Pre-Employment Testing in 2024: What You Need to Know

By Astrid Wonderley on February 16, 2024

The Current Landscape of Assessments

As of 2024, there’s no shortage of options available in the assessment market, with each one making similar promises: find better candidates, screen more efficiently, and reduce turnover.

Pre-employment testing consistently delivers on these promises, which has led to a notable increase in organizational awareness and widespread adoption of assessments in the hiring process. The steady growth of the assessment industry is a clear indicator of this upward trend.

This growth can be partially credited to the rise of remote work, which currently accounts for roughly 28% of full work days. As more jobs move online, employers require more flexible tools in order to evaluate candidates remotely. 

The growth of the assessment market has also led to a higher level of scrutiny from governing bodies. Regulating organizations are concerned about the use of pre-employment tests, their validity, and the potential adverse impacts against marginalized groups. Current regulations can be found here.

Finally, the value of assessments is also rising. Accelerated by the rapid changes brought about by the pandemic, turnover has seen a sharp increase in the last few years. Employees are more comfortable switching jobs now than ever before in history. Consequently, pre-employment testing— which is proven to reduce turnover— delivers even more value to organizations than in the past.

Off-the-shelf vs. Personalized Assessments

Pre-employment assessments sit on a sliding scale, with generalized off-the-shelf assessment solutions on one end and fully consultative solutions on the other.

Off-the-shelf solutions are often cheaper and faster to implement, and the assessment provider typically has an online assessment platform for easy deployment. However, as off-the-shelf solutions are not personalized to your specific roles and culture, their insights may be less accurate and may not solve your specific challenges.

Fully consultative solutions involve a collaboration between the assessment vendor and your organization. In this approach, the vendor customizes a new assessment tailored to your organization and its challenges. Although these solutions offer more relevant insights, they are often significantly more expensive and often pose greater deployment challenges. There are also no assurances that the vendor will provide an online platform for hosting the assessment. While the insights are more in-depth, considerable time is required to thoroughly analyze and create the assessment.

Sitting between these two approaches are personalized assessment vendors. These vendors partner with subject matter experts at your organization to identify the best approach for your specific challenges, building an assessment specifically for your roles, culture, and challenges often in partnership with Industrial-Organizational psychologists. This approach provides the benefits of an off-the-shelf solution in terms of cost and implementation timeframe, while also providing the relevant, in-depth insights of a more consultative solution.

Types of Pre-Employment Testing

Cognitive Aptitude

Cognitive Aptitude tests assess a candidate’s mental capabilities, such as reasoning, problem-solving, memory, and perception. These tests can help predict an individual’s potential to learn and perform job-related tasks.

This assessment is applicable to most roles. 

Culture Fit

These assessments evaluate whether a candidate’s traits and behaviors align with your organization’s culture and values. This type functions similarly to a personality assessment and typically requires consultation with an Industrial-Organizational psychologist.

Culture fit assessments are most valuable for organizations that often see candidates struggling to adapt to their culture and environment.

Hard Skills

Skill assessments evaluate a candidate’s competency in a specific task, language, tool, or technology. Generally, these tests work by scoring the candidate’s answers against an answer key of correct answers. 

These tests are most effective for roles that require specific prerequisite competencies.

Personality /  Behavioral / Soft Skills

Personality assessments identify the degree to which specific behavioral traits are present in a candidate. These tests present the candidate with a set of statements tied to specific traits; the candidate’s responses identify the degree to which these traits are present. 

This type of assessment is applicable to most roles. 

Physical Ability

These assessments evaluate specific aspects of a candidate’s physical capabilities. Physical ability tests are deployed to ensure candidates clear the minimum physical requirements for a position. 

These tests are useful for physically demanding, hazardous, or crisis response roles.

Job Knowledge

These tests evaluate a candidate’s expertise in a specific field or industry. They provide information about the candidate’s understanding of relevant concepts, principles, and best practices related to the job role.

Job knowledge tests are useful for most technical and entry-level positions.

Job Simulation

This type provides realistic, job-related tasks that candidates must complete. These assessments offer insights into candidates’ abilities and behaviors in a simulated work environment.

Job simulations are helpful for jobs where a majority of the responsibilities can be captured by presenting a handful of specific tasks or situations. 

Situational Judgement (SJT)

Situational judgement tests evaluate a candidate’s ability to respond appropriately to job-related scenarios. These tests provide descriptions of common workplace scenarios to which the candidate responds. 

These tests are most valuable for jobs with frequent employee-client interactions.  

Tips for Choosing a Solution

While there are no inherent advantages or disadvantages for the different types of assessments, there are two key questions to ask yourself when choosing a vendor: 

  • Is this assessment appropriate for addressing this specific challenge?
  • Is this assessment being thoughtfully implemented to address this challenge?


Pre-employment testing provides hiring managers with a way to assess candidates for a variety of specific traits, competencies, and abilities. Additionally, assessments provide a great ROI to the organizations that deploy them successfully. However, with the market’s heavy saturation and developing regulations, it’s important to pick a vendor with a proven track record of success that will help you solve your organization’s specific challenges. 

Download our ‘Pre-Employment Testing’ Buyer’s Guide

With all of the assessment platforms out there, it can be difficult to suss out which one is the best fit for your organization.

Learn what you should consider when evaluating assessment vendors with our Buyer’s Guide.

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