Job Screening Tests Guide

Recruiters are using challenges, games and other types of tests to screen job candidates. If you are running an employee hiring process or are a job candidate yourself, here’s what you need to know about employment screening tests.

About Employment Screening Tests

How well any candidate might adapt to your organisational needs can easily be shown with the aid of certain games and tests. A multitude of challenges are available that can measure the aptitude, reasoning ability, logical capacity and psychology of prospective employees.

A well-designed pre-employment screening test is the most efficient tool available to determine the capacity of candidates to meet specific job requirements.

Nikoletta Bika, HR Researcher

Screening tests are designed to help organisations evaluate the job-related abilities of prospective recruits. Ultimately, they can help predict whether a potential hire will be successful in the job.

Some tests are more accurate than others. All tests you choose in the recruitment process must be selected and managed to ensure they are truly effective. They should not, for example, be designed in a manner that involves any implicit or explicit discrimination based on age gender, race, religion, sexual preference, nationality or disability.

As with any test, the results are not always perfect. Screening processes when designed correctly can help shed light on the suitability of a candidate. Equally, a poor test can skew results and hurt your chances of selecting the best candidates.

Here is a guide to the most common types of screening tests used in recruitment.

1. Job Knowledge Tests

A job knowledge test is designed to measure a candidate’s theoretical and technical expertise in a specific field. For example, an accountant might be asked to sit a test related to the basic principles of accounts receivable.

These tests are best used when organizations need to recruit candidates with a specific set of skills or a high level of expertise or knowledge. As a recruiter, you should use a knowledge test if every candidate should reasonably be expected to know certain facts before they start work.

2. Integrity Assessment

The history of pre-employment screening started with integrity tests. These can help organizations to weed out potentially undisciplined, unreliable or dishonest people.

  • An overt integrity test will ask questions specific to ethics and integrity.
  • A covert game will assess specific personality traits that are connected to high or low levels of integrity, such as conscientiousness.

A well-constructed integrity screening test can prove to be a good indicator of future job performance. They have also proven to have a less implicit bias since few differences can be seen between people of different ages or races.

3. Cognitive Ability

Cognitive tests are designed to evaluate a candidate’s overall mental capacity. For recent graduates especially, a test can be a useful supplementary indicator of the person’s potential to perform on the job.

Mental reasoning tests are a more objective indicator of future job performance than an interview or even previous experience. The most common of these tests is the GAP or General Aptitude test, which tests numerical, verbal and logical reasoning.

4. Personality Tests

Personality and psychometric assessments offer insight into whether a certain candidate will fit the existing culture of a business. Have they got the traits that are needed to perform in the roles they will be offered? For example, to be a successful salesperson, you should score highly in assertiveness and extroversion.

How participants responds in games, scenarios and role-playing can be more insightful indicators of personality than self-assessment surveys. Self-assessment tests can be faked whereas responses to unexpected situations are often more natural.

5. Emotional Intelligence (EI) Tests

An EI screening test will show how well a candidate understands their emotions and those of others. EI assessment could indicate how the well the applicant builds strong working relationships.

EI tests are favoured in industries that rely upon their employees showing leadership skills, having frequent interactions with others, and having to build strong interpersonal relationships.

6. Skills Assessment

Skills test are not focused on personality or knowledge. They are designed to measure a candidate’s aptitude in either a soft or hard skill or a combination of skills.

When designed correctly, a skills assessment is able to reliably quantify the specific skills of potential candidates. Examples of these types of assessment are typing speed tests, coding or spreadsheet exercises, and reading and writing tests to just to name a few.

What Roles Do Screening Tests Play in Recruitment?

Quizzes, challenges, games and other tests offer extra information to recruiters that potentially improves recruitment outcomes.

  • They help eliminate unsuitable or incompetent candidates.
  • Mental, analytical and psychological capabilities of candidates are identified.
  • They can be used to assess the position of a candidate in the overall career development.
  • In some cases, when you have a series of qualified candidates, screening tests can be used to do an objective comparison between them.

Several or more candidates may meet a certain set of criteria. When this happens, a stellar screening test can help recruiters in their final hiring decision. Remember, for this process to be accurate, you should always choose a series of tests that can reliably work for the particular recruitment campaign.