For hiring managers, human resources professionals, and small business owners, interviewing job candidates can be one of the most stressful and frustrating responsibilities.  Trusting someone to protect confidential information, be dependable, represent your company well, and to be a good fit for your team cannot be fully realized during an hour interview, where both parties are under a great deal of stress.

In response to this concern, the popularity of pre-employment testing for a better job fit has exploded since the late 1980s.  These tests are now used in a majority of companies both large and small.

These tests can help filter candidates that are not fully qualified for the position, or may not have the necessary personality or skills to succeed as a member of your team; candidates who are best fit for the job.  This helps to gather a much more all-around understanding of your candidate that may not be apparent in their resume or during their interview.

There are a few types of pre-employment testing that hiring managers can utilize to help measure how well a candidate will fit in with the existing team.

Aptitude Tests

An aptitude test focuses on evaluating skill-sets for certain positions or to measure one particular skill.  It is focused entirely on skills and abilities, rather than behavior, and can be useful for a highly technical or mathematical position such as Information Technology or Accounting.  Aptitude tests can also provide assistance with determining strengths and weaknesses, which can be useful to create a focused training plan.

Personality Tests

Personality tests, on the other hand, are telling of personality, emotional intelligence, and motivation.  These types of tests can give insight of what a person values, as well as the core behavioral traits that are key to success on any team.

This can be a life-saver for management, since the candidate can be placed where they will be most effective.  If you’re looking for someone to bring in fresh ideas, the tests can dig a bit deeper into a candidate’s confidence, assertiveness, and likability.  This can also help you learn where they might need some guidance to truly excel.

Some positions simply require a certain type of personality.  While anyone might be physically able to perform a particular task, fitting the right personality in the right position sparks creativity, innovation, and enthusiasm.  An introvert may excel in an environment where they work alone, whereas an extrovert may require some compromise – and vice versa.

Risks with Pre-Hire Testing

It is important to keep in mind that fairness and equality should be maintained for every candidate – every candidate should receive an identical interview and test.  Skipping parts of the hiring process could place an organization in violation of discrimination laws.   Additionally, these tests are not meant to make a decision for you.  Test results can vary based on a number of factors, including anxiety, outside interference or stress, or preconceived expectations.  Pre-employment testing is simply a tool to allow you to get a better picture before making your decision.