How Job Candidates Can Prepare For Employment Tests

Have you applied for a job and been asked to take a pre-employment test? It may seem intimidating, but there’s no reason to stress! No matter what type of test you've been asked to take, there are a couple of steps you can take to prepare yourself. So how should you get ready for a Criteria pre-employment test?

person on computer, email prompt

Prepare Yourself

Warm up.

Sharpen your skills with JobFlare®, a free app created by Criteria for job seekers. JobFlare® consists of brain games that test the same abilities measured by aptitude tests like the CCAT: math skills, verbal ability, attention to detail, and spatial reasoning. JobFlare® is pre-employment test prep made fun! JobFlare® doesn’t use the exact same format that Criteria tests do to assess you, but it will get your brain pumping and help you succeed on the tests by exercising your math, verbal, and attention to detail skills.


Keep in mind that pre-employment test results are just one of many factors companies use to figure out if you’re suitable for the job. You didn’t craft that stellar resume for nothing!

Set the stage.

Many employers ask applicants to take a test before the interview stage. If you are taking a test remotely, not at an employer’s place of business, figure out how long it will take you to complete the tests and then limit all distractions during that time. If possible, it’s best to take the tests on a desktop or laptop computer, not on a mobile phone where you could be interrupted by texts or phone calls. Turn off your phone and make sure no one’s going to barge in on you in the middle of the test-on a timed test, you can’t afford to be interrupted!

Read the instructions.

The most common mistake test-takers make is rushing through instructions. You can take as much time as you want to read and understand them! The instructions will often give you hints about optimal test strategy: for example, if there is no penalty for wrong answers, don’t be afraid to guess and move on if you’re stuck on a tough question.

Get Familiar with the Tests

There are three main types of pre-employment tests: personality, aptitude, and skills tests. Familiarize yourself with the type of test you're about to take so you feel more at ease.

Personality Tests

Personality tests are designed to measure traits that are associated with successful performance of a certain role. They evaluate behavioral traits that don't tend to change much over time. There are no right or wrong answers on these tests, but in specific jobs certain traits are known to predict "job fit"-whether you possess traits linked to success in that role. These tests help employers determine if you'd be happy and comfortable in a position. So don't fake it! You can't change your personality and you shouldn't have to for a job. You could wind up in a role that isn't a good match for you and end up where you are now: looking for a new job.

Aptitude Tests

Cognitive aptitude tests measure your critical thinking, problem-solving, attention to detail, and ability to learn and use new information. Criteria's most popular aptitude test is the CCAT, which gives employers an idea of how fast you learn and how well you'll perform in your new position. Want to know more about the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test? Check out the prep guide.

Skills Tests

Skills tests let employers figure out what you already know. Some tests check your basic math and verbal skills while others confirm that you know how to use a computer, how fast you type, or how well you know a particular Microsoft Office program.