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Pre-employment testing has become a standard part of the hiring process for many companies. These tests help employers efficiently screen large volumes of applicants and identify the best candidates for open roles.

In this blog post, we will look at some of the most frequently used types of pre-employment tests.

Cognitive Ability Tests

Cognitive ability tests, also known as aptitude tests, are among the most common pre-employment assessments. They are designed to evaluate a candidate’s learning ability, problem-solving skills, and logical thinking capacity. These tests provide insights into a candidate’s intellect and ability to grasp new concepts.

Common types of cognitive ability tests include:

  • Verbal Reasoning: Tests the ability to understand written passages and derive meaning from them. Candidates may be asked to identify the main point, make inferences, recognize similarities and differences, etc.
  • Numerical Reasoning: Assesses comfort with numbers, math concepts, graphs, tables, and the ability to think quantitatively. Test takers may need to perform basic calculations, interpret data, or solve word problems.
  • Logical Reasoning: Evaluates deductive thinking and the ability to recognize patterns and logical relationships. Questions involve identifying the rules that govern sequences, completing analogies, and recognizing logical flaws.

Personality Tests

Personality assessments evaluate a candidate’s characteristics, work styles, preferences, and temperament. Employers use them to understand if a person will be a good cultural fit for their organization and the responsibilities of the open role.

Common personality tests include:

  • Big Five Personality Traits: Measures openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): Categorizes preferences for extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving.
  • DISC Assessment: Evaluates behavioral characteristics like dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.

Skills Assessments

Skills tests directly evaluate a candidate’s proficiency in specific areas relevant to the job. Employers use them to ensure applicants have the essential qualifications for roles.

Common skills assessments include:

  • Typing Test: For administrative or customer service roles requiring keyboarding abilities.
  • Software Skills: Assess competence with applications like Microsoft Office, accounting software, programming languages, etc.
  • Foreign Language Proficiency: Evaluates speaking, listening, reading, and writing abilities for jobs involving other languages.
  • Mechanical Comprehension: For industrial, electrical, or construction work, measuring knowledge of mechanical concepts.
  • Data Entry: Tests speed and accuracy of inputting information for clerical or customer service roles.

Integrity/Predisposition Tests

Integrity tests aim to predict a candidate’s likelihood of engaging in counterproductive work behaviors like theft, violence, substance abuse, etc. Questions are deliberately vague to avoid recognition.

Common types include:

  • Honesty/Theft Screening: Measures attitudes towards honesty, property, and authority relevant to theft likelihood.
  • Substance Abuse: Evaluates tendencies and attitudes related to alcohol and drug abuse issues.
  • Workplace Violence: Assesses anger management, coping skills, and predisposition to violent behaviors.


The most common pre-employment tests revolve around cognitive abilities, personality, specific skills, and integrity/attitudes. Used judiciously as part of comprehensive hiring processes, they offer valuable insights into a candidate’s suitability.

However, tests should never be the sole determinants and results considered in the context of overall qualifications. With proper validation and respect for privacy and fairness laws, testing enhances the selection of the best matches for open roles.

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