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What You Need to Know About Pre-Employment Tests

In your recent job search, you may have experienced more and more companies asking you to take some sort of skills test during the hiring process. They might seem intimidating or unnecessary at first — it can feel a bit like being back in school — but they’re actually beneficial for both you and your potential employers. Once you understand more about these pre-employment tests, they’ll seem a whole lot more helpful and a lot less stressful. Here’s what you need to know.  

What Pre-Employment Tests Are 

First, what exactly are pre-employment tests? They’re also known by several other names such as pre-hire assessments (which is what we call them here at Cangrade), skills tests or hiring assessments. 

What they all have in common is that they’re tests a company requires you to complete at some point in the hiring process to evaluate your skills, aptitudes, or personality traits that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. 

Your potential employer might use skills tests at several points in the hiring process: 

  • When you submit your application, to ensure you have the basic skills for the position
  • After your initial interview, to compare you to other qualified candidates before you’re asked for a second interview
  • Before the company extends an offer, to confirm you’re the perfect fit for the position 

Why Companies Use Pre-Employment Testing 

Skills tests during the hiring process can seem like just another added stress in the process, but companies use them because they have benefits for both you and the team you’re hoping to join. 

Skills tests help determine who is qualified quickly and without bias. Relying only on resumes, interviews, and previous job experience can lead to companies hiring people who went to the same few schools or worked at the same companies previously, even if they’re not the best fit for the job. 

Pre-employment tests let your skills shine so you can find the role that’s the perfect fit for you, which is important — you want to land a job that is a great match for your abilities and interests so you can stay, grow, and thrive there. 

Finally, they confirm that every candidate has the skills their resume lists — while most applicants are honest, of course, a few aren’t (or their definition of “proficient in Excel” is very different from the company’s). Skills tests weed out those candidates quickly so companies can make hiring decisions faster and with more accuracy, instead of having you wait weeks to hear anything back. 

How to Perform At Your Best in Pre-Employment Tests 

How can you do your best on these skills tests? Unlike tests in school, you can’t study ahead of time for them. What you can do is get in the right mindset to excel with these tips.

Go In With a Clear Head  

If you’re taking the skills test at home, ensure your surrounding environment is as calm as possible so you can focus on the answers instead of distractions. If you’re taking it somewhere else, take a moment before you begin to clear your mind and settle to focus. 

Answer Honestly 

It can be tempting to take shortcuts but remember, these tests are designed to ensure that you’re a good fit for the role and will find it satisfying in the long term — if you’re hired for skills you don’t actually have, you’ll be back on the job hunt in no time. 

Keep Everything in Perspective 

While this test might seem like it has your whole future riding on it, especially if you’ve been job searching for a while, it’s helpful to keep in mind that this is just one part of the application process. You’ll likely have several other opportunities to show that you’re the right candidate if you’re well-qualified, and if you’re not, then you’ll find that out early without wasting your valuable time so you can move on to other applications where you’re a better fit. 

These tests aren’t designed to trip you up or stress you out, just to ensure a mutually great fit between you and your potential employer in your next role. Keep that in mind, keep calm, and you’ll have a stress-free pre-employment testing experience. Good luck!