The Employment Aptitude and Assessment Test Guide

The Employment Aptitude Test Summary
What: Employee aptitude and assessment tests are administered to job candidates across all industries.
Who: Anyone applying for an open position may be asked to take an employee assessment or aptitude test.
Where: Employee assessment tests are generally administered at the place of business where the open position is available.
When: Employers may administer tests anytime before the final hiring decision is made.
How: Employee aptitude tests may be given electronically, using a pen and paper, or by demonstrating a particular skill, such as typing or graphic design.
Type: Depends on the employer - tests may be offered online or multiple choice, paper and pencil tests.
Why: To measure a candidate's skills and abilities.
Time: Varies per test.
Language: Depends on the employer's location.
Preparation: None
Cost: Generally the cost is borne by the employer.

For many companies, employee assessment tests are becoming a standard part of the interview process. From personality traits to technical skills, the indicators these tests pinpoint can be just as important as what’s found in commercial background checks. Job fit is an essential benchmark when evaluating a potential candidate, and employee aptitude tests help to prevent the wrong person from being placed into a position for which they’re not suited.

There are many types of assessment tests on the market. A quick Google search will find hundreds of web-based companies offering a diverse range of evaluations. Below are some of the most standard assessments:

  • Personality Testing: This is a very important part of the pre-hiring process. For many employers, a likable character often holds more weight than experience. Most companies are not willing to hire an unfriendly candidate who may cause friction in the workplace, regardless of how qualified they are. Personality tests can often indicate traits that can potentially cause significant problems on the job, such as narcissism, personal responsibility issues and even deeper behavioral disorders. They can also help to ensure a good fit for a position—for instance, placing a very extroverted “people person” in an isolated office environment practically guarantees dissatisfaction.

  • Skills Testing: Matching a potential employee to the right job is vitally important, especially in the retail industry. An employer wouldn’t reap much benefit from placing a bookkeeper in a car sales job. There are thousands of different skills tests that measure the applicant’s ability to sell, market, organize, manage and perform a myriad of other functions.

  • Emotional Intelligence Testing: While this parameter may be a bit tougher to assess, employers should consider the emotional maturity or intelligence of prospective employees. Resumes can be deceiving. Sometimes the person with the most experience is actually the last person who should be hired. Emotional testing can often identify character weaknesses, immaturity and poor conflict management, all of which can have an adverse effect on job performance.

  • Integrity Testing: This is the “honesty” test. When loss became a recognized problem in the retail industry, many store owners developed an integrity test that became one of the first widely used evaluations on the market. These tests identify a candidate’s level of integrity based on answers to a variety of questions. What most people don’t realize is that there are four basic questions that are rephrased in many ways, and the applicant’s integrity is measured by the variance in answers.
  • Management Skills Testing: This test is administered to those interviewing for management positions. It measures an employee’s aptitude for supervisory skills, as well as general knowledge of common management functions like scheduling, profit and loss, loss prevention, employee conflict resolution, hiring and firing and more.

  • Team Skills Testing: This test is especially important when hiring many people who will need to work effectively together to achieve a common goal. It helps to gauge the candidate’s ability to form relationships with other employees, to be open to others’ ideas and to demonstrate a high level of flexibility.

How Assessment Tests Protect Employers

Although legal precedents support the use of employee aptitude tests, there has been some debate about the legitimacy of pre-employment assessment testing. Many employers have been forced to defend themselves in an ever-increasing number of lawsuits when their employees have caused damages or committed crimes against other employees. While many situations are unforeseeable and the law prevents employers from asking certain questions, business owners can take a more proactive stance against problem employees by utilizing diligent investigation through pre-hiring assessment tests. These evaluations can prevent lawsuits against the company.

How Assessment Tests Benefit Employees

Properly implemented, employee aptitude assessments help to ensure that applicants are treated fairly without regard to race, age, gender, nationality or religious beliefs. Perhaps most importantly, they increase the chances that applicants will be placed into positions for which they’re optimally suited, boosting job satisfaction and reducing turnover rates.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does not have an established set of guidelines determining what employers can and cannot test. However, the EEOC has always strived to promote objectivity in the hiring process. Without an assessment program in place, natural subjectivity comes into play. Managers and recruiters tend to hire people who remind them of themselves, rather than candidates who would best benefit the company. Although assessment programs are not officially endorsed by the EEOC, it is generally believed that they promote a more objective decision-making process.

Are you looking for employee assessment tests to use in your company? Please visit our Employee Assessment Test Directory. To learn more about employee assessment and aptitude tests, read our interview with Erin Suess, Employment Assessment Test expert.