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5 Best Pre-Employment Testing Assessments

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As workforces become increasingly remote and diffused, the role of pre-employment testing has increased manifold, and for several reasons. Firstly, as workforces adopt remote working more wholeheartedly, the organisation’s ability to conduct face to face interviews is reduced, requiring remote testing solutions. Secondly, because remote working has increased the range of roles that candidates can apply for, pre-employment testing has become essential to managing increasingly large volumes of candidates. Lastly, as the number of suppliers offering pre-employment testing increases, so does the empirical evidence behind their use, providing further support to their implementation.

To summarise the research findings in this area, here are the five best pre-employment testing assessments available on the market today:

1. Verbal Reasoning Tests

Verbal reasoning tests are designed to measure a person’s ability to work with qualitative information i.e. written and spoken information. Verbal reasoning is a facet of general cognitive ability, which is itself the strongest predictor of workplace performance. However, general cognitive ability cannot be directly measured, and instead must be measured indirectly using a range of specific aptitudes, such as verbal reasoning. Of cognitive ability’s sub-facets, verbal reasoning is perhaps the most important in the workplace, as written / spoken information accounts for the vast majority of information presented to employees on a daily basis. As a pre-employment assessment, verbal reasoning tests rank among the most powerful predictors of performance, especially when combined with other aptitude tests.

2. Numerical Reasoning Tests

Numerical reasoning tests are designed to measure a person’s ability to work with quantitative information, i.e. numbers and mathematical operators. Numerical reasoning is a major facet of general cognitive ability, and when combined with other aptitude tests, provides an indirect measure of overall cognitive ability. Numerical reasoning is especially important in roles which require staff to make major decisions using data or analytics, particularly in complex technical, professional, and managerial roles. As a pre-employment assessment, numerical reasoning is closely aligned to task performance (rather than contextual performance), and is one of the strongest predictors of task performance known.

3. Inductive Reasoning Tests

Inductive reasoning tests are designed to measure a person’s ability to think logically and solve abstract problems. In cognitive ability test batteries, inductive reasoning is also known as non-verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning, diagrammatic reasoning, or logical reasoning. Inductive reasoning is particularly important in roles requiring complex problem solving, creativity, innovation, or systems thinking, such as highly technical roles. They also have the benefit of being especially language free, making them extremely fair selection tools when testing candidates across different languages. As a pre-employment test, inductive reasoning tests are commonly used to assess engineers, tech workers, or with white-collar workers more generally when combined with other aptitude tests.

4. Personality Questionnaires

Personality questionnaires are behavioural assessments designed to measure the key aspects of human character and temperament. Naturally, many personality traits are intrinsically linked to performance, engagement, and culture-fit in the workplace, and personality questionnaires allow you to measure those traits directly. For example, the personality trait of conscientiousness is a well-established predictor of performance in almost all roles, as it helps employees remain focused and organised. Similarly, personality traits related to resilience are almost always associated with both performance and wellbeing in the workplace, making personality questionnaires highly effective pre-employment assessments for virtually any role.

5. Situational Judgement Tests

Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) are behavioural assessments which measure a candidate’s propensity to make decisions and form reasonable judgements. They present candidates with hypothetical workplace relevant scenarios, and range of possible actions to remedy the situation. Candidates then must rank or rate the effectiveness of each course of action, and in doing so, express their ability to make effective decisions. This means they rank among the most workplace relevant assessments on the market, being designed to predict performance in very specific roles. Research also shows SJTs to predict performance over and above ability tests and personality questionnaires, meaning they can be combined with these assessments to maximise practical utility.


Although a wide range of pre-employment assessment tools are available on the market, the most effective ones fall under one of two categories:

  • Cognitive assessments, which are designed to measure specific aspects of a person’s general cognitive ability.
  • Behavioural assessments, which are designed to measure a range of behavioural traits which underpin their character, temperament, and eventual behaviour.

By utilising pre-employment assessment tools which address both cognition and behaviour, you are likely to maximise the efficacy of your assessment processes, allowing you to create quality short-lists of candidates who are worth interviewing. As a result, employers shouldn’t frame this issue as a debate between “Pre-employment tests vs Interviews”, as both modalities can be utilised within a highly effective assessment process, with each contributing towards identifying quality candidates for hire.

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Article by

Ben Schwencke

Ben is responsible for client delivery work at Test Partnership and usually serves as the main client of contact. He holds an MSc in Occupational Psychology and is a registered test user of ability and personality testing.

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