4 Essential Things to Look for in a Pre-Employment Test

Instructions on how to find the best pre-employment test.

There are a plethora of options for pre-employment testing out there and it seems like they’re all offering you the same thing: employees who are more likely to be successful in the job.

The accuracy of these tests can be drastically different, so it’s important to know what separates good pre-employment testing from bad pre-employment testing.

Here’s what you should look for when choosing an assessment:

A pre-employment assessment should always be proven with statistical significance. Statistical significance requires 95% confidence that the results are not due to chance.
  1. It should show statistical significance

    If an assessment claims to truly be based in science, there should be readily available scientific studies for you to view.

    Those studies should definitively show statistical significance. This means the assessment should have been tested on a sample size of at least 100 people, and it should be significant at a confidence level of 95% or more.

    You can determine if results are significant at a 95% confidence level if the calculated p-value is 0.05 or less. If the results are significant at a 95% confidence level, this tells you that they’re related to the assessment and not based on a happy (or unhappy) accident.

  2. It shouldn’t promise you perfection

    Assessments, like any hiring mechanism, aren’t perfect every time.

    They are proven to be more precise than resume-reviewing and interviewing alone, but good assessments still get it wrong sometimes.

    Consider entrance exams like the SAT or ACT. Schools like Harvard and Stanford tend to take only the highest scoring students, but even a portion of those students end up dropping out of college for academic reasons.

    This is why most colleges now use these tests as a supplement to screen students when they have a high volume of applications, and use tools such as essays and interviews to choose their top candidates.

    Pre-employment testing follows a similar philosophy.

  3. It shouldn’t be unnecessarily long

    Scientific research promotes evaluating all applicants as soon as they initially apply rather than assessing finalists.

    It's unrealistic to ask all applicants to take a 20- or 40-minute assessment at the beginning of the application process and we have found that doing so can drastically reduce the completion rate.

    Here’s an example: The original Optimize Hire pre-employment tests take about 8-10 minutes - as short as we could make them without sacrificing scientific validity - and have the highest completion rate on the market at 96%.

    Remember: Short is good, but you should always be wary of an assessment that claims to give reliable results in under 5 minutes - these tests may not be supported by science or withstand legal scrutiny.

  4. It shouldn’t claim that it’s specifically designed to fill your type of job

    This can be confusing.

    While many tests, like the Optimize Pre-Employment Tests, are written differently based on the industry, the fact is that the same traits (hard work, intelligence, and self-motivation) are exhibited by the best workers in jobs ranging from sales associate to a high-level tech CEO.

    Decades of evidence indicate that the core traits behind high performing employees are truly universal.