Businesses are increasing their use of pre-employment tests and screenings to help them locate their ideal candidates. Many businesses see this as a bonus, because pre-employment testing helps them find their ideal candidate more quickly than the traditional interview process. Many job applicants like this process, as well, since they can show off skills or make sure that they match the corporate culture.
However, pre-employment testing can be difficult for potential employees. Some people have test anxiety and simply do not perform well under testing conditions. This can make them underrepresent their skills on skills tests or even result in inaccurate results for personality tests.
Many potential employees are uncomfortable with the idea of pre-employment testing being used to screen potential candidates. While we would like to say those concerns are unfounded, the reality is that they are not. There is a history of pre-employment screenings being used to intentionally discriminate against certain groups and an even longer history of standardized tests discriminating against minorities. In addition, there are valid privacy concerns with screening instruments.
Therefore, it is not only important that an employer carefully pick their screening instruments, but also choose a reputable company to administer any portions of those tests that are not handled in-house. The employer and prospective employees should all be confident that the tests will be fair, non-discriminatory, and respectful of privacy.
Potential employees should expect to face some type of employment screening test as some part of the interview process. Preparing for it can help candidates feel more comfortable and provide more accurate results. Candidates should ask questions about the test, including the name of the test, how long it should take, and testing conditions.
If there are practice tests online, candidates should take them. This is true, even if the practice tests do not reveal scores. Familiarity increases the likelihood of an authentic performance on the actual exam. If there are language barriers that can make testing difficult, share those with the company and see if there are alternatives.
Candidates should approach the tests in a straightforward manner. Unlike standardized testing for students, pre-employment screening tests rarely have trick questions. They are designed to try to make an honest assessment of honest responses, so candidates should not waste time trying to figure out the multiple layers of a test. If a candidate does not feel like a test accurately reflects their abilities or personality, they should immediately go the HR with substantive reasons why.
Finally, the best practice is for employers to share results. This is true whether tests are used for pre-employment screening or for development of existing employees. The results can help candidates improve their job skills and should not be kept secret.
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