Cheating. Discrimination lawsuits. Bad hires. You’ve heard about the bad things can happen when you use pre-employment testing.

What you’ve heard isn’t true.

Hiring is a difficult process and sure, pre-employment testing isn’t a perfect solution, especially if it’s used incorrectly. It is an extremely effective solution when used right, however. If you understand pre-employment testing and use tests as they are intended, these powerful tools can change the face of your business.

Testing can be incredibly successful if you get beyond the misconceptions and put emphasis toward onboarding a pre-employment testing program the right way.

Let Go of These Pre-Employment Testing Misconceptions:

  1. “Candidates cheat on pre-employment tests and they can’t be trusted.” Companies might be frustrated when they have to fire an employee they hired based on fantastic test results, and they might tell you “testing doesn’t work”. Chances are they didn’t use testing the right way.Yes, candidates will try to cheat. Luckily, modern pre-employment tests are rife with measures to help you discern the “true score” and, when combined with other evidence, it becomes obvious that a candidate was cheating.

    If you don’t hire based on a test alone, you don’t have to worry about whether or not a candidate cheats on a test. Test scores are only one piece of information you should use to make a hire. If a candidate’s scores are overwhelmingly positive, or if their report said they are conscientious but they show up late to the interview, the candidate may not have been honest in their answers. When you combine test results with other evidence about a candidate and look for “disconnects”, you’ll get a much better picture of your potential hire, and you’ll circumvent any problems associated with “cheating”.

    You can’t rely on test scores alone in the same way you can’t rely on a resume alone. A cooperative matrix of information will give you the best chance of making a good hire – resumes, reference checks, interviews, and testing together are much stronger than one method alone.

  2. “We only need to give them an aptitude test (or only a personality test.)”Not at all true. Using more sources to get information on a candidate will result in a better hire; one way to get more information is using multiple kinds of tests. Aptitude testing, for instance, will measure the candidate’s ability in a specific skill. What good is a high score on an aptitude test, however, if the candidate demonstrates emotional instability or no respect for authority? Equally, what good is a strong showing of personality if your candidate doesn’t have the math ability needed for the job? A combination of tests will give you a well-rounded look at the person you are about the hire.
  3. “Interview, eliminate, and only test candidates who are close to hire.” This is a common situation where testing can’t stop a bad hire. If you don’t test enough people, you don’t have an accurate “baseline” to establish a good score vs. a bad score. If you only test five people, and hire the strongest of the five, you may have hired someone half as effective as another candidate in your talent pool! Multiple candidates – as many as possible, in fact – will give you a spectrum of scores. Fewer variants mean poorer results.Equally, if you test them late in the process, you miss a key opportunity – letting test results disqualify candidates. Using testing early in the process – even as the first step – can mean streamlining your hiring process and only spending valuable vetting time on candidates who have already tested as a fit.
  4. “Only hire candidates with high test scores.” As mentioned in item #1 above, high test scores can be a sign of someone who is “faking good” to try to stay in your talent pool. Be wary of high test scores. They are a sign you should be looking for other evidence to prove whether this person really is who they appear to be in their report.Also, a low score in one area of a test isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If they are a low scorer for a trait that is not as important for the role they will be filling, you may want to ask if that low score matters – especially if they’ve got everything else that counts.