Pre Employment Test
Tips & Techniques

The pre employment test is used more and more as part of the hiring process to determine if the candidate has the necessary skills, ability and personality traits for the job. As with all tests and exams knowing what to expect gives you a great advantage.

Use the practical tips and techniques on how to approach and handle employment testing to feel confident about taking the tests and to help you improve your scores.

7 Essential Pre Employment Test Tips

1. How to Prepare for the Pre Employment Test

Ask the employer what kind of employment tests you can expect.

  • Find out the exact location where the test will be given and how long it is likely to take.
  • If possible you can make a trial run to the test location the day before to ensure you know where to go and how long it will take you. Allow time for traffic and parking
  • Get everything ready for the employment tests. Have a couple of pencils ready for use. Pack your eye glasses if you need them for reading. If your online test includes a numeracy-based assessment ensure you have a good calculator.
  • If applicable, make sure you are dressed warmly enough as sitting still for a period can make you cold.

2. Reduce Test Anxiety

The pre employment test is only one of a number of factors used to determine an applicant's suitability for the job. Remember that usually every applicant for the job takes the same tests.

  • Avoid coming across as defensive or nervous.
  • If the employer sees you are upset about taking a test it may raise concerns about how you handle job stress.
  • Get a good night's rest beforehand.
  • On the day arrive early.
  • Don't test on an empty stomach and dress comfortably.
  • Take deep breaths and keep a positive attitude.
  • Avoid drinking a lot of liquids before your employment tests.

3. Give Yourself Sufficient Time

Find out how much time the pre-employment test is expected to take and make sure you are not stressed by time constraints such as another appointment.

  • You may need to spend anywhere from a few minutes to several hours of time.
  • Some assessments are administered on site, while others may be completed online from any location.
  • If it is an online test make sure there will be no interruptions or distractions for the time it will take you to complete the test.

4. How to Approach Employment Tests

Most job applicants do not understand the methodology of personality tests. There are no "right" answers and it is key to be honest in your answers.

The test is designed to evaluate how your personality traits meet the requirements of the job. If you try and give the answers you think the employer wants you will cause problems for yourself for two main reasons.

  • Firstly,the tests contain validity scales that are able to detect attempts to fake answers. This will be considered dishonest by the prospective employer.
  • Secondly you are misleading your employer and yourself about your suitability for the job and the chances are you will not be happy or successful in the position. You cannot change the results of the tests by preparing for them in advance and you should not attempt to give the “correct” answer.

To prepare for the skills test, practice doing whatever you'll be doing on the job - typing, drawing up a spreadsheet, editing. A number of skills tests are available online, you can search for and use the appropriate tests for practice.

Types of Pre Employment Test

5. Read the Instructions Carefully

Applicants make the mistake of rushing through the instructions and not making sure they understand them.

Often there is very important information given about how to answer the questions and how they are scored.

  • Make sure you understand all the requirements.
  • If the test is administered by a person do not hesitate to ask for clarification of anything you don't understand.
  • Ask your questions before the test begins as generally the test administrator will not be able to answer any questions once the test starts.
  • If you are testing in a group situation avoid asking for information from the other applicants once the test begins.

6. How to Answer the Questions

  • Read each question carefully and make sure you read all parts of the test question.
  • Avoid over-analyzing the questions, they are generally not designed to be tricky or have hidden meanings.
  • Look at each test as a separate set of questions and even if you feel unhappy with one test keep a positive attitude when you start the next test.
  • A number of pre employment tests require you to make a choice from a number of alternatives. Make sure you have marked the right box next to the right question number.
  • When taking the test do not rush and increase the chances of making careless mistakes. If you have time at the end double check your answers.
  • If there is a time limit for the test pace yourself and don't get stuck on one or two questions. Rather move on and come back to those questions at the end.

7. Prepare properly for online employment tests

It is best to take an online employment test or assessment on a desktop or laptop computer rather than your mobile phone where it is easier to press the wrong key.

  • Remember to turn off your phone while you are taking the test so you are not distracted by incoming calls and messages.
  • Make sure you are in a comfortable and quiet environment.

Find useful information on the Rights and Responsibilities of Test Takers

The pre employment test should be approached in a positive manner. It is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your real suitability for the position.

What are the different types of pre employment tests?

Employment tests typically include a number of different assessment methods. The five most commonly used pre employment assessment tools are discussed in detail at  Employment Testing Tools

What about pre employment drug testing?

Drug testing is becoming more and more widely used by potential employers. Find answers to frequently asked questions about pre employment drug testing

Know what to expect from employment drug screening

What pre employment background checks can you expect?


Background Checks


Credit Checks


Drug Testing

What about the pre employment background check? This is another hiring requirement with most companies. You can find out what you can expect from the employment background search and be prepared for the process.

How to to prepare for a credit check and get a copy of your credit report at employment background screening

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