Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pre-employment screening tests - "Yes" or "No" ?

I am often asked by recruiters and employers about the need of using pre-employment testing. While I have found pre-employment tests to be beneficial in helping to screen and select the best candidates for jobs, they are not always the only thing to be considered while selecting a candidate. Let go step by step on understanding this.

What are pre-employment tests?

Pre-employment tests are used to screen job applicants and can include testing of cognitive abilities, knowledge, work skills, personality, emotional intelligence, language proficiency, and sometimes even integrity. Companies use online testing to find the candidates most likely to successfully fill the open positions and to screen out those who are unqualified.

Why are they used?

By helping companies and recruiters identify the candidates most likely to perform well on the job, pre-employment testing can lead to additional company benefits, such as saving time and cost in the selection process.

What are the key issues in using pre-employment tests?

While there can be vast benefits gained from using testing in the employee selection process, there are potential issues companies need to understand prior to implementing any tests.

The first issue is validity; whether or not the test measures the specific criterion it is supposed to measure. For the test to be valid a good job profile should be used by the test administrator.

The second issue is reliability, the consistency with which a test measures a skill. “For a test to be reliable, an individual’s score should be about the same every time the individual takes it (allowing for the effects of practice)”. If someone takes the test on one day and scores low, then takes the test a week later and receives a high score, the test is probably not very reliable. This would mean, the test administrator needs to have a large pool of questions with varied difficulty levels. The testing tool should be computer adaptive where in the difficulty level of questions are changed based on response of candidate. This will ensure a reliable score every time.

Shall I use the pre-employment tests?

My suggestion will be “Yes”. But don’t fully depend on the test.

Employers can increase the likelihood of hiring high-quality candidates by using pre-employment tests to help screen the best candidates for jobs. Administered correctly, pre-employment testing can help companies save time and cost in the selection process.

A final call should be taken on screened candidates by using a more personal one on one interview approach.