Hiring managers always try to ensure that each new employee is a perfect fit for the company and the position. Often, a resume, cover letter and interview alone don't give them all the information they need. More and more, companies are using pre-employment testing to help them make the right hiring decisions. These tests allows companies to screen candidates based on their skills, work ethic and personality traits before making an offer.
Pre-hire testing can cover a wide variety of topics. Companies can test candidates on general abilities, such as technical aptitude or writing skills, or on industry-specific information. They can also administer drug tests or physical fitness tests if the job requires physical labor. Sometimes this screening tests for personality types or social skills.
One major benefit of pre-employment testing is reduced hiring and training costs associated with employee turnover. While incorporating another step into the hiring process requires more time and resources up front, many companies find the return on investment is well worth it. These tests help ensure that each candidate selected is a good fit with the company. This greatly increases the likelihood that new hires will stay with the company longer, thereby reducing the costs of having to replace them. Testing further reduces hiring costs is by eliminating unqualified candidates. Those who are unable to pass, or unwilling to go through, the screening process will obviously not make it to the final interview, cutting down on the time it takes to make a final selection.
Pre-employment testing also increases employee productivity and performance. Weeding out applicants that don't have the requisite knowledge, have poor work ethics or don't work well in the environment of the particular company helps ensure that only highly-qualified and motivated candidates are hired. These potential employees are more likely to perform well in the position. Research has shown that cognitive aptitude tests, for example, are able to predict future job performance more accurately than other employee selection strategies. These types of tests objectively measure candidates' critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are necessary for success in almost any job.
While the benefits of pre-employment testing are many, there are important factors to consider before implementing this type of screening. Most states have laws that prevent discrimination in the hiring process, and any pre-hire testing must comply with these laws. Companies can protect themselves legally by thoroughly researching testing programs before purchasing them to ensure they meet all applicable regulations. Companies that design their own tests should avoid questions of a personal or potentially offensive nature. Finally, companies should not rely too heavily on just test results to make a hiring decision. Pre-employment testing is a complementary addition to a thorough and well-balanced hiring process.
Employers can increase their likelihood of hiring the best candidates with pre-employment testing. Used correctly, it saves companies time, money and energy on the hiring process. It also increases productivity, improves morale and reduces employee turnover. By focusing these tests on the right skills and traits, while keeping an appropriate eye on regulations, companies can reap significant benefits from them in both the short and long run.
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