What is a pre-employment assessment?

A pre-employment assessment is anything that is used to help an organization learn more about a candidate before hiring. Anything from an interview to a background check to a personality assessment can be considered a pre-employment assessment. If you are a job candidate looking for more information on what to expect from pre-employment tests, view our information for job candidates.

What types of employee assessments do you offer?

Criteria Corp specializes in pre-employment tests, specifically personality assessments, aptitude assessments, and skills assessments. We have tests that measure general aptitude, personality, integrity/honesty, and verbal and math skills. We also have some more specific tests that assess typing speed, computer skills, and proficiency with Microsoft Word and Excel. For a complete list of the assessment tests we offer, check out our Test Portfolio.

Why should I use a pre-employment assessment?

Hiring new employees is a tricky business. Employees are your most valuable asset, but hiring mistakes can be very costly. Our aptitude, personality, and skills assessments provide you with objective data to facilitate and inform your evaluations and decisions. Tests can help you reduce time-to-hire and turnover, and increase overall productivity. Research has shown that cognitive aptitude assessments are much more accurate predictors of job performance than are other widely used employee selection techniques. For example, a comprehensive review of peer-reviewed studies of the predictive validity of various selection techniques concluded that aptitude assessments are twice as predictive as job interviews, three times as predictive as experience, and four times as predictive as education level. Find out more about why companies use pre-employment tests here.

What should I expect from pre-employment testing?

It’s important to have realistic goals and expectations for what a pre-employment testing program can achieve for your organization. Integrating pre-employment tests into your hiring process doesn’t mean that you’ll never make a bad hire again. Instead, what you would experience is a greater chance that a candidate will not only be qualified for a position but that they will be productive and comfortable in that role. Find out more here.

How are your assessment tests developed?

Most of our assessment tests are developed by or in conjunction with our Scientific Advisory Board, which includes some of the world's leading experts in statistics, psychometrics, cognitive psychology, and applied testing. We also license a few of our assessments from well-established test publishers.

Can I include a link to your pre-employment assessments in my online job postings?

Yes! Our system makes it easy for you to include assessment tests at the front of your hiring process. This way, you can test all of your applicants before investing time in interviews or even reading resumes.

How much does it cost?

Our pre-employment assessment tests are offered on an annual subscription basis. For one low fee that is dependent upon the size of your organization, you enjoy unlimited access to all of our tests. For more information, you can check out our Pricing page, or e-mail pricing@criteriacorp.com for a more precise quote.

What is a Sales Aptitude Test?

Personality tests are particularly popular for evaluating applicants for sales positions, because sales roles often involve extensive interaction with other people. Though sales roles differ widely depending on the industry and the complexity of the role, a lot of research demonstrates that certain personality traits tend to be accurate predictors of sales success in almost any industry. Read more.

What does a Customer Service test measure?

Our customer service test is called the Customer Service Aptitude Profile (CSAP), and it measures a series of personality traits that are widely regarded as important for successful interactions with customers. These traits include things such as patience, cooperativeness, and personal diplomacy. Read more.

What are integrity tests?

“Integrity tests” actually refer to a couple of different types of tests aimed at helping employers manage risk by assessing the likelihood that an applicant will be a reliable employee who will follow the rules. There are two main types of integrity tests: covert (personality-based) tests that measure traits linked to rule adherence; and overt tests which assess an applicant's attitudes towards various counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) directly. Some integrity tests, like our Workplace Productivity Profile (WPP), combine elements of both to predict employee reliability. Read more about integrity tests here.

What do personality tests measure?

We addressed this topic in a three part series on our blog:

  1. Employment Personality Tests: A Primer
  2. Employment Personality Tests: Part 2
  3. Employment Personality Tests: Part 3

Employment personality tests are designed to measure personality traits that may be related to job performance. Most personality tests consist of a series of self-evaluative "prompts" and ask a test-taker to indicate the extent to which they agree or disagree with the statement. One example of a prompt might be, "Meeting new people is enjoyable to me." There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, as the responses can be used to indicate behavioral tendencies that may or may not fit a particular job.

Are Grammar Tests good hiring tools?

Grammar, along with spelling, reading comprehension, and vocabulary, is important not just because writing and reading comprehension are important job requirements for so many jobs. It's also important because it's correlated with a wider constellation of abilities and habits such as attention to detail, "trainability," and communication skills that are predictors of performance, turnover, and other important business metrics that employers care about. Read more.

Is pre-employment testing worth it for low margin businesses?

Low margin retailers often assume that, in order to be highly profitable, they need to restrain labor costs as greatly as possible. However, one study analyzing the behaviors of leading retailers discovered the opposite – these leading retailers typically spent more on the hiring process than their competitors. What this indicates is that, even for businesses with low margins, investing in your employees by selecting and training the best candidates can lead to greater profitability. Read more.

Why shouldn’t I rely on resumes?

Resumés are notoriously unreliable as a means of gathering objective, reliable data on candidates. Why, given this, are employers still relying on them so heavily? Read more.

Where should I use pre-employment testing in the hiring process?

We recommend testing applicants as early in the hiring process as possible. Usually, this means the candidates will take pre-employment tests remotely. Read more.

What are minimum cutoff scores and should I use them?

Minimum cutoff scores are used to filter out candidates who score below a certain threshold. Deciding if and where to set a minimum cutoff score depends on the size of your applicant pool as well as the nature of the position. Our testing system, HireSelect, can provide recommendations for where to set minimum cutoff scores based on our database of average score ranges for a wide variety of positions. Read more.

Is using a maximum cutoff score ever a good idea?

We generally do not recommend setting maximum cutoff scores, or in other words, excluding someone from consideration because he or she scored too highly on a pre-employment test. However, some organizations may find value in setting a maximum cutoff score on a case-by-case basis. Read more.

How do I choose which tests to use?

Test selection is the first, and probably most important, step in implementing an employment testing program because it is critical that organizations use tests that measure job-related abilities and skills. This is why a common best practice in employment testing is to perform a Job Requirements Analysis for a position before utilizing tests to screen candidates for that position. Once your company has described the skills, work activities, and abilities that are associated with a given position it will be much easier to determine appropriate test selection. Criteria Corp's pre-employment testing software, HireSelect, contains a Job Profile tool that leverages the Department of Labor's O*Net database of over 1,000 job profiles, each of which contains a blueprint of the skills and abilities generally required for each job, together with the recommended tests that will measure the relevant capabilities.

Help! One of my top performers bombed your test!

One of the most common ways to evaluate a test is to administer it to a sample of your existing employees, and look at the correlation between test scores and work performance for that sample. Unfortunately, when employers do this, it's easy to get caught up in the anecdotal outliers, rather than the overall trends the data reveals. Read more about why you shouldn't be worried if one of your high performers didn't test well.

How can I trust test scores from remote tests?

Remote testing is becoming increasingly common for pre-employment testing because of the value gained by testing candidates at the beginning of the hiring process. But how can you trust remote test scores? One study we performed indicated that cheating is a lot less common than you might expect, and that retesting candidates on-site later on in the hiring process can be one effective way to reduce the chance that applicants take the tests dishonestly. Read more.

How much testing is OK?

Requiring too many tests can drive away a number of otherwise qualified applicants who can’t commit to exhaustive testing at the front of the hiring process. We performed a study that determined that keeping tests at 40 minutes or under ensured the greatest test completion rates among candidates. Read more.

Does testing increase an organization’s legal exposure related to hiring?

Using pre-employment tests that are job-related actually protects an organization from legal exposure related to hiring by adding an objective factor to the hiring decision. Read more.

Is it illegal to use certain types of tests?

Using well-validated aptitude, skills, and personality tests as part of your hiring process should reduce your organization's legal exposure related to hiring, for reasons we've explained elsewhere. However there are certain types of tests that it is NOT legal to use as part of your hiring process, because of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits the use of a pre-hire test that may be construed as a "medical exam" or a test of mental health in a pre-employment setting. One of the purposes of the ADA is to prohibit discrimination against individuals with psychiatric disabilities, so clinical tests that assess an individual's mental health should generally not be used for employee selection.