What is a Pre-Employment Assessment?

February 1, 2023
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Pre-employment assessments have been used for decades as a way to evaluate job candidates and make informed hiring decisions. 

According to a survey by the American Management Association, “almost 90 percent of firms that test job applicants say they will not hire job seekers when pre-employment testing finds them to be deficient in basic skills.” 

It can come in the form of various tests for cognitive abilities, knowledge, work skills, physical and motor abilities, personality, emotional intelligence, language proficiency, as well as integrity.

As technology advanced, so have pre-employment assessments. Today, many companies use a variety of different assessment methods, such as online cognitive ability tests, skills assessments, and personality tests, to evaluate job candidates. 

Additionally, advancements in research and data analysis techniques allowed for a better understanding of the link between assessment results and job performance which led to more accurate and fair assessments.

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the potential biases and limitations of pre-employment assessments. 

As a result, many companies are now taking steps to address these issues and to ensure that their assessment process is fair and unbiased. This includes using multiple assessment methods, validating the assessments, and avoiding any potential bias in the assessment process.

So, what exactly is pre-employment assessment today?

A pre-employment assessment is a process of evaluating job candidates before they are hired. This can include a variety of different assessments, such as cognitive ability tests, personality tests, and skills assessments. 

The goal of the pre-employment assessment is to identify candidates who are likely to be successful in the position and to identify any potential issues or concerns that may arise if a particular candidate is hired.

Cognitive ability tests, also known as intelligence tests or aptitude tests, are designed to measure a candidate's ability to think, reason, and solve problems. These tests can include measures of verbal and quantitative reasoning, as well as tests of spatial and mechanical abilities. 

Many of these tests have been used by recruiters to assess candidate suitability over the past decades. 

These tests are used to assess general cognitive abilities and potential for learning, which can be an indicator of performance on the job, for example, for roles that require problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making.

Personality tests are designed to assess a candidate's personality traits and characteristics, such as their level of extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability. 

These tests can help employers identify candidates who have the right personality traits for a particular job. Examples of personality tests include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), and the Big Five Personality Traits test. 

This can be useful for roles that require a high level of social skills, dealing with different personalities, or roles that require working under pressure or stress.

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What are the types of pre-employment assessments that employers can choose?

There are several different types of pre-employment assessments that employers can use to evaluate job candidates. 

These assessments can be broadly categorized into three main types: cognitive ability tests, personality tests, and skills assessments.

Cognitive ability tests, also known as intelligence tests or aptitude tests, are designed to measure a candidate's general cognitive abilities and potential for learning. These tests can include measures of verbal and quantitative reasoning, as well as tests of spatial and mechanical abilities. 

Examples of cognitive ability tests include:

  • Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT) is a widely used assessment that measures cognitive abilities such as problem-solving, learning, and comprehension abilities.
  • Raven's Progressive Matrices is a non-verbal test that assesses abstract reasoning, problem-solving, and the ability to identify patterns and relationships.

Personality tests are designed to assess a candidate's personality traits and characteristics. These tests can help employers identify candidates who have the right personality traits for a particular job. 

Examples of personality tests include:

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most widely used personality assessments that measures an individual’s preferences for the way they perceive and judge information.
  • The Big Five Personality Traits test is a widely used assessment that measures five broad dimensions of personality: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (OCEAN).

Skills assessments are designed to assess a candidate's knowledge, skills, and abilities in a specific area or field. These tests can include measures of typing speed, computer proficiency, or knowledge of a particular software program. 

Examples of skills assessments include:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist certification, which is a widely recognized certification program that assesses a candidate’s proficiency in Microsoft Office applications.
  • Typing tests, which assess a candidate's typing speed and accuracy.
  • Programming skills tests, which assess a candidate's knowledge of a particular programming language or platform, such as Java, Python, or C++.

In addition to these types of assessments, employers may also conduct interviews, reference checks, and background checks as part of the pre-employment assessment process. 

Interviews provide an opportunity for the employer to ask questions and learn more about the candidate's qualifications and experience. 

Reference checks involve contacting previous employers and supervisors to verify a candidate's work history, education, and other qualifications, while background checks can be used to investigate a candidate's criminal record or other relevant information.

It is important to note that different employers may use different types of pre-employment assessments based on their specific needs and requirements. 

Furthermore, for some jobs, the use of a single assessment may not be sufficient, and employers may use a combination of assessments for a more comprehensive evaluation of the candidate. 

For example, for a software development role, cognitive ability tests and skills assessments may be used along with an interview to get a well-rounded view of the candidate’s skills and abilities.

LEARN MORE: Employee Evaluation

What if you chose not to use pre-employment assessments?

Not using pre-employment assessments can carry several risks for employers. Some of these risks include:

  1. Hiring the wrong candidates: Without pre-employment assessments, employers may not have a good understanding of a candidate's qualifications, skills, and abilities.
    This can lead to hiring candidates who are not well-suited for the job, which can lead to poor job performance, increased turnover, and a negative impact on the overall productivity of the organization.
  2. Higher costs: When a candidate is not well-suited for the job, it can lead to increased training and development costs, as well as the costs associated with having to replace the employee if they do not work out.
    Furthermore, if the candidate is not performing well, the employer may have to invest in additional supervision and support, which can add to the company's costs.
  3. Legal issues: Employers have an obligation to ensure that their hiring practices are non-discriminatory. Failure to use pre-employment assessments that have been validated for fairness and legality can result in legal action against the company.
    Employers also need to ensure that they do not discriminate against protected groups during the assessment process.
  4. Reputation damage: When an organization hires poor-performing employees, it can damage the company's reputation, both internally and externally.
    This can make it more difficult to attract top talent and negatively impact customer satisfaction and business relationships.
  5. Decreased productivity and morale: When an employee is not well-suited for the job or is not performing well, it can lead to decreased productivity and morale among the rest of the workforce.
    This can create a negative work environment, which can lead to higher turnover, increased absenteeism, and a lack of motivation among employees.

It's worth noting that pre-employment assessments are not a guarantee for success in hiring but rather a tool to help employers make more informed decisions.
Furthermore, even with the use of pre-employment assessments, employers should also consider other factors, such as the candidate's qualifications, experience, and references, as well as their fit with the company's culture and values.
However, not using pre-employment assessments can increase the risks of poor hiring decisions, which can have negative consequences for the employer.

Integrating assessments into an Applicant Tracking System

Integrating assessments into an applicant tracking system (ATS) can provide a number of benefits for both employers and job candidates.
Here are a few:

  1. Improved candidate screening: Assessments can help employers to quickly and efficiently identify candidates who have the skills and qualifications required for the job.
    This can save time and reduce the number of resumes that need to be reviewed, which can be especially beneficial for high-volume recruiting efforts.
  2. More objective hiring decisions: Assessments can help to reduce bias in the hiring process by providing objective data on candidates' abilities and qualifications.
    This can lead to more equitable hiring decisions and can help employers to avoid missing out on talented candidates who may not have the right "look" or "feel" for the job.
  3. Better candidate experience: By using assessments in the recruitment process, candidates can get a better understanding of what the job entails and what qualifications are needed.
    This can help them to better prepare for the role and can also help them to understand why they may or may not have been selected for the job.
  4. Increased retention and performance: By selecting candidates that have the skills and qualifications to perform well in the role, employers can improve the chances that the new hire will be successful and stay with the company for a longer period of time.
  5. Cost savings: By automating the screening process and reducing the time and resources needed to review resumes, assessments can help employers to save money on recruitment costs.

It is worth noting that there is a possibility of a negative impact on the candidate's experience and potential legal issues if not done properly.

It’s important to make sure that the assessments are legally compliant, non-discriminatory, and job-relevant to avoid any issues.

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Optimizing your assessment with Manatal 

Considering the downsides of not implementing a pre-employment assessment into your recruitment process coupled with the pros you’ll get from orchestrating an assessment with a digital tool, it’s not that hard to come to the conclusion that a tool like ATS is indeed essential.  

The ability to identify ideal candidates before sending them to your customers for an interview means that you are already halfway ahead of your competitors toward the finish line. 

With a robust digital tool like Manatal’s ATS,  you can level up your pre-employment assessment game and ensure the most effective decision when it comes to the right candidates. 

Not only does Manatal allow its users to manage and navigate through the recruitment pipeline within a single platform, but it is also packed with Collaboration & Activities feature that enables you to seamlessly manage communication with candidates and customers. 

You can prepare and send out assessment questions to candidates within a few clicks while ensuring that interview sessions with them won’t be overlapped with one another. 

Your customers would also have the ability to come in and check your candidate shortlist as well as leave notes and comments on particular candidates that they would like to connect with.  

Moreover, Manatal also integrated Codility, an automated technical assessments service provider, into its platform. With Codility, recruiters can orchestrate a smooth technical skills assessment without having to pull their customers into a complex and time-consuming process. 

For example, in an attempt to recruit a coder, web developer, or software engineer, you really need to make sure that the selected candidate actually possesses the ability to write specific codes, such as Python. 

This requires an assessment from a professional coder, web developer, and so on. In doing so, it takes a big chunk of time from a recruitment agency’s customer to evaluate and confirm. As you can imagine, these people are already tied up with their daily tasks. The assessment process will likely be a hassle and take longer than expected. 

When you have Manatal, you can simply send the Python test by Codility to candidates within the platform and get an accurate result back. Without having to take time from your customers, this will add much more value to your service.  

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In Conclusion

It is worth noting that pre-employment assessments are not the only decision-making factors - they should be used together with other methods, such as interviews and reference checks. 

Additionally, it's important to make sure that the assessments are legally compliant, non-discriminatory, and job-relevant to avoid any issues.

To ensure the most effective assessment results, a digital HR tool is an essential piece for your process. With an intelligent tool like Manatal’s Applicant Tracking System, you will be able to streamline communication with both candidates and customers and run the pre-employment assessment on a single platform.

To elevate your recruitment game even higher and add more value to your service, Manatal is integrated with an efficient pre-employment assessment service provider like Codility. 

You will be able to navigate through a pre-employment assessment for a position that requires a specific skill set, like code writing inside Manatal’s pipeline, and get an accurate result without having to bring your customer into a cumbersome process.  

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Bill Twinning
Talent Resources & Development Director - Charoen Pokphand Group
Manatal is the best ATS we worked with. Simplicity, efficency and the latest technologies combined make it an indispensable tool for any large-scale HR team. Since its adoption, we've seen a huge increase across all our key recruitment metrics. To summarize. it is a must-have.
Ahmed Firdaus
Director - MRI Network, Executive Search Firm
I've been using Manatal for the past couple of months and the platform is excellent, user-friendly and it has helped me a lot in my recruitment process, operation and database management. I'm very happy with their great support. Whenever I ask something they come back to me within minutes.
Dina Demajo
Senior Talent Acquisition - Manpower Group
Manpower has been using Manatal and we couldn't be happier as a team with the services this platform has provided. The application is extremely user-friendly and very well equipped with all the useful functions one would required for successful recruitment. The support team is also excellent with very fast response time.
Edmund Yeo
Human Resources Manager - Oakwood
Manatal is a sophisticated, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly, and cloud-based applicant tracking system that helps companies achieve digitalization and seamless integration to Linkedin and other job boards. The team at Manatal is very supportive, helpful, prompt in their replies and we were pleased to see that the support they offer exceeded our expectations.
Maxime Ferreira
International Director - JB Hired
Manatal has been at the core of our agency's expansion. Using it has greatly improved and simplified our recruitment processes. Incredibly easy and intuitive to use, customizable to a tee, and offers top-tier live support. Our recruiters love it. A must-have for all recruitment agencies. Definitely recommend!
Ngoc-Thinh Tran
HR Manager, Talent Sourcing & Acquisition - Suntory PepsiCo Beverage
I am using Manatal for talent sourcing and it is the best platform ever. I am so impressed, the Manatal team did an excellent work. This is so much awesome, I am recommending the solution to all recruiters I know.
Bill Twinning
Talent Resources & Development Director - Charoen Pokphand Group
Manatal is the best ATS we worked with. Simplicity, efficency and the latest technologies combined make it an indispensable tool for any large-scale HR team. Since its adoption, we've seen a huge increase across all our key recruitment metrics. To summarize. it is a must-have.
Ahmed Firdaus
Director - MRINetwork, Executive Search Firm
I've been using Manatal for the past couple of months and the platform is excellent, user-friendly and it has helped me a lot in my recruitment process, operation and database management. I'm very happy with their great support. whenever I asked something they come back to me within minutes.
Dina Demajo
Senior Talent Acquisition - Manpower Group
Manpower has been using Manatal and we couldn't be happier as a team with the services this platform has provided. The application is extremely user-friendly and very well equipped with all the useful functions one would required for successful requirement. The support team is also excellent with very fast response time.
Kevin Martin
Human Resources Manager - Oakwood
Manatal is a sophisticated, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly, and cloud-based applicant tracking system that helps companies achieve digitalization and seamless integration to Linkedin and other job boards. The team at Manatal is very supportive, helpful, prompt in their replies and we were pleased to see that the support they offer exceeded our expectations.
Maxime Ferreira
International Director - JB Hired
Manatal has been at the core of our agency's expansion. Using it has greatly improved and simplified our recruitment processes. Incredibly easy and intuitive to use, customizable to a tee, and offers top-tier live support. Our recruiters love it. A must-have for all recruitment agencies. Definitely recommend!
Ngoc-Thinh Tran
HR Manager, Talent Sourcing & Acquisition - Suntory PepsiCo Beverage
I am using Manatal for talent sourcing and it is the best platform ever. I am so impressed, the Manatal team did an excellent work. This is so much awesome, I am recommending the solution to all recruiters I know.

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