Benchmarking as a general process involves establishing a standard of comparison and then evaluating or measuring something else against that standard. In the context of pre-employment testing, benchmarking most commonly refers to establishing certain score ranges or profiles as "benchmarks" to compare against the test scores of applicants.
For example, if a company hiring computer engineers decides to administer an aptitude test to all of its applicants, setting benchmarks will allow the company to make more informed decisions for establishing cutoff scores and filtering out unqualified candidates. Benchmarks for testing can be established in a variety of ways. A company can conduct a local validity study internally by testing its current employees in a particular position to determine what score standards already exist within the company, and to determine which data points provided by tests are most predictive of performance. Alternatively, for companies that don’t already have enough employees in the position they are hiring for, testing companies can provide job-specific score ranges based on much more expansive data sets.