests explore a candidate’s ability to think critically, solve problems, and process information, covering areas like verbal, numerical, abstract, and logical reasoning.

However, cognitive ability tests don’t typically test a candidate on job-related knowledge or information pertaining to their specific job. Instead, these tests provide an overall evaluation of a job candidate’s mental capacities. These tests are similar to IQ tests or other tests meant to measure overall intelligence.

Skills and knowledge tests

Skills and knowledge tests assess a candidate’s proficiency in specific areas required for the job. 

These tests can cover hard skills, such as software proficiency and industry-specific knowledge, as well as soft skills, like written and verbal communication. So, skills tests are key to ensuring that candidates have the skills and knowledge required to meet the job description they are applying for. 

With skills assessments and job knowledge tests, businesses can verify that potential new hires possess the foundation to excel in their new roles. These tests are also ideal for verifying that candidates actually have the skills and experience listed on their resumes.

Personality assessments

Personality tests (also known as aptitude tests and behavioral assessments) help businesses assess potential hires’ personality traits and ensure that they’re a good fit for the company culture. 

These tests explore elements of a candidate’s personality, such as extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to new experiences.

Personality and how well they work with others directly impact employee job performance. By using personality tests during your business’s selection process, you can help ensure that your new hires mesh well with your company culture and the rest of their prospective team.

Integrity tests

Integrity tests assess a candidate’s honesty, reliability, and ethics. Given that only one in five U.S. employees report that their workplace has a strong ethical culture, this area is where many businesses have a lot of room for improvement.

Integrity tests help employers identify individuals more likely to engage in harmful, unethical behavior such as theft, dishonesty, and violating company policies. Therefore, these tests are an important tool for avoiding bad hires.

How to choose the right test for your business

There are several different types of pre-employment tests your business can choose from. Many businesses even choose to use multiple pre-employment tests during their hiring process. 

For example, you may want to use one test to evaluate a candidate’s skills and knowledge and another test to evaluate their personality fit with your business. 

Just be sure to go through the questions of any test you’re considering and customize them as needed, and you’ll be ready to make pre-employment testing a pillar of your business’s hiring process.

Other ways of vetting candidates

Pre-employment tests can provide valuable insights about the candidates you are considering, but they are far from the only method available for vetting job applicants. Here are a few other helpful methods to consider to optimize your business’s hiring process.

Use the right tools or software 

If you want to streamline and optimize every aspect of your hiring process, using the right tools and software is the place to start. Recruiting software has revolutionized how businesses recruit and hire new employees, automating time-consuming hiring tasks and helping them collect, organize, and analyze candidate information. 

With a comprehensive hiring platform like Wizehire, every aspect of the hiring process is more streamlined and effective — including vetting potential candidates.

Wizehire provides customizable applicant screening questionnaires, DISC+ personality assessments, and in-depth candidate profiles. We make it easy to access all of the tools you need to simplify the process of pre-screening candidates and make it more insightful. 

In addition to candidate vetting, Wizehire also offers other features to help you improve your hiring process. Wizehire’s job post templates, one-click posting to 100+ job boards, user-friendly applicant tracking system (ATS), and offer letter services make it easy to manage your entire hiring process — from start to finish.

Take an in-depth look at their resumes and cover letters

The resumes and cover letters that applicants provide when they apply for a job will be one of your best sources of information when it comes time to vet candidates. These documents provide a wealth of details on a candidate’s experience, skills, education, and more.

Using resume parsing tools to analyze resumes automatically is one effective way to speed up this process. However, it’s a good idea to take some time to manually review candidates’ resumes and cover letters for a more thorough and targeted analysis.

Complete background checks

Background checks provide you with critical information about an employee’s past, including criminal history, employment history, and education credentials. Since this information is provided by third-party background check services rather than the candidate, background checks alert you to undisclosed criminal records or fraudulent qualifications.

When looking for new employees, avoiding bad hires is just as important as finding great ones. To that end, background checks are vital tools for discovering potential landmines before your business makes the mistake of stepping on them.

Ask the right questions during the interview phase

The interview phase is when you learn more about a candidate’s personality and fit for the job, which is a vital part of the hiring process. Tools like pre-employment tests and applicant screening questionnaires can provide a lot of helpful information, but there’s no replacement for a one-on-one interview.

Be sure to think carefully about how you structure these interviews and the questions you intend to ask. Create interview questions designed to explore a candidate’s personality, skills (including hard and soft skills), experience, and fit for the company culture to make the most of this critical phase of the hiring process.

Hire more efficiently with Wizehire

Pre-employment tests are one of many tools that make hiring new employees easier and more effective for businesses of all sizes. And with a feature-rich hiring platform like Wizehire, you can enjoy the benefits of these helpful tests and a broad range of other powerful hiring tools.

Wizehire helps businesses automate, organize, and optimize their hiring process for better efficiency and results. With our comprehensive suite of hiring solutions, you can create and post effective job listings and organize applicant information using Wizehire’s applicant tracking system. 

Plus, you can vet candidates via customized questionnaires and pre-employment tests and automate hiring workflows, like interview scheduling and candidate updates.

Check out a demo of Wizehire to see how our industry-leading hiring platform empowers businesses to find the perfect new hires efficiently and hassle-free!


Kyle Corpin

Find your people. Grow your team. Meet your Wizehire.