Pre-Hire Assessment Test: What Makes a Good One?

By Caroline Roberson on June 14, 2022

Today’s employers are using pre-hire tests to gather objective candidate insights before extending employment offers. If you’re considering adding assessments to your hiring process, you’re probably wondering: what makes a great pre-hire test?

There are six questions to ask when evaluating pre-hire testing tools:

  1. Is the user experience intuitive? Every step of the process should be easy to understand. You don’t want candidates feeling confused or frustrated when they login to complete an assessment. Make sure candidates have options regarding when, how, and where they complete a pre-hire test. It should be easy for them to access and complete on a mobile device, a computer, or onsite—if they don’t have internet access. If the experience isn’t intuitive and accessible, you risk losing top talent who aren’t willing to waste time navigating a complex process.
  2. Were experts involved in creating the tests? Industrial-organizational (IO) psychologists are the experts when it comes to applying theories and principles to how people work. For a pre-hire test to be valid, you must ensure experts were involved in creating the tests. Confirm that experts are also available to answer questions, tweak the test as necessary, and potentially customize an assessment based on your needs.
  3. How much jargon is used within the tool and reports? Ideally, the answer to this question is no jargon! You want a pre-hire test that provides clear feedback, without jargon. Reports should be written using language that anyone can understand. You shouldn’t need to attend hours of training just to read reports. A candidate’s test results should provide you with a clear indication of success, such as those found on Berke’s job fit score.

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  1. Are the pre-hire tests based on sound science? Psychological theories and techniques also referred to as psychometrics, should be the foundation of any assessment tool. Ask the assessment provider about the science behind their test. The assessment methodology should be tied to real theories and research concepts. For example, cognitive ability has been consistently shown to predict job performance across a variety of jobs. If your pre-hire tests aren’t based on well researched psychological theory, you risk hiring the wrong people.
  2. Do pre-hire tests measure against job specific requirements? Find a pre-hire test that measures a candidate against the requirements of a specific job. When using a pre-hire test, context is important. You need the context of how a candidate’s test results indicate performance on the job. It may be helpful to have general information about their personality, or the way they work, but without context on what’s required for that specific job, it won’t help you make a hiring decision.
  3. Does the pre-hire test integrate with your tech stack? You want a tool that integrates with the other technologies that you use. Integration makes life easier, especially when your pre-hire test integrates with your applicant tracking system. When you integrate, you’re operating within one system. You can filter candidates more effectively and efficiently, and you have everything related to a candidate stored in one place. When your pre-hire test is integrated with your ATS, you can send assessment invitations, view reports, and even get suggested interview questions all without leaving your ATS.

Personality and cognitive ability can make or break someone’s ability to perform on the job. It’s nearly impossible to measure those qualities in an online application or an interview. By partnering with the right pre-hire test provider, employers have access to data that will make hiring decisions easier and more effective.

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