Pre-Employment Tests - Explained
What are Preemployment Tests?
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Table of ContentsWhat are Pre-employment Test? What are Cognitive Tests?What are Skill-based Tests?What are Personality Tests?What are Emotional Intelligence Tests?What are Physical Ability Tests?What are English Proficiency Tests?What are Drug Tests?What are Background Checks?What is a Credit Check?What is a Polygraph (Lie-Detector) Test?
What are Pre-employment Test?
Employers regularly use standardized tests to evaluate, select, and eliminate candidates for employment positions. The purpose of the tests is to measure attributes of the applicant, such as personality, cognitive ability, emotional intelligence, skills, health fitness, financial stability, etc.
It is important to note that these tests cannot be discriminatory in nature. To guide companies, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission established the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures of 1978 to help employers in the process.
Below are the most common types of employment tests.
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What are Cognitive Tests?
These tests focus on a persons cognitive ability. The most commonly known cognitive ability test is the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test.
You can think of these tests as measures of a persons ability to reason through situations and recognize patterns.
In the employment context, cognitive tests are used to screen job applicants based upon their aptitude to learn to perform the functions of the job. They are regularly referred to as Aptitude tests.
Some other cognitive tests focus on the ability to organize large amounts of information, memory, reasoning, spatial perception, the accuracy and speed of information recall, speed in conducting calculations, etc.
What are Skill-based Tests?
Skills tests require an individual to demonstrate the skills they possess. Unlike cognitive tests, which focus on the ability to learn, skills tests seek to determine what specific, functional abilities you already possess.
These tests are generally oriented to test an individuals ability to perform specific tasks relevant to the job or position.
A skill-based test might include your ability to type, write computer code, speak a language, complete mathematical calculations, etc.
What are Personality Tests?
These tests seek to identify an individuals personal traits or determine the likelihood of an individual to act in a defined manner or engage in specified conduct.
The purpose of the employment context is to determine whether an applicant's personality will function well in a particular position.
A commonly-employed personality test is focused on an applicant's integrity. These tests seek to identify an individual's propensity toward dishonesty or other undesirable behaviors, such as stealing. These are known as personality-oriented or covert integrity tests.
It is not obvious to the applicant that integrity is being tested. Overt integrity tests ask specific questions about integrity to gauge an individuals responses.
What are Emotional Intelligence Tests?
These types of tests seek to identify an individuals ability to recognize and understand her own emotions and the emotions of others.
Emotional intelligence can be thought of as a skill or as another type of cognitive ability.
Generally, it involves the ability to recognize one's own emotions and the emotions of others. Further, it may entail understanding how actions affect another's emotions.
In any event, employers use these types of tests to determine whether an individual will be a good cultural and personality fit within the organization.
It can also be an important ability for delivering the employers value proposition, such as with physicians or salespeople.
What are Physical Ability Tests?
These seek to determine whether an individual has the physical attributes necessary for a position of function. It might include strength, speed, agility, stamina, etc.
These are often focused on an individuals ability to achieve a particular level of performance, such as carrying a fire hose up 10 flights of stairs.
These are closely related to medical examinations. They are used to determine whether an individual meets the minimum physical requirements to perform the required job duties.
What are English Proficiency Tests?
These are common tests to determine whether an individual has the ability to meet minimum standards for speaking, reading, and writing in the English language.
What are Drug Tests?
These are generally screenings done by an employer prior to bringing on an employee. The objective is to determine whether the employee has used a controlled substance.
The employer worries that an employee who is regularly under the influence of drugs will make decisions that lead to liability for the employer.
What are Background Checks?
These are screenings conducted by an employer to verify information about a job candidate and to discover any aspects of the applicant's history that could exclude her from the position. For example, an employer might be reluctant to hire someone who was convicted of theft to manage company property or inventory.
What is a Credit Check?
This is a screening of an applicant's personal financial history. Employers seek to identify any financial characteristics or actions by an employee that could disqualify her from a position. For example, an applicant with a history of failing to make bill payments may not be a good candidate to evaluate creditworthiness in loan applications.
What is a Polygraph (Lie-Detector) Test?
These tests are used to identify whether an individual is answering a question honestly. They are generally used by the Federal State Government (or contractors to the State or Federal governments) to screen employees who will be dealing with highly-confidential or sensitive information.