6 min read

Employee Assessment Test: How Do They Work?

Alice Watts
Alice Watts April 16, 2021
Employee Assessment Tests

Employee assessment testing is an effective method of streamlining your prospective talent pool and can be used to ensure you make the best hiring decisions. Whilst much can be gleaned from early-stage interviews, pre-employment assessments provide precise data for evidence-informed decisions and are much quicker to administer.

When used as part of a varied and comprehensive hiring process, employee assessment tests help to shed invaluable light upon employee strengths and provide future performance indicators.

Indeed, most employers now use at least one form of standardized pre-employment test in their recruitment process. Many rely upon a mixture of assessments to effectively test candidate aptitude, suitability, and fit.

What is an employee assessment test for work?

An assessment test for work, or pre-employment assessments, is a standardized test that helps to determine skills, work style, knowledge, or personality of candidates to make best hiring decisions. Assessment tests for jobs range from more general psychometric testing, such as verbal, numerical, logical, and diagrammatic reasoning, to tailored situational judgment assessments and personality tests.

Most employee assessment tests require no previous knowledge from candidates and focus on testing cognitive ability and mental agility in a variety of contexts. They tend to be multiple-choice and are conducted under timed conditions, to assess how well a candidate performs under pressure.

There are many different types of pre-employment tests available and multiple test publishers. The style, format, and content of the assessments will vary according to the selected publisher. Scoring well in the assessments requires calm, accurate working, at pace.

The type of pre-employment tests you choose will depend upon your sector and the type of role you most commonly recruit for. Employers can tailor their employee assessment sequence depending on the department or service area. Employers within technical industries may wish to additionally test mechanical, electrical, or financial reasoning.

Some employee assessment test publishers provide tailored situational judgment tests or personality questionnaires for employers so that they can test candidates for alignment with their organization’s core values and fit within their company culture.

How do Employee Assessment Tests Work?

Employee assessment tests work by presenting all candidates with the same questions, in the same format, to complete within a given time frame. Once the candidates have taken the tests - whether online or at an assessment center - candidate scores can be compiled, analyzed, and compared to highlight the strongest candidates in each area.

This data can then be used to make strategic and informed decisions about the continuation of the recruitment process.

These days, employee assessment tests are commonly administered online, often through a testing portal or pre-employment assessment platform.

Candidates being assessed are sent a link to log in and complete the assessments. Once started, they must be completed in one sitting and cannot be retaken. Some tests have specific time limits for each question or section, whereas others expect candidates to set their own pace.

Note that some organizations decide to require candidates to re-sit early-stage psychometric assessments taken at home if they progress to the assessment center stage. This is to double-check the scores and ensure no additional help was enlisted to obtain the actual result.

Some tests employ negative marking – meaning that points are deducted for incorrect answers – but most do not.

Features such as negative marking, shorter time limits, and greater question volume increase the difficulty level of pre-employment tests. The difficulty of the questions also differs according to the publisher selected. It is important to select the right level of testing for your needs.

It is also important tests are pitched correctly to maintain candidate satisfaction. Your recruitment process is, after all, a direct reflection of your company brand.

Examples of the Best Employment Assessments Tests

The most commonly used pre-employment assessments are cognitive ability tests, situational judgment assessments, and personality and cultural fit tests. These are often used in combination, to gain a full picture of each candidate’s strengths and skills.

best employment assessment tests

Personality and Culture Fit

Personality tests, or cultural fit tests, are used to assess the personality, character, and behavioral traits of prospective employees. They consist of a series of statements that candidates are asked to rank, according to their strength of agreement.

These tests result in the production of a personality profile, which provides a useful indication of a candidate’s approach to work and level of professionalism.

They are used to determine whether a candidate shares the ethics and behavioral values that guide the organization. This type of test is not usually timed.

Cognitive Ability

Cognitive ability tests seek to assess the mental aptitude and agility of candidates.

The most common forms of cognitive ability tests are verbal reasoning, which assesses written comprehension and interpretation; numerical reasoning, which tests the ability to work with numbers and analyze data; and diagrammatic reasoning, which assesses the capacity to analyze shapes and patterns and rapidly deduce governing rules.

These tests assess the ability to process information under pressure and highlight the skills and strengths of candidates.

Situational Judgement

Situational judgment assessments present prospective employees with several theoretical scenarios, mirroring those encountered within the workplace. They require candidates to indicate how they would respond to the situations, usually by selecting a course of action (or ranking options) from a multiple-choice list.

Situational judgment assessments help to determine whether a candidate aligns with a company’s expected behaviors and values.

Using Employment Assessment Tests for Hiring Talent

Using a carefully selected series of pre-employment tests within your recruitment process is likely to increase both its efficiency and effectiveness. Employment assessment tests are trusted indicators of future job performance, helping to ensure every chosen candidate is an excellent match for your open role.

Personality, culture fit, and situational judgment tests help to make sure the person selected exhibits behaviors and values aligned with your company and can thrive within your workplace. Using these tests to hire talent helps to ensure both employee and employer satisfaction, leading to the long-term retention of well-matched employees.

Alice Watts
Alice Watts April 16, 2021

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