7 major types of pre-employment tests to screen applicants

Resumes are no longer a sole reliable source to ensure if a candidate is a right fit for the role and the company. In fact, 87 percent of employers believe that candidates often misrepresent themselves on resumes and job applications. To avoid the risks associated with a bad hire, employers are tasked with finding creative and logical ways to assess if the candidate is the best match for a specific role and the organization.


Pre-employment tests are a series of candidate assessment tools to know if the candidate is the right fit for a specific job role. By implementing pre-employment assessment tests, employers can gather relevant, reliable candidate-related information and make an objective hiring decision. In this article, we describe the various types of pre-employment tests you can take.

Pre-employment Tests To Screen Applicants


pre employment assessment tests candidate applicants

The different types of pre-employment tests

You can administer a test to find out if the candidate is the right fit for the job. According to some reports, pre-employment assessment may boost a hiring manager’s decision satisfaction by 36%.

  1. Job knowledge tests
  2. Integrity tests
  3. Cognitive ability tests
  4. Personality tests
  5. Emotional intelligence tests
  6. Skills assessment tests
  7. Physical ability tests

1. Job knowledge tests

Employers conduct job knowledge testing to identify an applicant’s knowledge about a particular job role or description. For instance, if you’re hiring a writer, you might want to take a job knowledge test on the applicant’s English Grammar and writing skills. A job knowledge test can have any of the following types of tests included in a single test.

  • Technical
  • Cognitive
  • Job-simulation
  • Language & Communication
  • Personality
  • Business Domain Knowledge

2. Integrity tests

Integrity tests are one of the most objective tests an employer can administer to assess candidates’ predilection towards unethical behaviors such as lying, stealing, taking alcohol and drugs. The challenge with integrity tests is that it is easy to fake the answers. It is difficult to evaluate if the candidate has made things up or is telling the truth.

3. Cognitive ability tests

Cognitive ability tests measure general intelligence, which provides an indication of a candidate’s thinking process, problem-solving abilities, and verbal ability. One of the common cognitive ability tests is the General Aptitude Test (GAT), which highlights a candidate’s ability to use cognitive skills like logical, verbal, and numerical reasoning to approach tasks. A study by Hunter & Hunter showed that cognitive tests are more effective in predicting job performance as compared to traditional hiring criteria such as interviews and work experience.

4. Personality tests

Personality tests are one of the most commonly used types of pre-employment tests. Experts estimate that as many as 70 percent of U.S. employers are using personality tests to evaluate if the personality of a candidate is suitable for job success. Some of the most commonly used personality tests include:

  • Myers-Briggs Personality Type
  • DISC Personality Assessment
  • The Caliper Profile
  • SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire
  • Hogan Personality Inventory
  • Big Five Personality Theory

5. Emotional intelligence tests

Emotional intelligence tests analyze a candidate’s relationship-building skills and their understanding of emotions (both their own and others’). Studies from Stanford and Harvard have found that 85-87% of a person’s success is attributed to soft skills, interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence tests help evaluate a candidate’s behavior on various aspects such as empathy, self-awareness, managing emotions, response to conflict and challenges, handling stressful situations, and working in a diverse team.

Just like integrity tests, people don’t always tell the truth in emotional intelligence tests.

6. Skills assessment test

Resume fraud accounts for approximately $600 billion in loss for employers. Skills testing helps measure a candidate’s ability to apply skills, either soft skills (e.g. attention to detail) or hard skills (e.g. computer literacy), while working on a particular job. It can be measured by presenting various scenarios to the candidates and evaluating their response in those scenarios. For example, a writing candidate may take an English Grammar and writing test to truly assess their English skills.

7. Physical ability test

Physical ability tests reveal a candidate’s strength, endurance and stamina. A physical ability test can also help determine if the candidate is capable of performing in roles that require arduous physical work, like a police officer or a firefighter. A few examples of physical ability tests include:

  • Balance Test
  • Flexibility Test
  • Cardiovascular Endurance Test
  • Muscular Tension Test

Unlike other pre-employment assessment tests, it’s difficult to fake results in a physical ability test.

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Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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