Employee Assessment Tests: How Do They Work?

April 16, 2021

employee assessment tests

What is an employee assessment test?

An employee assessment test is a group of specialized tests that help to determine skills, work style, knowledge, and the personality of potential and existing employees.

Using an employee assessment test when hiring can empower companies to make the best hiring decisions possible using data-driven test results. For existing teams, an employee assessment test can identify skill gaps and areas of improvement.

There are many types of employee assessment tests ranging from more general psychometric tests which measure verbal, numerical, logical, and diagrammatic reasoning skills to job specific skill tests, personality, and cultural fit.

How do employee assessment tests work?

Most employee assessment tests require no previous knowledge and focus on testing cognitive and mental abilities. They tend to be multiple-choice and are conducted under timed conditions, to assess how well a candidate performs under pressure.

Employee assessment tests work by presenting all candidates with the same questions, in the same format, to complete within a given time frame. Once the candidate has taken the tests - either online or in person - a score is compiled, analyzed, and compared to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each individual test-taker.

This data can then be used to make strategic and informed decisions to either shortlist candidates or if used internally, identify potential areas of improvement.

Employee assessment testing is commonly administered online, often through an assessment platform like Neuroworx.

Candidates being assessed are sent a link to log in and complete the assessments. Once started, they must be completed in one sitting and cannot be retaken. Some pre-hire assessments have specific time limits for each question or section, whereas others expect candidates to set their own pace.

Note that some organizations decide to require candidates to re-sit assessments taken online. This is to double-check the scores and ensure no cheating occurred.

Some tests also employ negative marking – meaning that points are deducted for incorrect answers – but most do not.

Features such as negative marking, shorter time limits, and greater question volume increase the difficulty level of employee assessment tests. The difficulty of the questions also differs according to the publisher selected. It is important to select the right level of testing for your needs.

It is also important that tests are pitched correctly to maintain candidate satisfaction. Your assessment process is, after all, a direct reflection of your company.

Examples of employee assessment tests

example employee assessment tests

The most commonly used employee assessment tests are cognitive ability tests, soft skills, personality and cultural fit tests.

These are often used in a combined employee assessment process, to gain a full picture of each job candidate's strengths and skills.

Personality and culture fit

Personality tests, or cultural fit tests, are used to assess the personality, character, and behavioral traits of prospective employees. They consist of a series of statements that candidates are asked to rank, according to their strength of agreement.

These tests result in the production of a personality profile, which provides a useful indication of a candidate's approach to work and level of professionalism.

They are used to determine whether a qualified candidate shares the ethics and behavioral values that guide the organization. This type of test used in talent acquisition is not usually timed.

Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests seek to assess the mental aptitude and agility of candidates.

The most common forms of aptitude tests are:

Soft skills tests

Soft skills are personal attributes that enable you to interact effectively with others. They include things like communication, problem-solving, and time management. While hard skills are specific to your field of work, soft skills are transferable to any industry or job role.

Test publishers

There are many different types of employee assessment tests available and multiple test publishers provide them. The style, format, and content of these assessments will vary according to the selected publisher.

The type of assessment an employer chooses to administer will depend upon your company sector and the type of roles you recruit for.

Most publishers can tailor their tests to specific skills you require to assess. Employers within technology industries, for example, may wish to test mechanical reasoning or programming skills compared to a financial accounting firm that may wish to test numerical reasoning and problem-solving capabilities.

Some test publishers also provide tailored situational judgement and personality assessments for employers so that they can test candidates for alignment with their organization's core values and fit within their company culture.

Using employee assessment tests for hiring talent

Using a carefully selected series of employee tests within your recruiting process is likely to increase both its efficiency and effectiveness. Employee assessment tests are trusted indicators of future employee performance, helping to ensure every chosen candidate is an excellent match for your open role.

Personality, soft skills, culture fit, and situational judgment tests help to make sure the person selected exhibits behaviors and values aligned with your company and can thrive within your workplace. Using these tests to hire talent helps to ensure both employee and employer satisfaction, leading to the long-term retention of well-matched job attributes to employee profiles.

Using employee assessment tests for existing employees

employee assessment test

Employee assessment tests can also be an invaluable tool for ensuring that your existing employees are happy and productive in their jobs. They can help identify skill gaps, strengths, and weaknesses and provide useful insights when doing performance reviews.

Should you write your employee assessment tests?

There are pros and cons to both writing your assessment tests and using pre-written tests. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision:

Writing your employee assessment tests has the advantage of being tailored specifically to the job you're hiring for. You can design the test to measure the specific skills and qualities that are important for the role. However, writing an effective assessment test takes time and expertise. If you don't have experience in this area, it may be best to use a pre-written test.

Pre-written employee assessment tests have the advantage of being quick and easy to administer. You can also be confident that the test is fair and valid since it's been created by experts.

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