What to Expect in
Pre Employment Testing

Pre employment testing is commonly used to screen out unsuitable applicants and minimize hiring mistakes. A large number of companies currently make use of employment tests.

Employment screening tests typically include a number of assessment tools. The five most commonly used employment tests fall into 5 categories:

  • personality tests
  • skills tests
  • aptitude tests
  • integrity tests
  • emotional intelligence tests

There are many different examples of tests in each category.

For some tests you can prepare in advance and for others you can't. Find out more about how to prepare for the employment test

What are the different examples of
pre employment testing?

It will benefit you greatly if you understand these commonly used pre employment tests and what they are designed to do.

Employment Personality Test

These tests attempt to determine an applicant's personality characteristics and if they relate to the personality requirements of successful performance in the defined job.

The test format can vary from a brief written or computer-based test to a long psychological examination. These tests typically measure one or more of five personality dimensions:

  • extroversion
  • emotional stability
  • agreeableness
  • conscientiousness
  • openness to experience

Most personality tests are designed to be used by psychologists. However, there are some tests available which can be interpreted by non-psychologists.

A pre-employment personality test has no "right" answers and cannot be prepared for.

Skills Assessment Test

Research estimates that nearly 65 percent of employers use some sort of pre-employment skills test which is designed to confirm that applicants have the skills they say they have.

These tests can range from simple employment typing tests to a complex mechanical construction.

Not only technical skills are tested, an applicant may be asked to develop a marketing strategy for a new product, to write a report or lift a heavy load to demonstrate physical strength.

Examples of the most popular employment tests include:

  • MS Excel test
  • Sales Ability Tests
  • Management Ability and Potential

The most important requirement is that the test genuinely assesses skills necessary for job performance.

Employment Aptitude Test

These tests are designed to determine that the applicant has the ability to perform the job successfully. They are usually written or oral and include evaluation of reasoning ability, numerical, written and verbal skills.

They differ from skills tests in that the aptitude test determines the applicant's potential ability to perform the job functions when trained (the applicant's capacity for learning the required skills) while the skills tests determines the applicant's current or existing level of skill.

There are general aptitude tests (sometimes called intelligence or IQ tests) and also tests for specific aptitudes.

Integrity Employment Test

Employee theft and fraud costs a company on average $9 per day per employee in the US. Pre employment testing often includes integrity or honesty tests. These are used to evaluate an applicant's honesty and trustworthiness including attitudes towards risky workplace behavior, theft, lying and unethical behavior.

Questions are designed to examine the applicant's attitude and approach towards:

  • misuse of company resources
  • email and internet abuse
  • use of drugs and alcohol
  • trust with confidential information
  • personal responsibility

Emotional Intelligence Test

These measure the job candidate's ability to handle interpersonal relationships and emotions. 

Criteria that are assessed include emotional awareness and emotional management. Often the candidate is required to answer questions that determine how they react in various situations including:

  • stressful situations
  • leadership or management situations
  • teamwork
  • handling diversity
  • handling failure and difficulties
  • overcoming challenges

What about pre-employment drug testing?

These tests are becoming more and more frequent as employers are encouraged to establish drug-free workplaces.

Pre employment testing for drugs is covered in detail at employment drug screening

View answers to frequently asked questions about pre employment drug testing.

How do I prepare for a pre employment test?

There is no valid way to “beat the tests” so all you can do is understand pre employment testing in advance and be prepared for the tests you will be given.

These pre employment testing tips give you the opportunity to maximize your chances of doing yourself justice and getting the best score when taking employment tests.

Find out about employment background checks

Know what to expect from an employment background check

Prepare for common employment background screening


Background Checks


Credit Checks


Drug Testing

What you should know about job references

Find out what is permitted with regard to the use of pre employment polygraph examinations.

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