Employee Selection Tests: Types, Tips, and Best Practices

6 minute read

Posted by Chris Platts on 29 March 2023

In today’s job market, it’s not enough to rely solely on resumes and interviews to make hiring decisions. Employee selection tests are a useful tool to help employers make informed decisions about candidates. These tests measure job-related skills, knowledge, and abilities, and can provide valuable insight into a candidate’s potential for success in a role. In this post, we’ll explore what employee selection tests are, what different types there are, and some considerations to keep in mind when purchasing one for use in hiring.

What are Employee Selection Tests?

Employee selection tests are assessments used to measure a candidate’s abilities and skills relevant to a particular job. They provide an objective way to evaluate candidates, reducing bias and increasing the accuracy of hiring decisions. Selection tests can measure a variety of factors, including cognitive abilities, personality traits, and job-specific skills. The results of these tests can help identify top candidates, reduce turnover rates, and improve overall job performance.

Types of Employee Selection Tests

There are many different types of employee selection tests, each designed to measure different aspects of a candidate’s abilities and skills. Here are a few examples:

Cognitive Ability Tests: Cognitive ability tests measure a candidate’s ability to learn, reason, solve problems, and process information. These tests can be used to measure general cognitive ability or specific abilities such as verbal or numerical reasoning. Read our blog post: Cognitive ability tests: 6 common tests used in hiring.

Personality Tests: Personality tests measure a candidate’s personality traits, such as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These tests can help identify candidates who are a good fit for a particular job, team or organization.

Job Knowledge Tests: Job knowledge tests measure a candidate’s knowledge of a particular job or industry. These tests can help identify candidates who have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform well in a specific role.

Situational Judgment Tests: Situational judgment tests measure a candidate’s ability to evaluate and respond to job-related scenarios. These tests can help identify candidates who are skilled at problem-solving, decision-making, and critical thinking.

Realstic Job Assessments: These tests combine all types of assessment and can include cognitive ability, situational judgement and job knowledge questions. They have the added benefit of showing candidates what to expect in theb job typically via a “day-in-the-life” narrative. Since each work environment is different, these assessments are typically more predictive of what people do in the job. Find out more about Realistic Job Assessments here.

Considerations When Purchasing Employee Selection Tests

When purchasing employee selection tests, there are several considerations to keep in mind:

Validity and Reliability: Validity and reliability are two critical factors to consider when choosing an employee selection test. Validity refers to the degree to which a test measures what it is intended to measure. Reliability refers to the consistency of results over time. If selecting a generic test then it’s important to choose tests with high levels of both validity and reliability to ensure accurate results. If you’re creating your own bespoke test then this is less of a concern as the assessment will be tailored to your needs. 

Job-Relatedness: Employee selection tests should be job-related, meaning that they measure the skills and abilities required for a particular role. Using tests that are not relevant to the job can result in inaccurate or misleading results.

Accessibility and Usability: Employee selection tests should be accessible and easy to use for both candidates and hiring managers. The tests should be administered in a manner that is fair and unbiased, and the results should be easy to understand and interpret.

Legal Compliance: Employee selection tests must comply with legal regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) guidelines. It’s essential to ensure that the tests you choose are legally defensible and do not discriminate against any protected groups.

Best Practices for Using Employee Selection Tests

Once you’ve chosen the right employee selection tests for your organization, it’s essential to use them effectively to make informed hiring decisions. Here are a few best practices for using employee selection tests:

Use Tests as Part of a Comprehensive Hiring Process: Employee selection tests should be used as part of a comprehensive hiring process that includes resume reviews, interviews, reference checks, and other relevant factors. Tests should not be the sole deciding factor in the hiring process, but rather used in conjunction with other information to make informed decisions.

Ensure Clear Communication with Candidates: It’s important to communicate clearly with candidates about the purpose and nature of the tests. Candidates should understand why the tests are being used and how the results will be used in the hiring decision-making process. Clear communication can help reduce candidate anxiety and improve overall candidate experience.

Train Hiring Managers on Test Interpretation: Hiring managers should be trained on how to interpret and use test results to inform hiring decisions. They should understand the strengths and limitations of each test and how to use the results in conjunction with other hiring factors. Proper training can help ensure that test results are used effectively and fairly in the hiring process.

Monitor Test Results and Outcomes: Organizations should monitor the results and outcomes of their employee selection tests to ensure that they are effective and fair. Monitoring can help identify any potential issues or biases in the testing process and ensure that tests are delivering accurate and meaningful results.

Summary

In conclusion, employee selection tests are a valuable tool for employers looking to make informed hiring decisions. By measuring job-related skills and abilities, these tests can help identify top candidates and reduce turnover rates. When choosing employee selection tests, it’s important to consider factors such as validity, job-relatedness, and legal compliance. And when using these tests, organizations should follow best practices such as using tests as part of a comprehensive hiring process, clear communication with candidates, proper training for hiring managers, and monitoring test results and outcomes. With these considerations and best practices in mind, organizations can effectively use employee selection tests to make better hiring decisions and build stronger teams.

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